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India have happy memories of Edgbaston (World Cup Special)
On Sunday, India and England will clash at Edgbaston, Birmigham, in a what is a must-win match for the hosts in the World Cup. The two sides have played three World Cup matches against each other in the UK -- in 1975, 1983 and 1999. England won the first time, but have lost all matches thereafter.
Here is a description of the 1999 World Cup clash between India and England at the Edgbaston, which India won by 63 runs, from the book 'Cricket World Cup: The Indian Challenge.'
May 29-30, Edgbaston
On a lovely, sunny morning, before a capacity 20,000 crowd, Alec Stewart won his fifth toss of the tournament and elected to field. The pitch was a slow seamer, and the English bowlers exploited it well by not allowing any liberties to the Indian batsmen.
(Sourav) Ganguly was unfortunate to be run out when (Rahul) Dravid's straight drive touched bowler Mark Ealham's fingertips before hitting the non-striker's stumps. But this setback was offset by (Sachin) Tendulkar escaping a run-out and a catch before he eventually hit Ealham down mid-wicket's throat. So, Dravid's 82-ball 53 became the highest score for the Indians.
An ominous cloud cover came to preside over play when England batted. Such conditions were ideal for (Debashish) Mohanty's swing bowling. Stewart and Graeme Hick were out to him off consecutive legal deliveries (as the one in between was a wide). Nasser Hussain then succumbed in deteriorating light, before a torrential downpour halted play. England were 73 for three in 20.3 overs, with Graham Thorpe, quite the most skilful of the English batsmen, unbeaten on 36.
The match resumed the next morning, the only group tie in the tournament to spill over into the reserve day. To England's disappointment, and the English media unduly fretted over this decision, Thorpe was ruled leg before wicket by umpire Javed Akhtar. Neil Fairbrother tried to keep the score ticking, but without much support. England were, consequently, eliminated at the preliminary stage of a World Cup for the first time; and calamitously, this debacle occurred at home.
England had arrived at Birmingham reasonably certain of a Super Six place. But Zimbabwe's giant killing of South Africa meant they had no alternative to beating India. When the weather was no longer a factor -- on the second day -- their batsmen crumbled to pressure.
Also, contributing to the exit was their defeat at the hands of South Africa and the lackadaisical approach in their three victories. For young Andrew Flintoff, a conspicuous failure in the tournament, the final insult was having his bat nicked from the dressing room.
Man of the Match: SC Ganguly
India: 232/8 in 50 overs (Rahul Dravid 53, Sourav Ganguly 40, Mark Ealham 2/28, Darren Gough 2/51, Alan Mullally 2/54) vs England: 169 all out in 45.2 overs (Graham Thorpe 36, Nasser Hussain 33, Sourav Ganguly 3/27, Javagal Srinath 2/25, Anil Kumble 2/30).
(Senior cricket writer Ashis Ray is a former broadcaster and author of the book 'Cricket World Cup: The Indian Challenge')
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