Bell remained unbeaten on 113 as England chased down the target of 227 with 16 balls to spare. But India clinch the ODI series 3-2.
Dharamsala: Riding on Ian Bell's unbeaten 113, England beat India by seven wickets in the fifth and final one-dayer here on Sunday. Having taken an unassailable lead over the visitors, India clinch the five-match series 3-2.
England got off to a solid start with the openers (Bell, Alastair Cook) putting up a fifty-run stand. After that Joe Root (31) and an unbeaten Eoin Morgan (40) helped England to chase down India's target of 227 in 47.2 overs.
With the conditions favourable for seam bowling, Indian bowlers hardly gave away any easy runs and kept things tight. At the beginning, openers Bell and Cook were watchful and played with caution before the England skipper was clean bowled by Ishant Sharma for 22.
Bell was joined by Kevin Pietersen (6) but the big right-hander didn't last long and was caught in the deep mid-wicket boundary off Shami Ahmed. The wicket of Pietersen gave India a hope keeping England in check, but Joe Root combined with Bell and stitched together a 79-run partnership for the third wicket.
Root was going well and playing every ball with the straight bat, until he tried a foolhardy shot of going after Ravindra Jadeja and missed it completely to be bowled for 31. England were 143 for 3 in 35.4 overs and Bell was the key and he didn't let his team down to notch up his third ODI century.
If India had some outside chance in the match after Root's wicket, the unbeaten fourth-wicket partnership of 84 runs between Morgan and Bell took the game away from the host team.
Earlier, an incisive bowling show by England bowlers led by Tim Bresnan bundled out India to a low total of 226. India got off to a jittery start after put in to bat and at one stage didn't look like going past 200. But a gritty knock of 83 by Suresh Raina and some useful cameos from the batsmen lower down the order helped the hosts to a competetive total.
On a seamer friendly conditions, England were lucky to win the toss and skipper Alastair Cook's decision of fielding first paid off. Bresnan was the first to strike by picking up Rohit Sharma (4) and immediately in the next ball snared Virat Kohli for duck to leave India at 13 for 2.
However, the batsmen that followed failed to graft at the crease as India lost wickets at regular intervals. Yuvraj Singh's poor form continued and in this match he even failed to open his account before falling to Steve Finn. Although, opener Gautam Gambhir tried to spend some time at the crease for his patient 24 runs off 42 balls, but didn't help India's cause much. Gambhir and MS Dhoni (15) fell in quick succession that left India struggling at 79 for 5 in 21.1 overs.
Then it was the sixth-wicket partnership of 78 runs between Raina and Jadeja that revived India. Both of them without taking much risk looked to spend as much time at the crease and by scoring the odd boundaries. Raina planned his innings well by lifting the tempo when required, as he smashed a boundary to reach his 28th ODI half-century.
The duo were going well when Jadeja (39) going for a shot over midwicket got a thick edge to cover point. In the 40th over, Raina decided to go after Samit Patel and slammed two boundaries but in the next over was caught at midwicket off a Chris Woakes short ball.
Raina's wicket ended India's hope of going past the 200-run mark, but thanks to the handy knocks by R Ashwin (19) and Bhuvneshwar Kumar (31) this objective was achieved with relative ease. For England, Bresnan starred with four wickets while Finn and James Tredwell claimed two wickets each.