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England v India 4th ODI

England 213-7 (48 overs) bt India 212 (49.4 overs) by three wickets

A record eighth-wicket stand between Ravi Bopara (43no) and Stuart Broad (45no) at Old Trafford led England to a three-wicket win and a 3-1 series lead.

The pair came together with England reeling on 114-7, chasing 213 to win, but showed remarkable composure as they reached 213-7 with 12 balls to spare.

It meant Agit Agarkar's 4-54 proved redundant, while Broad's all-round effort earned him the man of the match.

He had also taken 4-51 with the ball to help restrict India to 212 all out.


By Ben Dirs


e-mail (with 'For Ben Dirs' in the subject) or use 606


48th over - Eng 213-7 Bopara skews Singh uppishly down to third-man for one before Broad, feet nailed to the crease, misses with a rather nervous waft. Broad drives and gets a thick outside-edge for two and England cannot lose. Singh dredges up a quicker ball that scythes Broad in half, but there was no wood on it. Singh hasn't given up the ghost and Broad plays and misses again outside off-stump. But that's it, Broad clips Singh to mid-on and trots through for the winning run. Magnificent performance that by the two England youngsters and the hosts take a 3-1 lead in the series. Right, that's me for a few months. I'd just like to say thanks for all the banter throughout the season, I've been giggling like an imbecile all summer. Sorry I couldn't publish all your emails, but every one of them is appreciated. Adieu! I'll see you all in France!

47th over - Eng 209-7 This is now England's eighth-wicket record against anyone in any country. Broad is very nearly run-out, the young seamer toe-ending the ball and Dhoni missing with a shy at the non-striker's end. Bopara is offered a bit of width by Zaheer but misses out, driving straight to a fielder in the covers. Do me a favour, Ravi! Bopara goes for the pull and top-edges the ball into no-man's land. One run for it and the umpires are changing the ball with four runs needed. Give me strength...

46th over - Eng 207-7 A wide from Agarkar...and another! India's challenge is dissipating, and when Broad times Agarkar through the covers for a few, it dissipates further. Bopara skews one to point for a single and Broad is rattled on the helmet by the final ball, but that's an extra run. The partnership now 83 and England need six from the last four overs.

45th over - Eng 200-7 Chawla strays down leg and Broad runs him to the long-leg boundary for four. One more for Broad with a push into the covers and that's England's 200.

"Tripe was always a foodstuff as a last resort on our dining table. I associate it with Sunday, my local football team and giant spoons for some odd reason."
Tom, Berlin, in the TMS inbox

44th over - Eng 195-7 Powar tosses one up and Bopara clips him to mid-on. Chawla hits the stumps with his shy and England run an overthrow. Four from the over, England need 18 from six overs.

"In the 80s I rented a house from David Gedge out of the Wedding Present's dad above/behind the corner shop that his family ran. Great for stocking up on Pot Noodles."
Vernon Smith in the TMS inbox

43rd over - Eng 191-7 This is now a record eighth-wicket partnership by any team against India, 73. That's peche de la peche from Broad, standing tall and slapping Tendulkar through the covers for four. England require 22 from 42 deliveries. Wouldn't want to be Monty right now...

42nd over - Eng 187-7 Broad nabs two with a flick to mid-wicket and a leg-side ball from Chawla is called a wide. One more from Broad with a nurdle to mid-wicket and Chawla does England a massive favour with five leg-side wides. England favourites now, surely...

41st over - Eng 178-7 Bopara dabs Yuvraj to the third-man fence and this is now the highest eighth-wicket partnership for England against India in ODIs. Two more for Bopara with a wristy stroke into the covers and England need 35 from 54 balls, the game beautifully poised.

40th over - Eng 172-7 Appalling throw from Karthik and England pick up an overthrow. Dravid looks like he's just been told by his missus that there's no pies or crumbles for afters and he'll have to have a piece of fruit instead. Bopara turns Chawla to square-leg for a single before Chawla is called for a wide - Broad reaching for that, and he very nearly feathered it. Chawla then has a decent lbw appeal turned down by Umpire Gould, presumably he thought it was sliding down leg.

39th over - Eng 167-7 Yuvraj is going to have a go. Broad top-edges a sweep for one before Yuvraj gets one to turn lavishly and leave Bopara groping. Bopara sweeps for one to long-leg.

38th over - Eng 165-7 I've going to level with you Rich from Hull, I have no idea why RP Singh has got David Gedge of the Wedding Present's hairstyle. The same reason Powar has got Michael Hutchence of INXS's haircut, maybe he left it lying about. One for Bopara with a nurdle to leg before Broad steals the strike from the final ball of Powar's over.

"How come RP Singh has got David Gedge of The Wedding Present's hairstyle?"
Rich, Hull, in the TMS inbox

37th over - Eng 163-7 That's a shot worthy of Broady's old man, a back-foot punch through the covers for four, all run. That's another crackerjack stroke, Broad standing tall and stroking Zaheer through extra-cover for four. He's now on 23, and Sky picks up his beaming dad in the crowd.

"Tripe! My dad used to have a job delivering tripe and sausage skins. When he came to pick me up from nursery, they wouldn't let him in 'cos of the smell so they'd pass me over the wall!"
Zarine Billam in the TMS inbox

36th over - Eng 155-7 Bopara bags one with a clip to mid-on before Broad squirts one out to square-le for a single. Fifteen overs to go before I've got a break from cricket for a couple of months. I feel like one of the Thundercats when he's got himself in a proper pickle: "If...I...could...just...reach...the...main...generator..."

