India vs England ODI Flashback: When Pietersen and Harbhajan turned flying birds

India vs England ODI Flashback: When Pietersen and Harbhajan turned flying birds

The funny banter occurred during the 2006 Jamshedpur ODI between India and England.

Kevin Pietersen
Kevin Pietersen. (Photo Source: Getty Images)

England toured India for a full-fledged International tour in 2006 which contained a 3-match Test series and a 7-match ODI series played in March and April. India took 1-0 lead in the Test series with a 9-wicket win in the 2nd Test played in Mohali before the English side made a comeback to defeat the hosts by a 212-run margin in the final Test at the Wankhede and drew the series. Coming into the ODI series, India have recorded some big series in the limited-overs format and maintained an unbeaten streak while chasing ahead of the series.

India showed their supremacy in the One-Day leg by defeating the visitors in each of the first four matches and clinching the series win three games to spare. The 5th ODI in Guwahati was abandoned due to bad weather while the 6th ODI was hosted by Jamshedpur’s Keenan Stadium. Virender Sehwag led the hosts in this match after Rahul Dravid rested himself as the fate of the series was already decided.

India were reduced to 79/5 by 16th over after electing to bat first but MS Dhoni, who opened along with Sehwag, didn’t let England go without a fight. The local-boy shared a 107-run stand for the 6th wicket Ramesh Powar before getting out for a 106-ball 96. With the pitch assisting slow bowlers, Andrew Strauss introduced Kevin Pietersen in the 40th over and was up against Harbhajan Singh, who walked out to bat at No.8.

Harbhajan picked up a couple on the first ball of the over before getting beaten on the next one. The ball went on clip the off-stump after going through Harbhajan’s defence as the South African-born England cricketer registered his first International wicket. Pietersen celebrated his first wicket like a flying free bird. Harbhajan remained unmoved assuming the bails were knocked off by the keeper Matt Prior. The third umpire assistance was required to make the Indian off-spinner’s walk back to the pavilion.

India were bowled out for 223 in 48 overs and England were crusing in the chase after attacking the pacers. Pietersen walked out to bat at No.4 when England were placed at 120/2 after 23 overs. He cautiously played Harbhajan who was bowling well in his first spell. Pietersen four runs off 13 balls against the off-spinner before taking on the other bowlers. Bhajji returned for his 2nd spell when England needed 26 runs in 14 overs and Pietersen batting on 33 off 39 balls.

Harbhajan Singh
Harbhajan Singh. (Photo Source: Getty Images)

England’s No.4 batsman tried to play a tossed up delivery from Harbhajan towards the leg-side. But the ball took the leading edge and went straight into the hands of the bowler as Pietersen had to depart for a 40-ball 33. Harbhajan looked quite happy with the wicket as he also did a flying bird celebration despite the wicket not mattering towards the result. England chased down the target with five wickets and 44 balls to spare. This game was the last of the nine ODIs India played at Jamshedpur by winning only once.