Suresh Raina's 100: Breaking Down India Batsman's 75-Ball Innings vs. England

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Suresh Raina's 100: Breaking Down India Batsman's 75-Ball Innings vs. England
Alastair Grant/Associated Press

A brilliantly paced century from Suresh Raina, half-centuries from skipper MS Dhoni and opener Rohit Sharma, followed by a sustained spell of attacking spin bowling, brought India a much-needed win over England in the second one-day international at Cardiff on Wednesday.

India's 133-run win was their second-highest over these opponents and also their sixth consecutive ODI victory on these shores, a run that began during last year's successful sojourn for the Champions Trophy.

And just like that, it appeared as if all of India's woes, miseries and failures over the last month in the longer format were wiped away with the swish of a wand.

Not only did the tourists outbat and outbowl England, they were also sharp in the field and held on to their catches, which is more than what could be said about their shambolic display during the Tests.

The words "rejuvenated," "revitalised" and "transformed" were tossed around in abundance on both traditional and social media.

Whether India's win and all-round performance merited those words yet is a debate for another day. But the protagonist who made that all possible was someone who was unscathed by his team's display in the Test series.

Suresh Raina flew into England as one of the more experienced members of India's young limited-overs squad following the 3-1 drubbing in the Tests.

During the lone warm-up game against Middlesex ahead of the ODI series, the middle-order batsman was bizarrely sent in to bat at No 11 by his skipper.

Raina scored just five runs in what was far-from-ideal match practice after more than two months out of the game.

Stu Forster/Getty Images
Chris Woakes got England off to a perfect start.

After the first match at Bristol was washed out, India were put in to bat by Alastair Cook in overcast conditions and on a pitch that was certain to assist the bowlers early on.

Any hopes of a transformed India for the ODI series were all but wiped away in the first Powerplay itself, as India struggled to 26 for 2 in 10 overs.

A slow and scratchy but effective partnership between Rohit Sharma and Ajinkya Rahane took them past the 100 mark without further damage before the latter gifted his wicket via a soft dismissal.

In walked Raina at No. 5 with the score at 110 for 3 in the 24th over and more than half the innings ahead of him.

 

Phase 1: Balls 1 to 43

Raina got off the mark with a delightful whip for four through mid-wicket off Ben Stokes but then checked his strike-rate to chip along steadily.

Stu Forster/Getty Images
Coming in at No. 5, Raina got off to a steady start.

He lost Rohit along the way but was joined by his skipper, with whom he had forged many prolific partnerships in coloured clothing for club and country.

Raina pounced on the loose deliveries, got lucky with a few inside-edges that went to the fence but calmly kept the scoreboard ticking along with Dhoni.

At the end of the 35th over, with India at a steady 156 for 4, Dhoni decided to take the batting Powerplay, as Raina flicked on the switch.

 

Phase 2: Balls 44 to 75

The diminutive southpaw began the Powerplay by making room and slashing Chris Jordan through the covers for four. In the next over, he recorded his first maximum of the innings via a handsome straight drive off Chris Woakes.

With confidence and adrenalin oozing through, Raina brought the cover drives, the pulls and the hooks out of his arsenal and launched into England. However, his most enjoyable stroke continued to be the whip off the legs, which he made his staple.

Stu Forster/Getty Images
Once the batting Powerplay was taken, Raina flicked on the switch.

So good was Raina on the day that he struck James Anderson, England's man of the Test series, for three successive boundaries, each to different parts of the ground, to end the batting Powerplay.

After a couple more powerful straight and cover drives, Raina got to his first-ever century outside Asia and fourth overall by tapping a full toss down towards long-on.

He was out the following ball as he went to swipe Woakes over extra-cover for six, only to find the safe hands of Anderson.

Raina's 75-ball 100 helped India cross the 300 mark, which turned out to be more than enough for the bowlers to defend.

"I've seen a lot of the Test matches, I was looking forward to this game. I've worked really hard on my batting and fitness. We are looking forward to the next three ODIs," said Raina, after being awarded the man of the match, as quoted by ESPN Cricinfo.

Raina's exceptional innings has provided India with the right impetus and optimism to dominate this series and turn around their fortunes.

However, they should be warned, as everyone knows what happened the last time a stalemate between these two teams was followed by an Indian win.

All statistics via ESPN Cricinfo unless otherwise mentioned.

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