Ranchi: After the bowlers dismissed England for 155, Virat Kohli’s breezy 79-ball 77 helped India overhaul the target in just 28.1 overs at the newly constructed HEC International Stadium in Ranchi on Saturday. With this seven-wicket win, India took a 2-1 lead in the five-match ODI series.
As in the previous match, India’s pacer made inroads inside the first 15 overs to set England back. Shami Ahmed removed Alastair Cook (17) with one that straightened and Bhuvneshwar Kumar got Ian Bell (25) to nick one to MS Dhoni standing up to the stumps, but it was the lucky dismissal off Kevin Pietersen, sandwiched between the wickets of the England openers, which gave India the most joy. Pietersen had looked commanding during his 20-ball 17 before he was adjudged caught behind after an Ishant Sharma delivery deviated off a sharp length, but replays did not show an edge. After scores of 44 and 42 in the series, Pietersen managed 17 and his reaction to being given out incorrectly was that of disbelief.
Bell’s dismissal in Bhuvneshwar’s eighth over – the 16th of the innings - meant England had lost two wickets in four deliveries, and at 68 for 3 the need was for a recovery. Bhuvneshwar bowled his quota in a row (10-2-40-1), after which R Ashwin came on and found a bit of turn from the track. Eoin Morgan struggled to dominate, scratching around 30 balls for his 10 before he needlessly tried to reverse sweep Ashwin and popped a simple catch to backward point (97 for 4).
In the next over, Ravindra Jadeja claimed removed Craig Kieswetter and Samit Patel for ducks. Joe Root found the occasional boundary while Tim Bresnan sensibly rotated the strike and the duo managed to stitch together a partnership of 47 runs in 11.4 overs. However, both departed during the batting Powerplay; Root chased a wide delivery from Ishant Sharma and four balls later, Bresnan was bowled by Ashwin. The last four wickets fell for 10 runs, the innings ending when Jadeja bowled Jade Dernbach for 0.
In chase of a modest total of 156 Indian lost Ajinkya Rahane for 0 with Steve Finn once again providing the early breakthrough in the third over. Kohli, who was under the scanner for his string of failures, started on a confident by hitting three consecutive fours off Dernbach over as he raced to 31 off 28 balls. Gautam Gambhir (33) looked uncomfortable in the middle but managed to hang in there getting the odd boundary courtesy the edge, before he tried to heave James Tredwell over mid-on but found Root.
India were at this point 78 for 2 and in partnership with Yuvraj Singh, Kohli added quick runs. He cracked his 22nd ODI fifty playing the ball towards square leg for a couple in the 21st over before reaching 4000 ODI runs in his 96th match. Yuvraj cut loose hitting a boundary over midwicket off Bresnan and a massive six over long-on off Tredwell, before he was bowled for a 21-ball 30 with India needing 12 for victory.
MS Dhoni finished off the match with a pull for four towards square leg.