Bell impresses but England lose again
The result of warm-up games are largely irrelevant and quickly forgotten once the real action starts, but the manner of England’s two ODI defeats this week must be causing Ashley Giles some alarm.
England’s new limited overs coach, taking the role as part of a new job-share arrangement with Andy Flower, will demand improvement ahead of the first ODI in Rajkot after six and nine wicket defeats in the space of two days, even though he knows the India v England betting is against his side given their recent wretched record there.
At least the displays are going in the right direction, well beaten by India A on Sunday, England at least put up a fight against Delhi.
Ian Bell was the stand out figure, top scoring with 108 (to go with his 91 on Sunday) and sharing a partnership of 113 with Eoin Morgan.
Their total of 294-5 is certainly competitive and one that suggests the batsmen are starting to get to grips with the sub-continent pitches once more.
However, that hefty total looked smaller with each passing over as Delhi got struck into their task diligently, Dhawan and Chand getting them off to the perfect start with an opening stand of 98.
Dhawan struck an impressive 110 off just 109 balls but his dismissal simply roused Delhi further, with Milind Kumar (78 not out) and Rajat Bhatia (45 not out) seeing the hosts to victory by six wickets.
The main worry for captain Alastair Cook was the inconsistencies of Steve Finn, Stuart Meaker and Chris Woakes.
With James Anderson, Graeme Swann and Stuart Broad at home, Cook has not real go-to man he can rely on, meaning some of England’s younger stars need to get to grips with international cricket quickly if they are to defy the cricket betting and inflict a debut defeat on new boss Giles.