By R Eswar
Kochi: Jan 15, 2013
India finally found their winning touch as they relied on a brilliant all-round display to thrash England by an emphatic 127 runs in the second cricket one-dayer.
India first posted a competitive 285, riding on captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni's 72 and Ravindra Jadeja's 61, before the bowlers skittled out the visitors for a paltry 158 in just 36 overs to level the five-match series 1-1.
It was a convincing and morale-boosting victory for the Indians who have struggled of late even in home conditions, losing the ODI series to arch-rivals Pakistan and the Test series against England.
The hosts did well in all departments of the game, though the batting of the top order continued to be a concern with Gautam Gambhir (8) and Ajinkya Rahane (4) failing to deliver while the form of Virat Kohli remained patchy though he scored 37 today.
It was Dhoni's 66-ball 72 and Jadeja's blistering unbeaten knock of 61 in just 37 balls which provided the late flourish to the Indian innings. Suresh Raina (55) and Yuvraj Singh (32), who was distinctly unlucky to be given LBW, were the other notable contributors.
With the Nehru Stadium providing ample assistance to the bowlers in the second half, the Indians exploited the conditions to the hilt to bundle out the visitors with Kevin Pietersen being the top-scorer with a 58-ball 42.
Bhuvneshwar Kumar (3/29), R Ashwin (3/39) and Jadeja (2/12) were the pick of the Indian bowlers to give the hosts a resounding victory in front of a capacity crowd.
The two teams will now travel to Ranchi for the third one-dayer to be played on January 19.
It was rookie Shami Ahmed who gave India an early breakthrough with the wicket of Ian Bell (1) who chased a wide ball which pitched up and swung, only to take an edge to Dhoni in the second over of the England run chase.
As if taking revenge for Bell's wicket, England captain Alastair Cook punished Shami for two fours in the fourth over and Pietersen joined his skipper by carting the same bowler for three boundaries three overs later.
England were scoring at a brisk pace, more than five an over, and Ishant Sharma's introduction in the 10th over did not stop the flow of runs and the pacer was greeted with two boundaries by Pietersen.
Just as England looked like settling down after the initial jolt, Bhuvneshwar Kumar rocked the visitors run chase with a double strike in three deliveries.
Cook, who was looking solid, missed a good length delivery off Kumar, the first ball of the 11th over, and the umpire signalled the dismissal of the batsman. Cook's 17 came from 27 balls and was studded with three boundaries.
Two balls later, Kumar dealt a massive jolt to England innings by taking the wicket of Pietersen with a gem of a delivery. Pietersen was bowled off a sharp incutter which, after pitching at good length, jagged past the inside edge of the batsman's angled bat before crashing onto the wickets.
Pietersen's 42 came from 44 balls and was studded with seven fours.
Kumar returned four overs later to remove Eoin Morgan for a duck with captain Dhoni holding a superb, low catch to his left to leave England at 73 for four in the 15th over.
The quick jolts led England to slow down with Joe Root (36) and Craig Kieswetter (18) trying to consolidate rather than being adventurous and at the halfway mark they were 106 for four with the asking rate shooting over seven an over.
Jadeja returned in the 31st over for a double strike as he removed Root and Chris Woakes (0) in the space of four balls to leave England tottering at 132 for seven.
Ravichandran Ashwin, who has been struggling for some time, played his part with three wickets in his two overs as he polished off the England tail -- James Tredwell (1), Steven Finn (0) and Jade Dernbach (2).
The visitors lost six wickets in six overs as India won the match with 14 overs to spare.
Earlier, Dhoni continued his rich vein of form to steer the hosts to a challenging total after they were reduced to 119-4 in 26.2 overs.
Dhoni featured in two crucial partnerships --- first adding 55 runs with Suresh Raina and then 96 runs with Ravindra Jadeja for the fifth and sixth wickets respectively.
Middle-order batsman Raina also cracked a well-paced half-century off 78 balls, studded with two sixes and a couple of fours, to initially steady the innings along with Dhoni having come into bat at No 5.
However, it was in the last 10 overs which gave the hosts the impetus as Dhoni and allrounder Ravindra Jadeja, amassed 108 runs, to put the team in a comfortable position after they decided to bat first.
Steven Finn was the top wicket-taker for England as he took two wickets for 51 runs, while James Tredwell bowled really well, taking one wicket for 48 runs.
Jade Dernbach and Chris Woakes were expensive but snapped two and one wicket to contribute to the team.
Earlier, India had a tottering start as they were reduced to 18 for two by the English pace duo of Finn and Dernbach.
Gautam Gambhir (8) and Ajinkya Rahane (4) paid the price for their poor footwork as both were cleaned bowled by Dernbach and Finn respectively.
While, Gambhir failed to defend an incoming delivery from Finn, Rahane tried to play too away from the body, leaving a huge gap which was breached by the inswinger from Dernbach.
Virat Kohli and Yuvraj Singh then tried to steady the ship and added 53 runs off 65 balls for the third wicket.
Raina and Kohli then forged another 48-run stand for the fifth wicket and helped India cross the 100-run mark before the late flourish of Dhoni and Jadeja.
Brief Scores: India 285 for 6 in 50 overs (MS Dhoni 72, Ravindra Jadeja 61*, Suresh Raina 55; Steven Finn 2 for 73) bt England 158 all-out in 36 overs (Kevin Pietersen 42; Bhuvneshwar Kumar 3 for 29, R Ashwin 3 for 39) by 127 runs.
Man of the Match: Ravindra Jadeja
First Published: January 15, 2013, 6:52 pm