Cheteshwar Pujara ©ICC

India reached the Final of the U-19 World Cup with a thumping 234-run victory against England.

India outplayed England in absolutely every department as England were made to look under-prepared, under-conditioned and under par. Which they are not. India were just so good that England were made to look as if they were amateurs against a seasoned team of professionals. England had no answer to India’s depth of talent or focussed aggression as one after the other, India’s batsmen and bowlers won each and every battle.

Moeen Ali said after the match: "We lacked pride today. We weren't focused enough. It didn't look as though we wanted to be out there. I think after the Bangladesh result I think we almost expected to do well. We didn't expect India to be so good."

Moeen Ali ©ICC

England were on top for a while. For the first three overs. India made just 5 runs during that period. The fourth over was different, however. Gaurav Dhiman smashed 18 off Huw Waters to get the Indian innings on track and they never looked back.

Runs continued to flow steadily once Dhiman was out for 48, as Cheteshwar Pujara and Rohit Sharma put on 112 runs but England still had some measure of control over the game. With 40 overs gone and India still below 200, it looked as if reaching 250 would be difficult. But the last five overs brought India 64 runs as Pujara, passing 100 for his first official U-19 century, hit out. He finished on 129 in 146 deliveries, hitting the last ball over square leg for six. He had been dropped at slip when he had made just 6.

Cheteshwar Pujara racing past 100 ©ICC

India’s 292 looked truly formidable.

And proved to be even more so as a shell-shocked England lost wicket after wicket with the batsmen barely getting a start. Three wickets fell in a critical pre-interval session (England’s reward for bowling their overs quickly was having to open their innings in a tricky twilight session before resuming under lights). India’s seamers extracted life from the wicket that had been beyond England and their spinners found fizz and bounce that England’s slow men never did.

Only extras and Graeme White, who is a sound prospect for senior elevation, managed to get into double figures as England were bowled out at the start of the 21st over for just 58.

Gaurav Dhiman (right) celebrates with his India team mates after dismissing England's Steven Mullaney (caught by Mayank Tehlan, back to camera). ©ICC

Venkatesh Prasad, India's coach, was thrilled by his team's performance: "It was an unbelievable result, we never thought the game was going to be so one-sided as we had great respect for England. We didn't want to falter in any aspect of the game, whether it was batting in partnerships, bowling or the fielding, which I thought was outstanding. We didn't want to leave the job for others and the boys stuck to their word today."

A team will have to be mighty good if they are to beat India in this form. Australia and Pakistan line up for the right to challenge them in the second Super League Semi-Final on Friday.

Super League Semi-Final 1: England v India
India won the toss and elected to bat
India: 292 for 4 off 50 overs (G. Dhiman 48, C. Pujara 129*, R. Sharma 59)
England: 58 off 20.1 overs (A. Ahmed 4-14)
Man of the Match: Cheteshwar Pujara (India)
View Scorecard >>

Filed February 16 2006