"My dogs eat Tripe, I've never been tempted to eat any myself."
Liam in the TMS inbox

35th over - Eng 153-7 Zaheer is back on and is milked for a couple of singles. Bopara gets one on his pads and the Essex man fills his boots, helping it along to the boundary. England inching towards their target, they need 60 from 90 balls.

34th over - Eng 146-7 Bopara nicks a single before Powar pushes a wide down leg-side. Two from the over. Trevor, that's a truly magnificent question. The obvious answer is Freddie, but...actually, yeh, Freddie, although his constant 'japes' might grow a bit wearisome after a while. He'd have crumpet dripping off him though.

"Hey Dirsy, if you could take along one of the England cricket team on your jaunt to France, who would it be and why?"
Trevor, Calgary, in the TMS inbox

33rd over - Eng 144-7 Big appeal from Dhoni who thinks Broad tickled Chawla down the leg-side. Umpire Gould, correctly, said there was no wood on it. Broad picks up a couple with a clip to leg and two more with a similar shot. Good stuff this from Broad.

"Your Mum is absolutely spot-on about Andy Murray. I've thought the exact same thing about 'Tiger' Tim for years."
Keith, Glasgow, in the TMS inbox

"Your Ma makes a refreshing change from the usual English attitude toward Scottish sportsmen and women, namely that if they are successful they are British, if they fail or lose they are Scottish. Well done Mrs Dirs!"
Brian Lees in the TMS inbox

32nd over - Eng 140-7 One for Broad before Bopara uses his feet and clips Powar to mid-wicket for a single. Broad waits on a shorter delivery from Powar and twirls him through cover-point for a few. Drinks.

"How come so many people sign as being from York? It's only a small place and seems rather out of proportion to how many people text in. Or is it some kind of location pseudonym? Or is it that York is becoming fashionable in Bonkers Britain?"
Sylvie, La Rochelle, France

31st over - Eng 135-7 Chawla drops short and is carved to deep point for a couple. Bopara gropes at a sharp-turning leg-break from Chawla and is beaten...but he's still there...

30th over - Eng 133-7 Good cricket that from England, Broad picking up a couple with a nurdle off his hip. This young pair really getting stuck in and doing a job for England.

"Flintoff's too hit and miss, there's no reliability, you think he could get out at any time and I don't think he can bat at six, his performances don't warrant that position."
Graham Gooch on TMS

"If you are talking about hearty meals, you cannot beat a fish finger sandwich."
AA Tomlinson in the TMS inbox

29th over - Eng 130-7 Bopara gets down on one knee and shovels Chawla down tot fine-leg for a couple. Chawla asks for an lbw but Bopara got a decent stride in. Tripe? Anyone ever had it?

28th over - Eng 127-7 Broad paddles Powar round the corner for a few before Bopara whips him wristily through square-leg for another.

27th over - Eng 123-7 Broad plays back to Singh and misses with a woosh of the bat. Broad repeats the shot and is beaten again. Broad does pick up one with a poke to gully. Sarah, Bucks has sent in a picture of Watson, Punter and Haydos modelling the Aussie Twenty20 kit. They look like they've just had one of their pyjama parties disturbed by an intruder. They'd probably bash them to death with a pillow.

The Aussie Twenty20 kit
"Come on then, who wants a pillow fight?"
"I was so bored I made three banoffee pies, any takers? Talking of manliness earlier, or lack thereof, has everyone seen the new Australia Twenty 20 kit?"
Sarah, Bucks, in the TMS inbox

26th over - Eng 120-7 Bopara feels for one outside his off-stump and is beaten - Powar has great mastery of flight. Bopara does squeeze him away for one to short fine-leg.

"Having just scoffed a supermarket ready meal of liver, bacon and onion, I have to agree that with the addition of mash and cabbage it is indeed the most manly meal available. Don't forget plenty of gravy to roll the mash in."
Russell, Reading, in the TMS inbox

25th over - Eng 118-7 Bopara leaves a Singh delivery just outside the off-peg and the left-arm seamer exhales sharply - that wasn't far from his stumps. Good stroke from Bopara, just putting his bat in the way and the ball beating the fielder at mid-off. Four. England don't have to go mad here, they've got plenty of overs in hand.

Wicket falls
24th over - WICKET: Collingwood run out (Singh/Dhoni) 47 (Eng 114-7)
We have a potential run-out. Bopara plays Powar to point, he and Colly hesitate, twice, before deciding to take the run, Singh fizzes in the throw and Dhoni whips off the bails. The third umpire was required, but Colly's gone. England in dire straits now, Broad the next man at the crease.

"Ben Dirs is a mere amateur if he thinks steak and kidney pies are the real thing. Get a life, move on, it's got to be a steak and kidney pudding with mushy peas. That's the real test of a man. Freddie is obviously missing his pudding - too many southern soft pies."

SF, Burton on Trent, but now slowly turning Welsh in Cardiff, in the TMS inbox

23rd over - Eng 113-6 Bopara runs Singh down to third-man for one before Colly gets on top of one and glides Singh to a similar area.

Wicket falls
22nd over - WICKET: Shah c Karthick b Powar 8 (Eng 110-6)
Dravid turns to Powar and his tweakers...and that's inspired captaincy, Shah lunging forward, the ball taking his glove and Karthik snaffling the catch at forward short-leg. England really tottering now, although this boy Bopara can bat a bit. He survives the over.

