Mohali: Jan 23, 2013
The unheralded Joe Root (57 not out) and Kevin Pietersen (76) provided the late sparks with some lusty hits as England recovered from a mid-innings slump to post a decent 257 for seven in their must-win penultimate cricket one-dayer against India at Mohali on Wednesday.
Put into bat, England lost three wickets in quick succession in the middle of the innings after a reasonably good start but young Root unleashed a stunning counter-attack to steer the total past the 250-run mark, which looked doubtful at one stage.
Root, who clobbered eight boundaries and a six during his 45-ball blitzkrieg, and Pietersen were largely responsible for England recovery, while captain Alastair Cook laid the foundation with a solid 76.
The visitors scored as many as 100 runs in the last ten overs as the Indians, who had the game under control for most part of it, suddenly appeared to lose the plot with Root and Pietersen going on the offensive.
Spinner Ravindra Jadeja was the pick of the Indian bowlers with three for 39 while Ishant Sharma two for 47 and R Ashwin two for 63 were the other wicket-takers on a Mohali track, which appeared to be good for batting.
England started their innings on a cautious note as the two Indian new ball bowlers, Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Shami Ahmed got the ball to move around in the initial overs.
Both Kumar and Shami, who proved to be a little expensive in the first spell, troubled the batsmen as openers Cook and Ian Bell played and missed on a few occasions. But they were lucky not to edge the ball.
With Shami giving away 18 runs in his first three overs, Indian captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni brought in Ishant Sharma from the pavilion end and the lanky seamer bowled a probing line and troubled the batsmen.
The opening pair put on 37 runs for the first wicket before Ishant provided the breakthrough by evicting Bell, who perished to a rash stroke.
Bell decided to step out against Ishant but could not get to the pitch of the ball and Kumar pulled off a brilliant diving catch at the third man region.
Pietersen, who joined the action after Bell's dismissal, started off watchfully and took some time to get off the mark.
The experienced duo of Cook and Pietersen kept the scoreboard moving with gentle nudges and pushes and did not take too many risks as they steered England past the 100-mark.
As the innings wore on, the Mohali track became easier to bat on and Cook and Pietersen gradually accelerated the pace of scoring.
The duo stitched 95 runs for the second wicket before off spinner R Ashwin came to the rescue of the team by dismissing Cook in what appeared to be a dubious decision by umpire Sudhir Asnani.
Cook was wrapped on the pad while trying to play forward but the ball appeared to have pitched outside the leg stump line. Cook slammed 13 boundaries during his knock, which came off 106 balls.
The departure of Cook triggered off a collapse of sorts as Eoin Morgan (3) and Samit Patel (1) perished in quick succession with England slipping from a comfortable 132 for one to 142 for four.
The visitors could have suffered another jolt on the same score but Virat Kohli dropped a catch at first slip off Joe Roots when he had not even opened his account with Ishant being the unlucky bowler.
Brief Scores: England 257 for 7 in 50 overs (Kevin Pietersen 76, Alastair Cook 76, Joe Root 57*; Ravindra Jadeja 3 for 39, Ishant Sharma 2 for 47) vs India