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England will have to play spin well

Sourav Ganguly
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It was a good toss to win in the first match of the series and that earned India their first ever victory at the Hyderabad ground. Once again Mahendra Singh Dhoni showed how good an ODI player he is.

Coming into bat at 128 for four, his was a knock full of control, assessing the situation well initially and then power-hitting at the end.

India played well to get to the 300-mark and that was mainly because of Dhoni and Raina.

It was very ordinary captaincy by the English skipper Alistair Cook. It is early days in Cook's captaincy tenure.

He needs to be innovative and flexible, especially in sub-continental conditions otherwise it's going to be a long hard series for the Englishmen.

It was very surprising not to see Ian Bell play. He is a must in Indian conditions as he is a very good player of spin bowling and controls the innings well in the middle. The key to success for England will be how well they play Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja in this series.

The shot selections or run scoring options England took against spin were very ordinary. You can't keep hitting against spin and be successful.

The English batsmen tried to hit Ashwin and Jadeja against the turn whereas Dhoni and Raina were a perfect example of how to play with the turn. Dhoni and Raina kept hitting the spinners over the same area, Dhoni hit the left-arm spinner Samit Patel over extra-cover and Raina also over the same spot against Graeme Swann.

Pietersen has to fire

It's also important for Kevin Pietersen to fire for England. His approach to batting was not at all delightful for anyone watching the game, including me. He has his own style of play but I believe he needs to be more still at the crease in ODI cricket and can't keep on moving all the time.

Pietersen has to learn to build his innings in ODI and bat 30 to 40 overs and get England to winning positions. At present he doesn't have much control over his ODI batting and it's important for England that Pietersen fires at the top.

The teams move to Delhi for the second game of the series and will play on the Ferozeshah Kotla pitch, which will probably be a bit flatter than the one at Hyderabad. The pitch at Hyderabad seemed to stop before coming on to the bat and that restricted stroke-play in the game throughout.

At Ferozeshah it will be better, it will be skiddy sort, where the ball will tend to come on to bat and that will make shot making a bit better for the batters.

Different side

India looked a completely different side from what it looked in England. That's why I insist that India is always a tough side to beat at home.

The Englishmen outplayed India in their backyard but they will have to play really, really well if they have any intent to match up. They will have to get their game up a lot more than what they did at Hyderabad in order to compete. To be more precise, England will have to play spin well if it wants to match India at home.

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