"I have no wish to open a new look-alike debate, but Agarkar looks surprisingly like Jimmy Nail."
Merv James, Adelaide, South Australia

21st over - Eng 110-5 Collingwood has a go at a wide one and the ball just evades Yuvraj in the covers. One for the shot. An almighty stink has erupted in the office: two of us are defending kidney, as in steak and kidney pie, and my contention that anyone who doesn't like kidney or liver is not a proper grown up has not gone down well. Is there a heartier meal than liver, bacon, mashed potatoes, onions and cabbage? WELL IS THERE!!

20th over - Eng 108-5 Shah turns Chawla round the corner for one and Colly grabs a single with a clip to mid-wicket.

19th over - Eng 106-5 Shah nurdles a single from the bowling of Agarkar. Colly gets up on tip-toes and punches Agarakar through the covers for four. He really loves a good row this boy and he'll still be swinging when the fat lady's singing.

18th over - Eng 102-5 Shah's not mucking about and he carts Chawla over long-on for four. Fine comeback from the young leg-spinner and Shah is beaten. Shah steals the batting with a nudge to square-leg. I see that young scamp Andy Murray has just vanquished the ancient Jonas Bjorkman at Flushing Meadows. My mum has decided she doesn't like him because he's Scottish. When I pointed out that might be a bit racist, she said: "What's he got to do with us?" Maybe she's got a point.

Wicket falls
17th over - WICKET: Flintoff c Yuvraj b Agarkar 5 (Eng 95-5)
That's far from convincing from Flintoff but it's four more runs, the ball skewing off the face of his bat and beating Powar to the fence. Without being too disrespectful to Powar, Dravid would be better off with Ann Widdecombe patrolling the third-man fence. But that's the big man out, squirting an attempted back-foot drive straight into the hands of Yuvraj at backward-point. England in a bit of a pickle now, although they have a fighting chance with Colly and Shah still at the crease.

"Mr Dirs, you complain about being bored. I am currently struggling to get an Arellano and Bond estimator to work on my panel data, that's boredom!"
Danny, Bristol, in the TMS inbox

16th over - Eng 90-4 Flintoff pokes about a bit against Chawla and is beaten by one turning delivery. He does manage to get off strike with a squirt into the covers.

Wicket falls
15th over - WICKET: Pietersen c Chawla b Agarkar 18 (Eng 81-4)
KP nurdles one before Colly picks up three with a square-drive. But KP's gone, going for a pull and top-edging to Chawla at mid-wicket. The pendulum swings back in India's direction, this game's anyone's. Flintoff strides to the middle, helmet under his arm like some ancient, conquering hero. Colly bags four with a clip through midwicket but that's Sketchy from Collingwood, but four valuable runs courtesy of a thick outside edge.

14th over - Eng 77-3 Come on Chrissy (see below), I know it's late, but behave yourself. This is a high-class cricket commentary, not some two-bit Punch and Judy show on the seafront at Margate. Classy, no-nonsense shot from Colly, dispatching an over-pitched delivery from Chawla to the mid-wicket fence. This pair doing a good patch-up job for England.

"Is that really an accurate cartoon picture of you? Do you have a big parting with lots of hair falling down on one side? Looks a bit French and camp to me. Will you be looking for love out there?"
Euan, Bedford, in the TMS inbox

13th over - Eng 71-3 Collingwood moves to 21 with a back-foot drive for four off Agarkar. More words between Yuvraj and Pietersen between overs and this is really bubbling under nicely. One more for Colly with a steer to point.

"Ah, good, it's the doughty grinder at the wicket. Hello Sarah, it's the butt inspector here (ref to Facebook TMS men's calendar)."
Chrissy, North Notts, in the TMS inbox

12th over - Eng 66-3 Four cheap runs for England, Colly driving through mid-off and Dravid diving straight over the ball. Not clever that from the India skipper and it rather takes the edge off those little lectures of his when his team-mates make mistakes. Colly picks up three more with a turn to leg off Singh, where Chawla misfields.

11th over - Eng 59-3 Pietersen fences at one and is beaten but he does pick up four sketchy runs with an outside edge. Tough going for Pietersen at the moment, but England are still rattling along at more than six an over.

10th over - Eng 53-3 Collingwood grabs his first four, punching Agarkar through mid-off for four. Agarkar hits back with a wicked bumper that Colly plays well, dropping his hands and swaying out of the line. But that's a freebie from Agarkar last ball, a leg-side full-bunger that Colly shepherds to the fine-leg fence. Actually, that was four leg-byes.

"Good luck on the trip to France. Instead of going to La Rochelle to investigate teachers, postmen and bakers, I suggest you try Lyon instead, which apparently has the highest number of nurses in any city in France. To quote my brother, 'there are only three certainties in life, death and a nurse'. Happy hunting..."
David, Philadelphia, in the TMS inbox

9th over - Eng 45-3 Collingwood jabs Zaheer to third-man for one and that's the only run of the over. A little bit of daylight left, but we're mainly relying on the lights now at Old Trafford.

8th over - Eng 44-3 Snickometer reveals that Pietersen got an inside edge on that ball from Zaheer, which only enhances Umpire Dar's reputation as the best official in world cricket at the moment. Collingwood is the new batter and he sees off the first five balls of Agarkar's over before clipping him through square-leg for three.

