India v England: Hosts clinch series with five-wicket victory in Mohali
India v England: Alastair Cook's men see their hopes of a series win ended after a five-wicket defeat in Mohali. Harry Kemble reports
England’s pursuit of an one-day international series victory in India goes on after the hosts won by five wickets in Mohali to take unassailable 3-1 lead.
Recalled Rohit Sharma (83) and Suresh Raina (89 not out) helped the hosts ease to victory with 15 balls remaining.
Earlier, India had restricted the tourists to 257-7, which was little under par on another decent sub-continent wicket.
Alastair Cook (76) and Kevin Pietersen (76) built the platform for England before Joe Root’s cameo 56 gave his side a much-needed boost down the order.
As anticipated, the struggling Craig Kieswetter was replaced by Jos Buttler in England’s line-up.
The tourists were asked to bat by India in overcast conditions after losing the toss for the third time in succession.
Starting cautiously, England tried to give themselves a chance of conserving wickets for an assault in the last 15 overs.
Ian Bell attempted to up the pace with England on 37, but only managed to chip a catch to Bhuvneshwar Kumar at third man.
Pietersen took 12 balls to get off naught as he struggled against the metronomic bowling of Shami Ahmed and Kumar.
The pair continued to 132, when England suffered at the hands of umpire Sudhir Asnani after Cook, on 76, was given out leg-before despite the ball pitching outside leg stump.
New batsman Eoin Morgan was dismissed trying to lob Ashwin over the inner-ring, only managing to direct his shot to Yuvraj Singh.
England then lost their third wicket for ten runs when Samit Patel was caught and bowled by the ever-impressive Ravi Jadeja for the first of his three wickets.
Pietersen, 32, hit a brisk 50 partnership off 46 balls with the reliable young Joe Root as they attempted a salvage operation.
The South African-born batsman reached his slowest ODI fifty off 84 balls before the pair blasted Ashwin’s final over for 17.
However, in full flow, Pietersen was castled by Sharma for 76.
Root carried on gallantly, despite losing Buttler and Bresnan in successive deliveries, to record his own maiden ODI fifty off 43 balls.
The youngster offered an array of shots to help England score 100 off the last ten overs, lifting his side to 257-7.
In reply, India got off to another patchy start as they continue to look for a stable opening partnership.
Gautam Gambhir was first out when Bresnan – opening the bowling instead of Jade Dernbach – induced an edge from the left-hander – Buttler took the catch with the score on 20.
England could have another two overs later when Sharma – who replaced the struggling Ajinkya Rahane – was shelled by Pietersen.
Virat Kohli and Sharma serenely carried the score to 72 after some wayward bowling.
With the hosts threatening to put themselves in pole position, Cook introduced James Tredwell, who immediately got Kohli out for 26 caught and bowled.
The Kent spinner has used all his nous on this tour to be a pillar of strength for England, averaging just 15 with the ball in the first three ODIs.
Chandigarh-born batsman Singh would have been desperate to repeat Dhoni’s Ranchi heroics but Tredwell had the better of him too, trapping him in front for three.
At the other end, Sharma was hitting form to compile his 13th ODI half-century of 73 balls, keeping his side in touch as India moved to within a hundred runs of England’s 25.
Cook brought on Finn again, who got 25-year-old out leg-before for 83 off 93 balls – a vital breakthrough.
The Middlesex man could have had Raina out too but ecstasy turned into agony when umpire Steve Davis called dead-ball after 6ft 7in bowler clipped the stumps on his follow through.
The decision was made at the start of the series to call dead-ball if the stumps were broken on delivery stride without giving a prior warning.
Legislation that both team captains were made aware of – England could not feel hard done by.
A reprieved Raina hit his 27th ODI fifty guiding his side to victory with Dhoni ably supporting his young star.
Dernbach gave his side hope when Dhoni cut a long-hop down Morgan’s throat for 19 but with Surrey quick’s figures reading eight overs for 52, England once again could hardly complain as India eased to their target.