India v England: Ian Bell helps tourists restore pride in final ODI
India v England: Ian Bell produced 113 runs to help the tourists restore some pride with a seven-wicket victory in the final ODI
Ian Bell ensured England left India with their heads held high after his unbeaten 113 saw the tourists comfortably home in the final one-day international by seven wickets.
The Warwickshire batsman scored his third ODI century, with both Joe Root (31) and Eoin Morgan, who scored 40, late on to ease England over the line.
Earlier a superb bowling performance restricted MS Dhoni’s side to 226 all out, with Tim Bresnan taking four for 45, with Steve Finn and James Tredwell both getting two each, although, their poor catching cost them in the field.
England’s batting chase started circumspectly in overcast conditions created by the neighbouring Dhauladhar Mountains.
The tourists knew that India’s relatively small total would be easily reached if their batsmen could build one or two healthy partnerships.
Alastair Cook received the benefit of doubt for a caught behind appeal when bat and pad brushed each other, with England on 30-0.
But the captain was soon clean bowled for 22 by a fired up Ishant Sharma, and when Kevin Pietersen pulled a Shami Ahmed delivery down the throat of Ravi Jadeja, England looked shaky on 64-2 after 18 overs.
Bell, thougth, assumed the anchor role, picking the gaps with care, particularly against Ravi Ashwin, reaching his half-century off 88 balls.
The Warwickshire batsman formed a vital partnership of 79 with Root that put England within touching distance of India.
Root exemplified why England are so excited about their young talent until a rare lapse of concentration, hacking across the line on 31, ended his chances of a second ODI fifty of the series.
Morgan has long been recognised as England’s “finisher”, playing the same role which Dhoni is often accustomed to for India – and the Irish-born batsman did not disappoint.
His three lofty sixes saw England canter to their target taking the sting out of the Dharamsala crowd – many of whom had seen enough well before the finish.
Bresnan, whose troublesome elbow has ruled him out of the New Zealand tour party, took two early wickets to get England up and running in this dead rubber.
Consecutive deliveries saw Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli dismissed in identical fashion in the fourth over when Bresnan encouraged a nick after wafted drive from both batsman saw them caught at slip.
Tredwell could have had Raina too, when just on five, but failed to hold on as the ball slithered through his fingertips.
The hosts quickly went from 13-2 to 24-3 after Eoin Morgan took a smart catch to oust Yuvraj Singh off Finn.
Gautam Gambhir’s batting woes continued after he was caught when well set on 24 – Tredwell again the executor.
Dhoni was leg before after shuffling across to the Middlesex pace and India’s innings was in tatters at 79-5.
However, Raina continued his excellent form, knocking his fourth half-century in four innings, to get some stability.
But Tredwell would rue his drop even more when Cook who dived awkwardly at square-leg to put down the left-hander again.
Raina with Jadeja were getting their side out of a hole hitting an invaluable 50 run partnership that was brought up with a scintillating six by the latter to give England food for thought.
But not long after bringing up the 150, Jadeja chipped to Bell out for 39 just before the last ten overs – an increasingly crucial time under the new regulations.
The same fielder again showed his teammates how to do it when he caught Raina, finally, for 83 off 98 balls with eight overs to go.
Lusty blows from Ravichandran Ashwin (19) and Bhuvneshwar Kumar’s 31 off 30 balls helped India over the 200 mark, but not before two more drop catches by Samit Patel and Tredwell, again.
Bresnan wrapped up the innings collecting the wickets of Kumar and Shami Ahmed – capping off a significant display.