"Long-time appreciative reader - originating from Ilford. These Winnebago monsters normally hook-up to water and electricity. They have a holding tank for waste water with the option to hook-up to a sewer."
Steve Medway in the TMS inbox

7th over - Eng 41-3 The umpires have another word with Dravid over the conduct of his fielders before Zaheer thinks he's got KP leg-before. That looked plumb to me, and Zaheer goes ruddy berserk - Goochy on TMS reckons he saw him mouth "come on!" - but Umpire Dar must have thought Pietersen got wood on it. If Zaheer was upset before, he must feel like topping himself after Pietersen whips him through square-leg for four. Plenty of needle in this contest.

Wicket falls
6th over - WICKET: Bell b Agarkar 24
Agarkar unearths a bit of extra lift and Bell misses with an attempted cut but Bell does pick up four with a square-cut, Powar making a right royal hash of things on the boundary. But that's Bell gone! The Warwickshire man shoulders arms and loses his off-stump and India, you have to say, now have the whip hand. Any chance of some emails, I'm bored witless.

5th over - Eng 31-2 Bell riding his luck and he picks up four more with another slash over the slip cordon. Bell adds one when it should have been two before Pietersen shows signs of form, slapping Zaheer through the covers for four.

"Someone should tell Sarah (see below) that for the sake of one evening abandoning herself to the hedonistic pleasures offered by Canterbury she could be missing out on a chance of seven weeks in a tin can on wheels with all the sensory delights offered by Mssrs Dirs and Forsyth - Canterbury is just a short detour on the way to the Rugby World Cup."
Simon Holder in the TMS inbox

Wicket falls
4th over - WICKET: Prior c Powar b Agarkar 4 (Eng 14-2)
That's a shocker from Prior, scything an Agarkar lifter down Powar's neck at third-man. England need a little bit more application than that and now is the time to start questioning his place in the side. We now have probably the least popular partnership in the England team in the middle and KP walks into a volley of chit-chat. KP gives it some back before the umpires intervene, telling Dravid to get a handle on his team. A chance for Bell, the Warwickshire man cutting too close to his body and the ball fizzing through first slip's hands and running away for four. Bell picks up one more with a clip to mid-wicket before KP is off the mark with two into the leg-side.

3rd over - Eng 14-1 Bell clips Zaheer through the covers for three, Powar, who puts me in mind of the Honey Monster every time I see him, making a hash of his sliding stop. Prior takes a single to square-leg before Bell adds two with a tuck round the corner.

2nd over - Eng 8-1 Two slips in for Prior and he's off the mark with a couple to mid-wicket. One more for Prior before Bell shows the maker's name to Agarkar and the ball races to the wide long-on fence. Getting plenty of chirp, is Belly, and he'll take that as a compliment so early in his innings.

Wicket falls
1st over - WICKET: Cook b Zaheer 0 (Eng 0-1)
Zaheer takes the first over and Cook plays loosely away from his body. Cook is beaten again before Zaheer cleans him up with a ball angled in. That delivery didn't seem to do an awful lot but it did enough to find a way through Cook's rather half-hearted forward defensive. Bell, who is in the midst of serious purple patch, bounds down the steps of the pavilion with all the vim of a champion prize fighter making his way to the ring. He survives the over and a pumped-up Zaheer has a little word in his ear.

1845: Players are out and we'll have play in a minute or so. Sarah (see below), behave yourself - go and stick some warpaint on and get involved with the Slinga for the evening...


"It's a hard choice, Ben: a date with you at home via the clockwatch or out with Lasith in Canterbury...what should I choose?"
Sarah, Canterbury, in the TMS inbox

Our for a duck
50th over - WICKET: Singh c Bopara b Anderson 0 (Ind 212 all out)
That's a wrap, Singh going for a swat over mid-wicket and only succeeding in skying it to square-leg, where Bopara takes a fine low catch on the run. India 20 or 30 runs short there and England will be favourites to win this.

Wicket falls
50th over - WICKET: Zaheer c Collingwood b Anderson 20 (Ind 210-9)
Anderson digs one in and Zaheer jabs him through mid-wicket for four. But he takes one liberty too many next ball, stepping away and carving Anderson to Collingwood in the covers.

49th over - Ind 206-8 Zaheer gives it some good old-fashioned tailend humpty, heaving Flintoff to the mid-wicket fence for four. One more for Zaheer with a push to cover and Chawla gets a single with a tuck to square-leg. Zaheer goes for another heave and picks up one to mid-wicket. Flintoff finishes with 1-31 - he's well and truly back.

"For male icons of fake tan, read 'Gavin Henson'. Gavin has unfortunately legitimised fake tan for men in the tough-guy rugby heartland of Neath and Swansea. Step off the train in Neath town centre on a Friday night and you'd think you're in Oompa-Loompa Land."
Chris in the TMS inbox

48th over - Ind 199-8 Zaheer scythes Anderson into the off-side for one before Chawla tucks Jimmy to square-leg for a single. Wide from Anderson and Zaheer throws the kitchen sink at it and the ball runs away to the third-man fence. Zaheer pushes Anderson into the covers for one before Chawla nabs a brace, pushing a waist-high full-toss into the covers.

47th over - Ind 190-8 Broad, looking for his first five-for in England colours, digs one in and Chawla fends it down to the fine-leg rope. Given as runs, not sure he got any glove or bat on it. Chawla pats Broad gently into the covers before Zaheer backs away and flails it through point for a couple before nicking a quick single. No five-for for Broad, he finishes with 4-51.

