Ranchi: A superlative bowling effort was equally well complemented by the batsmen as India nosed 2-1 ahead in the five-match series with a command seven-wicket win in the maiden international at the JSCA Stadium here on Saturday.
Things couldn’t have fallen any better in place for the hosts, who are now just one win away from wrapping up the series. From winning toss to executing their bowling plans to mounting their successful chase, India didn’t put a foot wrong. Having restricted England to an extremely inadequate 155 all out in 42.2 overs, the home team replied with 157/3 in 28.1 overs, skipper MS Dhoni appropriately bringing the winning runs much to the delight of 39,000 screaming home fans.
Ajinkya Rahane’s problems with incoming balls continued while Gautam Gambhir (33, 53b, 4x4), though not completely convincing during his stay, added 67 runs for the second wicket with Virat Kohli (77 n.o., 79b, 9x4, 2x6) to set a good base for the chase. After enduring a poor run of scores for a while, man of the match Kohli announced his return to form in an emphatic fashion.
Playing as authoritatively as he has during his dream run last year, the right-hander made his intentions clear by dispatching Jade Dernbach for three successive fours and setting the right tempo for the rest of his innings. Yuvraj Singh (30, 21b, 6x4) too played a little gem but much of the credit for India’s dominant win should go to their bowlers.
For the third time in the last four matches, the much-maligned attack produced a stellar performance, restricting the opposition to sub-160 total. Against Pakistan in Delhi, the home bowlers had defended a smallish total of 165 with tigerish zeal.
In Rajkot, in the first one-dayer against England, normalcy appeared to have been restored with the visiting batsmen plundering 325 runs even though Indian batsmen too managed a 300-plus total in reply.
In Kochi, the Indian bowlers regained their zing on a turning wicket after Bhuvneshwar Kumar had done the damage upfront in an excellent of display of swing bowling as England, despite a good start, collapsed to 158, conceding a massive 127-run win. On a supposedly batting surface here, England crashed to another low total with all the six Indian bowlers getting amongst wickets. Ravindra Jadeja (3/19), who used the arm-ball to devastating effect, was the pick of the bowlers but R Ashwin (2/37) and Ishant Sharma (2/29) were no less impressive.
Keeping the evening dew factor in mind, India opted to bowl first on a pitch that had a thin grass cover on it. While there was no exaggerated movement off the pitch, both Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Shami Ahmed kept the English openers – Alastair Cook and Ian Bell – quiet. Cook, though not brisk, looked fluent even as Bell, who at one stage was one off 18 deliveries, struggled to kick on. Like in Kochi, Shami gave the crucial opening breakthrough, this time catching a shuffling Cook in front as the ball straightened after pitching.
Having been choked for runs, the pressure was building on the batsmen and the first adventurous shot from Cook resulted in his fall. Changing ends, Ishant produced a peach of a delivery to beat Kevin Pietersen with the slightest of away movement to have the dangerous batsmen caught behind. Pietersen wasn’t happy with umpire S Ravi’s verdict and replays showed no contact between bat and ball.
After Pietersen’s dismissal at the total of 68, England kept losing wickets in clusters, making it extremely difficult for themselves to salvage the innings. Bell’s misery ended at the same score, Dhoni’s decision to stand up to Bhuvneshwar paying the dividends this time. A reverse sweeping Eoin Morgan fell at 97 while a run later, both Crai Kieswetter and Samit Patel handed their wickets away.
Joe Root (39, 57b, 4x4), England’s top-scorer, staged a mini recovery with Tim Bresnan, adding 47 for the seventh wicket but Ishant’s return spelt his doom. Ashwin got rid of Bresnan at the same score with a classic off-spinner’s delivery and after adding 10 more runs Steven Finn and Jade Dernbach lost their wickets.
Cook lbw Shami 17
Bell c Dhoni b Bhuvneshwar 25
Pietersen c Dhoni b Ishant 17
Root c Dhoni b Ishant 39
Morgan c Yuvraj b Ashwin 10
Kieswetter b Jadeja 0
Patel lbw Jadeja 0
Bresnan b Ashwin 25
Tredwell (not out) 4
Finn c Yuvraj b Raina 3
Dernbach b Jadeja 0
Extras (LB-6, W-9) 15
Total (all out, 42.2 overs) 155
Fall of wickets: 1-24 (Cook), 2-68 (Pietersen), 3-68 (Bell), 4-97 (Morgan), 5-98 (Kieswetter), 6-98 (Patel), 7-145 (Root), 8-145 (Bresnan), 9-155 (Finn).
Bowling: Bhuvneshwar Kumar 10-2-40-1 (w-3), Shami Ahmed 8-0-23-1 (w-2), Ishant 7-0-29-2 (w-3), Jadeja 6.2-0-19-3, Ashwin 10-0-37-2 (w-1), Raina
Runs during Power Play1: 1-10 overs: 34/1; Power Play2 (batting): 36-40 overs: 20/2.
Gambhir c Root b Tredwell 33
Rahane b Finn 0
Kohli (not out) 77
(79b, 9x4, 2x6)
Yuvraj b Tredwell 30
Dhoni (not out) 10
Extras (B-1, LB-1, W-5) 7
Total (for 3 wkts, 28.1 overs) 157
Fall of wickets: 1-11 (Rahane), 2-78 (Gambhir), 3-144 (Yuvraj).
Bowling: Finn 9.1-0-50-1 (w-2), Dernbach 5-0-45-0 (w-2), Bresnan 7-2-31-0 (w-1), Tredwell 7-1-29-2. Runs during Power Play1: 1-10 overs: 48/1.