After bowling India out for a paltry 203, England threw away a winning position in the first One-Day International, to lose the match by 39 runs. They collapsed from 117-3 to 164 all out. Pietersen started the collapse by slog-sweeping a full toss from outside off stump into the hands of Gambhir on the mid-wicket boundary. With a run rate of just over 3 required with about 25 overs left the English batsmen only needed to bat sensibly against steady bowling to win the game. Flintoff then swept across the line to be plumb LBW. Like a precession of manically depressed lemmings the English batsmen followed their leader back to the pavilion with similarly ill-judged shots. I would pay money to hear Geraint Jones explain how he appeared to offer two half shots to a straight ball from Harbhajan Singh and was bowled without getting anywhere near it. Blackwell's slog sweep to mid-wicket summed up England's inability to tailor their shot selection to the match situation.
The last wicket pairing of Anderson and Plunkett shared a stand of 22, showing that by waiting for the bad delivery and cutting out the sweep shot it was possible to score runs with minimum risk. Why the batsmen could not play in the same manner is a mystery.
Flintoff needs to show that there is an austere side to his easy going style of captaincy. The middle order need to realise how badly they let their team down. I would suggest that they be sent to a darkened room with the last wicket partnership being replayed in a continuous loop.