46th over - Ind 182-8 Zaheer is off the mark with a dab to short third-man, the India seamer steaming down the pitch while looking over his shoulder like someone who's just lifted a car stereo. Chawla fends off a shortish one from Flintoff for a single before Freddie tries a yorker, but Zaheer manages to keep it out with little fuss.

Wicket falls
WICKET: Powar c Bell b Broad 7 (Ind 179-8)
New batsman Chawla is off the mark with a nurdle to leg before Broad rips out another wicket, giving Powar a bit of chin music and the batsman top-edging a pull straight to Bell at mid-off. Surely this won't be enough for India?

Wicket falls
45th over - WICKET: Yuvraj b Broad 71 (Ind 178-7)
Yuvraj shuffles across his stumps and is bowled behind his legs by Broad. Yuvraj looks skyward like a man who's just noticed a cigarette hole in his new John Smedley shirt, that wasn't too clever.

44th over - Ind 177-6 Powar pushes Panesar to point for a scampered two and India take two more singles from the over. That's Monty's spell over and he finishes with sterling figures of 1-39 from his 10 overs.

"I was at the recent Amir Khan v Willie Limond title fight in London. Shortly after Amir had won, a small riot broke out in the bar area. Mid punch-up, Monty walked past, at which point all the fighting stopped to be replaced by chants of 'Monty, Monty!' He then left and the ruck swung back into action..."
Stuart Scott in the TMS inbox

43rd over - Ind 173-6 Freddie's back on and Yuvraj clips him off his legs for one. Powar nurdles a single before Yuvraj pouches a couple with a tickle round the corner. Yuvraj adds one to the total with a push to mid-off before Powar manages to fend off to final ball of the over for one.

"I eat healthily and excercise regularly, but I'm pasty-faced, and since I live in Scotland that's not going to change. Without fake-tan, how am I going to achieve the reproductive success I deserve?"
Simon, Edinburgh, in the TMS inbox

42nd over - Ind 168-6 Powar drives through cover-point for a single before Yuvraj picks up a couple with a dainty dab-sweep and one more with a reverse sweep.

"Anyone else think England are a bowler short? Or is no one interested in talking about cricket?"
Bill, Sheffield, in the TMS inbox

That's 50
41st over - Ind 164-6 Peche de la peche from Yuvraj, seeing a short one from Broad early and rat-a-tatting him over the mid-wicket fence for six to bring up his fifty. Yuvraj's stepping it up and that's a thing of beauty, a whip-cracking cover-drive for four. Two more for Yuvraj with a sliced cover-drive before Bell fails to gather in the covers and the ball races to the extra-cover fence. That's a shot in the arm for India.

40th over - Ind 147-6 The burly Powar is the next man in and that's a maiden over in the 40th over - you don't see that very often.

"On your rugby trip, can you nip over to La Rochelle because in my GCSE days, in the textbooks, everyone was from La Rochelle. The men were all called Pierre and all tended to be bakers or postmen while the women were all called Sylvie and were mainly teachers, which didn't bode well for the local economy."
Dominic Woodford in the TMS inbox

Wicket falls
39th over - WICKET: Agarkar c Prior b Broad 6 (Ind 147-6)
It's time for Broad again and Yuvraj tucks him to square-leg for a single. Agarkar frees his arms and carves Broad away for a couple before top-edging the Leicestershire seamer for four. But he's got his man next ball, Agarkar flashing again and Prior taking a simple catch behind the timbers. India in grave danger of not batting out their overs here and this is another very professional bowling display from England.

Wicket falls
38th over - WICKET: Dhoni b Panesar 13 (Ind 140-5)
Bit of sun at Old Trafford and Monty's got Dhoni with an absolute crackerjack delivery, the ball pitching on leg and hitting the top of off. Off he goes on one of his jigs, bursting through the lunges of his team-mates like a drunk man trying to get at a bouncer outside a Blackpool nightclub. Agarkar is the new batsman and he survives the over.

37th over - Ind 139-4 Colly drops short and is tugged away for a couple by Yuvraj. One mroe for the left-hander, this time Monty mis-fielding at short fine-leg, before Dhoni plays uppishly to long-on for one. A misfield from Pietersen at mid-off allows Yuvraj two. First signs of a little raggedness from England.

36th over - Ind 132-4 Four singles from Monty's over, the Indian batsmen happy to nudge and nurdle for the next four or five overs.

"Just read your blog. You smoke and don't drive? Pathetic."
Mark Worrall, York, in the TMS inbox

35th over - Ind 128-4 Dhoni drives Colly to long-on for one and Yuvraj tickles a full-bunger round to the corner for a few. One more for Dhoni and this is a good little recovery by India who are laying a platform for a late assault.

"Least acceptable? A man using fake tan. It's bad enough having tangerine-coloured girls walking around, but any bloke reaching for the bottle o'sun is just a disgrace. That includes KP."
Connor Wright in the TMS inbox

34th over - Ind 123-4 That's a ripsnorter from Freddie and Yuvraj played that with all the poise of a man being attacked by a swarm of hornets. Yuvraj picks up four sketchy runs with an outside edge but he nibbles and misses at the last ball of the over. If India can get themselves up towards 230, they will have a chance.

33rd over - Ind 119-4 Yuvraj turns Colly off his pads for a couple before India pick up a leg-bye. Lucky from Dhoni, slashing at one just outside his off-leg and the ball staying low, feathering his cue-end and running away for four.

