England win is just the job for Giles
ENGLAND started life under Ashley Giles with a first one-day win in India since 2006, edging a thrilling series opener in Rajkot by nine runs.
New limited-overs coach Giles saw his side end a run of 13 matches without a win in the country in some style, posting a formidable 325 for four and then showing the nerve to withstand a bold chase that eventually subsided to 316 for nine.
England's batsmen set up victory, with Alastair Cook (75), pictured, and Ian Bell (85) putting on 158 – England's highest opening stand in India – but the bowlers showed plenty of heart to see off opponents who at times looked capable of reeling in the target with time to spare.
James Tredwell was the pick of the attack with career-best figures of four for 44, while Jade Dernbach struck twice in the 45th over to stem a Mahendra Singh Dhoni-inspired fightback.
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The positives for England extended to a solid 44 from Kevin Pietersen, making his first ODI appearance since returning to the format, and a crucial cameo from Samit Patel worth 44 not out in just 20 balls.
There was also a debut for Yorkshire's Joe Root and, although he did not bat, he bowled nine tidy overs.
Defending 325, Steven Finn and Dernbach knew keeping things tight would be no easy task and Gautam Gambhir was happy to drive home the message.
He was quick to locate the ropes off both bowlers and kick-started the innings in earnest with three consecutive boundaries to begin Finn's third over, which cost 17.
After ten overs he and partner Ajinkya Rahane had reached 66, 12 more than England's mark.
But the off-spin of Tredwell and Root stifled the runs and the former made vital inroads too, removing Rahane (47) and Gambhir (52) in consecutive overs as 96 without loss became 102 for two.
At the halfway mark the chase had slowed somewhat and Tim Bresnan further boosted England when he had the dangerous Virat Kohli caught behind for 15.
But Yuvraj Singh hit the first six of the innings two balls later to lift a packed crowd and then milked three boundaries off a loose Dernbach over.
Successive swept fours off Root and a pull to mid-wicket saw Yuvraj to 50 in just 38 balls as the game tipped once more towards India.
The reliable Tredwell again delivered for his side when Yuvraj picked out Dernbach behind square for 61, leaving Suresh Raina and Dhoni at the crease.
Raina became Tredwell's fourth victim for a busy 50 and Dhoni perished for 32, effectively ending India's chances.