Mohali: Opener Rohit Sharma scored 83 and Suresh Raina made 89 not out lower down the order to chase down 258 to beat England by five wickets here on Wednesday and give India a series-winning 3-1 lead.
Ravindra Jadeja supported Raina well to remain unbeaten on 21, as India achieved the target in 47.3 overs. For England, James Tredwell claimed two wickets while Steven Finn, Jade Dernbach and Tim Bresnan finished with one wicket a piece.
MS Dhoni and his team were under tremendous pressure after losing the Test series against England followed by an ODI series defeat to Pakistan. But this series win will definitely bolster the confidence of India.
Playing in place of Ajinkya Rahane, the talented Sharma who was promoted as an opener in this one-dayer grabbed the opportunity and played some scorching shots in his knock. Jadeja scored the winning runs by taking three off Dernbach to seal India's win.
While Gautam Gambhir's (10) poor run continued with the bat when he tried to poke at a Tim Bresnan delivery and got an edge to the wicketkeeper. However, the lefthander was also touch unlucky because replays showed that there was no edge involved.
After losing Gambhir early, India could have been in more trouble had Kevin Pietersen held on to a difficult catch of Sharma when on 12. Then Sharma and Virat Kohli stitched together a 52-run partnership for the second wicket before James Tredwell in his first over scalped Kohli for 26. Tredwell tossed the ball up and Kohli played straight into the bowler's hand for a simple return catch.
The local boy Yuvraj Singh (3) walked out but didn't survive for long as yet again Tredwell got the breakthrough by trapping the big lefthander infront of the stumps. Somehow, the fall of wickets didn't deter Sharma and he went on to notch up his 13th ODI half-century. Sharma was well supported by Raina for their 50-run stand off 37 balls.
Just when they seemed to be going well, Finn struck by sending back Sharma by trapping the batsman leg before wicket. Sharma's 83 came off 93 balls and was studded with 11 boundaries and a six. Raina was lucky to get a reprieve when he was caught by Alastair Cook in the slips but the umpire gave dead ball as Finn had knocked the stumps over in his delivery stride.
Earlier, Cook, Pietersen and Joe Root hit fifties to guide England to 257 for 7. The visitors began cautiously in seaming conditions at the PCA Stadium, taking 12 runs off the first five overs after being put into bat. In the sixth, three well-timed shots from Cook resulted in boundaries off Shami Ahmed to get the score moving, but a change in bowling provided the breakthrough for India. In the tenth over, looking to break the shackles off Ishant Sharma, Bell skied a catch to Bhuvneshwar Kumar at third man for 10 off 25 balls.
That wicket-maiden gave Ishant a strong start and he followed by striking Pietersen in the groin and rapping the batsman’s pads for a very tight call that was turned down. Ishant’s spell (5-2-10-1) played a big role in ensuring England struggled for runs; Pietersen failed to score off six balls faced from Ishant, while Cook managed nine off 17 balls from the lanky pacer.
There were just four boundaries between the 10th and 20th overs – all to Cook – and it wasn’t until his 33rd delivery that Pietersen collected his first four, a firm punch down the ground off R Ashwin. Cook reached his fifty from 74 balls with a single off Kumar at short midwicket - his 15th ODI fifty and 6th against India.
Both Cook and Pietersen batted with great care and their partnership of 95 runs came to an end only when the former tried to play across to a straight Ashwin delivery, finding himself trapped in front of the wickets. The England captain took 106 for his 76 runs and hit 13 fours.
Next batsman Eoin Morgan’s had a very brief stay at the crease. The out-of-form left-hander, after scoring three off five, charged down the wicket and tried to hit Ashwin straight back but mistimed it and Yuvraj took a nice catch running backwards at long-on.
Samit Patel departed in the 37th over. The corpulent allroudner moved away to make room to drive a flighted delivery and ended up hitting a return catch back to Jadeja, who took it low down.
Root joined Pietersen and he provided the impetus the English innings needed. However, he was dropped on 0 by Virat Kohli in the slips. Meanwhile, a struggling Pietersen completed his 24th fifty off 84 balls – his slowest ever. Root’s fluency soon rubbed off on Pietersen and runs started flowing for the tourists. It was Root’s six off Ashwin with a sweep in the 44th over that changed the complexion of the innings.
Pietersen got in on the act in the 46th with a huge six off Ishant over long-on. The Indian bowler, who had a great day at the office, avenged himself on the English batsman off the next ball with a yorker that uprooted Pietersen’s stumps. Pietersen made 76 ball off 93 balls with seven fours and one six.
Root got another reprieve on 42 in the very next over as Raina dropped an easy skier at short midwicket as the batsman tried a repeat of his previous six, this time off Jadeja. The Indian spinner lessened his pain to some extent with the Jos Buttler wicket in the 49th wicket, though only after conceding a four and a six. Two balls later Jadeja struck again to send back Tim Bresnan for a duck, taking his third wicket for 39 runs.
In the last over, bowled by Shami Ahmed, Root pulled the second ball for a four to complete his maiden fifty. He and Tredwell accumulated 15 runs off the over to take the tourists to a competitive total. Root remained unbeaten on 57 off 45 balls. England scored 100 runs in the last 10 overs.