"Which of the following is least acceptable for a man: Wearing a sarong, using fake tan, whitening his teeth, getting his chest/back etc waxed, being French? Winners will be selected at random to win absolutely nothing."
Matthew Lloyd in the TMS inbox

"Johnny in Hendon, that's a fairly accurate cartoon of the boy Dirs, that's assuming he's been washing his thinning greying thatch in dark brown shoe polish since I last saw him."
David Wright in the TMS inbox

32nd over - Ind 112-4 Yuvraj gets off strike before Dhoni comes close to knocking his bails off attempting to launch a single off the back foot. One more single for Yuvraj and that's drinks.

31st over - Ind 109-4 Angharad (see below), you cheeky mare, I give your cricket club a massive big-up on Monday and here you are saying I look like Dot Cotton. Liberty...Dhoni scampers a quick single with a push to mid-off before Yuvraj clips Colly to square-leg for one. Dhoni and Yuvraj exchange singles to long-on.

"How disappointing - I thought for a fleeting moment June Brown had forged a successful career as an e-commentator under the unlikely pseudonym of 'Ben Dirs'."
Angharad in the TMS inbox

Wicket falls
30th over - WICKET: Tendulkar c Flintoff b Pietersen 55 (Ind 103-4)
KP is going to have a twirl and Tendulkar scythes him to the third-man fence for four. But God's got him next ball! KP drags down a short one and Tendulkar top-edges a pull to Flintoff running round to deep square-leg. All hail The Golden Arm! An absolute sickener for The Little Master. The dashing Dhoni is next man in. Yuvraj yanks Pietersen away for one and Dhoni is off the mark with a Barry Bonds lash down the ground for a single.

"Ben, if that cartoon of you is accurate, you're a bit fatter than I imagined - may be best to lay off the frogs and snails over the coming weeks..."
Jonny, Hendon, in the TMS inbox

That's 50
29th over - Ind 99-3 Yuvraj drives uppishly for one before Tendulkar clips Collingwood to square-leg for a couple. And that's Tendulkar's 81st ODI fifty courtesy of a glide to third-man for one. I'd wager that Tendulkar has scored more ODI fifties than I've had hot meals since I split up with my last girlfriend. Yovraj bags one more with an easy cover-drive.

28th over - Ind 93-3 Yuvraj and Tendulkar exchange singles. Bit more width from Panesar and Yuvraj rocks back and twirls him through backward-point for four. India beginning to find a bit of fluency.

27th over - Ind 85-3 Yuvraj picks up a couple with a clip to fine-leg and works Collingwood round the corner for one more.

"With regard to the large fore-headed gentleman. Although you profess that your head circumference doesn't constitute a deformity, you would have to be at least 10' 6" for this to be the case and you to be proportionate."
Toby Hall in the TMS inbox

26th over - Ind 82-3 Yuvraj really struggling to rotate the strike and he's beaten by Panesar lunging forward. He does nurdle a single before Tendulkar shows him how it's done with a steer into the covers. Relief for Yuvraj, Monty giving him a bit of width and the left-hander late-cutting him for four.

25th over - Ind 76-3 Yuvraj picks up a couple of singles and Tendulkar picks up one with a push to mid-off. Ladies and gentlemen, lets have a big round of applause for the Turgid Middle Overs...

"One Winnebago, five bedrooms, two men - I don't get the math. Are you planning on filling those rooms at any stage with young hopefuls? My advice, sell it and stay in hotels. Winnebagos are truly awful things."
Charlie Fletcher, London, in the TMS inbox

24th over - Ind 73-3 Tendulkar paddles Monty away for a single and the struggling Yuvraj adds one from the final ball of the over. My first Rugby World Cup blog has just been published and they've only gone and made me into a cartoon character. I'm a bit shy, but I've been told to include a link to it here...

23rd over - Ind 71-3 A few nurdles from Collingwood's over and it's still a bit of a struggle for India. They really need to be accelerating here, but that's going to be a bit tricky for Yuvraj, he looks like he's up on blocks at the moment.

22nd over - Ind 68-3 Tendulkar ticks Monty to square-leg for one before Yuvraj picks up one with a flick to mid-wicket. Sachin eases to long-off for a single to steal the strike.

"Re: your comment regarding the tightness of the Elephant Man's headwear. My head is 24 1/4" in diameter (front to back) and without a deformity in sight. Can any of your listeners beat that?"
Dave, Oundle, in the TMS inbox

21st over - Ind 65-3 That's class in a glass from Tendulkar, leaning into a Collingwood delivery and watching the ball race to the extra-cover fence. Tendulkar picks up one more with a turn to square-leg.

20th over - Ind 60-3 Flintoff tucks Yuvraj up and goes up for a delayed lbw appeal, but there was a fair bit of wood on that. More chin music from Freddie has the batsman flinching and you half expect Yuvraj to hit the deck before every Flintoff delivery shouting "not the face! Not the face!". Another Johnny on the Spot over from the big man.

"I wouldn't go out with someone one time 'cos they had yellow teeth. That and the fact I suspected they were gay."
Catherine in the TMS inbox

19th over - Ind 60-3 Monty is wheeled into the attack and Tendulkar sees the chance to open his shoulders, clubbing him through wide long-on for four before edging him to the third-man rope for another.

