Joe Root and Eoin Morgan added 186 runs to the 4th wicket partnership © Getty Images
Joe Root and Eoin Morgan added 186 runs to the 4th wicket partnership © Getty Images

England made short work of the 257-run target set by India at Headingley, Leeds on Tuesday, thus taking the three-match ODI series 2-1 and stopped India’s series winning streak at nine. England reaffirmed their number one status in the limited-overs format with a clinical run chase that was led by Joe Root (100*) and skipper Eoin Morgan (88*) as England cantered home with eight wickets in hand and 33 balls to spare.

With the average score registered at Leeds in the last five years being 298, India’s task was cut out after they laboured to 256 for eight despite a solid start; and with Jonny Bairstow inflicting early damage with a 13-ball 30-run knock, England got the buffer they needed before the Indian spinners would take centerstage.

Virat Kohli would have liked for his spinners – Yuzvendra Chahal and Kuldeep Yadav – to come good, but that was not to be. Morgan and Root efficiently nullified that threat and part of the problem was both Kuldeep and Chahal failed to get their lengths right, often bowling too short for the captain’s liking. Both England batsmen were happy to hang back on the backfoot and watched the ball till the very end to keep the scorecard ticking. Interestingly, England’s Adil Rashid  was the best slow bowler on show from either side.

Bhuvneshwar Kumar (7-0-49-0) and Hardik Pandya (5.3-0-39-0) were taken for runs early on, and Shardul Thakur (10-0-51-1), with his predictable length, failed to make any substantial contribution barring the wicket of Baristow – half-volley on the pads straight to Raina at short mid-wicket. Kohli ran out of options and with not much on offer from the pitch, it was England’s game for the taking, which they took rather gleefully. Root and Morgan combined for an unbeaten 196-run stand for the third wicket.

For India, their middle-order faltered once again and the inconsistency and the lack of stability hurt the team. While the top-order did the job in the series opener, defeat in the second ODI raised a few uncomfortable questions and with another loss, more questions will be asked.

India conceded their early advantage losing three wickets in the middle overs for just 34 runs. Their trouble was further aggravated by a struggling MS Dhoni who made 42 off 66 deliveries when India would have hoped for a flourish. Dinesh Karthik, who came in for KL Rahul, and Pandya made 21 while Suresh Raina got out for one.

Earlier, notwithstanding the early departure of Rohit Sharma (2), opener Shikhar Dhawan and skipper Kohli laid a good platform for the batsmen to follow with a 71-run stand for the second wicket. Dhawan looked assured in the middle after playing out decent opening spells from Mark Wood and David Willey.

Dhawan (44) and Kohli then got the ball rolling with a breezy partnership that saw India go from 32 for 1 in the first 10 overs to 100 for 2 in 20. That India lost a wicket was down to a brilliant run-out from Ben Stokes from square leg. Dhawan was short of the non-striker’s crease after being sent back by Kohli.

Kohli motored along going past 3000 ODI runs as skipper – the fastest to do so in just 49 innings – but got out at the wrong time.

Rashid turned things in England’s favour with a double-wicket over that saw Kohli (71) beaten all ends up with a delivery that pitched on middle and leg and turned past the skipper – on the backfoot – to crash onto the stumps. Morgan got a leg slip for Raina and the UP batsman fell for the trap glancing one behind to Root. In the next over, Ali trapped Dhoni in front, but the wicket-keeper batsman survived courtesy a right DRS call.

But that reprieve, did little for India as Dhoni continued to struggle. India managed 41 runs in between overs 31 and 41, losing Pandya in the process. Ali finished with 10-0-47-0 while Rashid reaped 10-0-49-3. On the contrary, Chahal returned 10-0-41-0 while Kuldeep registered figures of 10-0-55-0.

This was India’s first bilateral series loss under Kohli.

Brief Scores: England 260/2 (Joe Root 100*, Eoin Morgan 88*; Shardul Thakur 1/51) beat India 256/8 (Virat Kohli 71, Shikhar Dhawan 44; Adil Rashid 3/49) by eight wickets.