Ajinkya Rahane scored his maiden ODI ton © Getty Images
Ajinkya Rahane scored his maiden ODI ton © Getty Images

By Nishad Pai Vaidya

Sep 2, 2014

Ajinkya Rahane‘s maiden One-Day International (ODI) ton and Shikhar Dhawan‘s unbeaten 97 helped India beat England by nine wickets in the fourth game at Edgbaston. England were restricted to 206 and India have chased it down in 31 overs. Dhawan finished the game with a handsome six as India clinched the series 3-0.

The pressure was on England and it has only intensified with this victory. This was complete humiliation at the hands of India. The bowlers did not allow the hosts to get going and then the openers made a mockery of their bowling plans. India would mark ticks in most boxes for this match and would be a delighted with the comprehensive victory.

England’s approach to one-day cricket has been scrutinized in recent times and this performance will only provide fodder to the critics. To start with, skipper Alastair Cook played out two maidens for Bhuvneshwar. Though the Indian swing-bowler was getting good movement, England played into his hands. And, he struck twice in the same over by dismissing both Cook and Alex Hales.

Even when Joe Root and Eoin Morgan stitched together a partnership, it was too slow and they did not force the issue. Yet again, the spinners helped India get on top again as they broke through the middle order. The only batsman who got into his elements was Moeen Ali. The left-hander had come in to replace Ben Stokes and attacked the bowlers from the word go.

Moeen’s innings was a delight. He charged down the ground to the spinners, reached the pitch of the ball and smashed them over the top. He also was ready to rock back and waited to pull them. His brisk 67 wasn’t enough for England though as they were bowled out for 206.

Rahane started off in fine style when he smashed James Anderson for four fours early in the innings. Dhawan too got into form as he picked his opportunities to score and went on to get to his half-century. It was complete domination. They charged to the spinners and lofted them quite easily. Rahane was criticised for not converting his starts and he came to the party in style on this occasion.

Dhawan and Rahane also put up the highest opening stand for India against England in England. They broke the record set by Sachin Tendulkar and Sourav Ganguly during the 2007 tour. Rahane got to his ton, but was soon dismissed. Dhawan then finished the game in no time as India sealed victory with 19.3 overs to spare.

India have thus clinched the series and would head into the last game, with an eye on a clean-sweep.

Brief scores:

England 206 in 49.3 overs (Joe Root 44, Eoin Morgan 32, Moeen Ali 67; Bhuvneshwar Kumar 2 for 14, Mohammed Shami 3 for 29, Ravindra Jadeja 2 for 40) lost to India. 212 for 1 in 30.3 overs (Ajinkya Rahane 106, Shikhar Dhawan 97*) by 9 wickets.

Man of the match: Ajinkya Rahane

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Complete coverage of India’s tour to England here

(Nishad Pai Vaidya is a Correspondent with CricketCountry and anchor for the site’s YouTube Channel. His Twitter handle is @nishad_44)