18th over - Ind 52-3 Freddie has Yuvraj swishing and missing outside off-stump before the left-handed batsman gets a leading edge that loops just short of Bell at cover. Freddie really keeping these Indian batsmen honest. Anyone know anything about Winnebagos? Apparently the one me and Tom are taking round France has got a shower in it. How does that work then? I've got to be honest, I'm not really into motor vehicles, but even I got a little aroused when I saw pictures of this bad boy. IT'S GOT FIVE BEDROOMS! My flat only had one.

"Around the more rural parts here, the men try to keep a couple of teeth so they can more easily open beer bottles and chew through limbs caught in bear traps."
Clive, Wisconsin, USA, in the TMS inbox

17th over - Ind 52-3 I hear that England have named an unchanged squad for the last three games. Tendulkar breaks the shackles with a clip through mid-wicket for four. A rare loose one from Anderson, over-pitched and on Sachin's pads. That's India's nifty.

"Getting your teeth whitened? Two words - Steve McClaren."
Simon Joyce in the TMS inbox

16th over - Ind 48-3 The left-handed Yuvraj gets a thick outside edge for one. Freddie has two slips in for Tendulkar and he tucks him up with one that jags back off the seam. Gilo on TMS wants three slips in for Sachin, and I'd make him right, it's not as if any of England's seamers are being crashed around the park. Tendulkar nicks a single before Freddie has Yuvraj flinching with a bit of extra zing. Flintoff serves up a patronising smile, like a dad might give his son on discovering he's had an accident in his undercrackers.

"Is it possible to be walking along Romford High Street and be considered a snob?"
Colin, York, in the TMS inbox

15th over - Ind 46-3 Tendulkar punches Anderson to extra-cover for a couple before Jimmy hits back with a bumper. Tendulkar ducks low and gets out of line, but he looked as comfortable dealing with that bit of chin music as I look when someone's mobile starts going "Woop-woop! That's the sound of da police! Woop-woop! That's the sound of the beast!" on the 1828 from Liverpool Street to Southend. Players have a wet one.

"In response to Adam, Simon & Dave, I've had my teeth whitened and I'm as hard as nails. Anyone that wants to disagree with me, I'll meet them by the fruit machine at the Golden Lion at 5pm."
Steve Whittle in the TMS inbox

14th over - Ind 43-3 Yuvraj is the new batsman and he works Freddie to leg for one before Flintoff sends down a rare loose one, the ball flying down leg and running away for five wides.

13th over - Ind 36-3 That's classic from the Little Master, showing Anderson the maker's name and the ball racing to the long-off fence. I was walking through Romford High Street the other lunchtime and there was a queue literally snaking out of the front door of KFC. Was I wrong to tut and start cursing under my breath or does that make me a snob?

"Getting your teeth whitened is the same as all these hot bunnies getting a tanning session. So if we can have beautiful girls looking sexy, then why can't we have our teeth whitened?"
Pete Patel in the TMS inbox

Wicket falls
12th over - WICKET: Dravid c Prior b Flintoff 1 (Ind 33-3)
A roar goes round the ground and that can only mean one thing - it's Freddie Time. He proves a handful from the get-go, getting one to jag back at Dravid before forcing the India skipper into a nibble outside off-stump - Prior snaffles the catch and England are giving India a beasting once again.

"Where I come from, if you're a bloke over thirty it's considered girlie to have any teeth left, let alone get them whitened."
John, Wolverhampton, in the TMS inbox

"You should give a brief mention to Ramps, who has just passed the milestone of 30,000 first-class runs. Quite a feat given the reduced number of Championship matches these days."
Jeremy, Bahrain, in the TMS inbox

Wicket falls
11th over - WICKET: Karthik c Prior b Broad 4 (Ind 31-2)
Karthik's misery is over, the Indian number three attempting to cut a ball that's not wide enough to cut and feathering to Prior behind the stumps. Rarely in the field of cricket has one batsman looked so out of touch as Karthik looked today. The Wall strides to the crease and Goochie has just revealed that Essex enquired after Notts-bound Broad. Dravid is off the mark with a push to mid-off.

10th over - Ind 31-1 Tendulkar fences at a tempter from Anderson and the ball flies past Flintoff at first slip and through where second slip would - and should - have been. Four for the shot and Goochie is apoplectic that Colly didn't have a second slipper in. Four from the over and England remain on top.

9th over - Ind 27-1 Another maiden from Broad and Karthik can't buy a run at the moment. Adam, Simon and Dave (see below), one minute your mate will be getting his teeth whitened, the next he'll smearing Immac over his holiest of holies. And it's a short step from smearing Immac over your holiest of holies to plucking your eyebrows and hosting 'Desperate Houswives' evenings. As Gary Lineker said to Bobby Robson at the 1990 World Cup, "have a word with him", pronto.

8th over - Ind 27-1 Tendulkar is beaten again by a length delivery before Anderson gets him lurching back with a well-directed bumper. But that's a bit more like it from Tendulkar, whip-cracking Anderson through backward-point for four.

"Ongoing debate at our work: is it girly to get your teeth whitened if you're a bloke? Most of our office say yes, except for the dude that gets his whitened. Your thoughts please."
Adam, Simon & Dave, Southampton, in the TMS inbox

7th over - Ind 23-1 Tendulkar tries to cut but is cramped for room but he does pick up one with a slash to third-man. Just the one from Broad's over and Karthik is really struggling out there.

"I'm with you on the music thing. When did it become acceptable to play mobile phones out loud in public, when they sound like the transistor radio you had in the 70s after you blew the speaker listening to Boney M too loud?"
Phil, Hebden Bridge, in the TMS inbox

6th over - Ind 22-1 Anderson gets one to leave Karthik and beat his outside edge before Umpire Dar brushes off an aggressive caught behind appeal. Karthik struggling out there, the England seamers keeping it tighter than the Elephant Man's hatband - maiden over.

5th over - Ind 22-1 Broad gets one to jag back at Karthik and an inside edge just misses his off-stump and beats a sprawling Anderson to the rope. A moral victory for Broad. Broad giving Karthik a working over and he gets one to go the other way and beat Karthik on the outside. According to 'Bumble' Lloyd on Sky, they've had six earthquakes this summer in Manchester. One leg-bye and Karthik will keep the strike.

"No, you haven't gone bonkers. We're finally starting to stand up for ourselves as a nation. We've given up on the Government looking after society for us and realised we have to do it ourselves¿unless you've also taken to sporting a deerstalker and flowery dress to do your food shopping. In that case, yeah, you have."
James in the TMS inbox

Wicket falls
4th over - WICKET: Ganguly c Bell b Anderson 9 (Ind 17-1)
The forecast for the rest of the day is good but it's pretty gusty. And Anderson's rich vein of form continues as Ganguly skies a pull to mid-wicket and Bell takes a difficult swirling catch over his shoulder. That's the Lancashire man's ninth wicket of the series and he's looking every bit an authentic fast bowler all of a sudden. Karthik is the new batsman.

3rd over - Ind 17-0 Ganguly charges but is surprised by a bit of extra pace from Broad and top-edges a hook for a sketchy four. A wide and a no-ball and India are off to a solid start.

"Has Britain gone bonkers? It was bonkers 10 years ago. That's why I left and came to live in Barcelona. It's 35C right now! I wasn't going to go bonkers with the rest!"
Mark, Barcelona, in the TMS inbox

2nd over - Ind 10-0 The Old Trafford pitch is in a right old mess, apparently the Arctic Monkeys played a couple of gigs there a couple of weeks ago. Anderson, on his home patch, takes the second over and Tendulkar, latching onto a bit of width, flays him through point for his first boundary of the day. The large Indian contingent are making a real racket, it sounds like free swim at Old Trafford.

"YES, Britain is going bonkers and it is going to get worse. Basically, everyone is suffering from SAD due to the poor summer and as people realise that summer really is over, they're going to start getting more and more nutty! I, for one, have had seven rows in the past hour and have started beat boxing while spinning on my chair."
Yours scientifically Robbie B, London, in the TMS inbox

1st over - Ind 6-0 Broad has first bung and his first ball beats a windy woosh outside off-leg from Ganguly. Broad trots down the pitch and gets in the batsman's face - good man. India's first run is a leg-bye. Tendulkar scores India's first run off the bat with a turn to short third-man before Ganguly square-drives Broad for four.

"Isn't it about time they started using a good old 50p piece for the tosses, instead of this double-sided Rupee that they have used all summer?"
Chris Rogers, Milton Keynes, in the TMS inbox

1427: Players huddle and we'll be off in a couple of minutes. It's actually brightened up a bit at Old Trafford, a slither of sun is now poking through the clouds. Dan (see below), my dad once started on one of those blokes sprayed bronze and pretending to be a statue on a trip to Stockholm and only stopped when my mum pointed out it was a bronze statue.

"Not knowing your Dad (see below), I can only assume that is not implied as a compliment¿"
Dan, London, in the TMS inbox

1425: Bit of rain this morning at Old Trafford and it still looks pretty dank up in Manchester. That can only be good news for England's seamers, we could see a bit of hoop first up.

"India need to score 20 or 30 runs more than the opposition because their fielding is so average."
Graham Gooch on TMS

"Ben?! Not again!"
Ravi Rakesh in the TMS inbox

"Hello Ben - just to let you know, I shan't be sending any emails in today as you never print them anyway."
Bruce, Shropshire, in the TMS inbox

1411: India skipper Rahul Dravid has won the toss for the fourth time in the series, and this time he's decided to have a bat. I had three rows with members of the public on a trip to the West End on Tuesday. One with a woman playing her music too loud on the train, one with some lairy bloke in the queue at Carphone Warehouse and another with the woman behind the counter at my bank. Am I turning into my dad, or has Britain gone completely bonkers? Discuss.

"If Colly goes for a wee, I'll take over the captaincy. But as for the long term, I don't know..."
Andrew Flintoff at Old Trafford

1406: Right you lot, I'm in! I'm struggling to hold back the tears as this my last game for a few months - I'm off to the Rugby World Cup with Tommy Fordyce on Monday to drive about and talk rubbish for seven weeks. And they say nurses have it tough...

"There's a sweepstake in southern Lancashire on when Mr Dirs will make it in today. I've gone for 1438hrs. Would you advise?"
From Paul, Lancs in the TMS inbox

Sorry, Paul, Mr Dirs's smiling face appeared in the doorway at 1355 by our clock and I'm now handing over to him after the shortest warm-up act since the compere in Pompeii shouted 'We've got a hot show for you this afternoon......'

"With Shah at seven and Bopara at eight, England have a strong batting line-up"
Pat Murphy, BBC 5 Live

1330: The England team news is in and Freddie has been given the green light for his first one-day game at Old Trafford for four years - and only his fourth since he made his limited-overs debut in 1999. (This information is brought to you by Paul Grunill, the text commentary warm-up act)

India in England 2007
13 Aug 07 |  Cricket


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