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 here today.
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, Bhuvneshawr 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.
The last two overs cost India 38 runs and with it the match in the final analysis. India commenced the stiff run-chase, having earlier made a winning score of 325 for 5 against the West Indies in November, 2002 at Ahmedabad – their highest at home - on a very sound note.
Openers Gambhir and Rahane batting confidently against the pace bowlers to rattle up quick runs before both perished to off spinner Tredwell in successive overs.
Both batsmen played the flick, glance and slash well to gather runs at a fast clip and Gambhir even struck fast bowler Steven Finn for three successive fours in the latter’s third over in which the English bowler conceded 17 runs.
The 50 was raised in the 7th over before there was a minor scare when Gambhir narrowly made it home after sprinting for a second run to deep square leg.
But the advent of double off-spin in the form of Tredwell and Joe Root brought down the run-rate a bit and in their eagerness to up the tempo both openers fell.
Rahane was the first to go when he failed to reach the pitch of the ball after stepping out to Tredwell and lofted a catch to long off to the 57th ball he faced.
Tredwell sent back Gambhir soon after the left handed batsman had surged to his half century and the Indian 100 had come through a catch at short mid wicket when the batsman flicked the off-spinner.
From 96 for no loss, things became tougher for the hosts at 102 for 2 in the 19th over and at the end of the 20th India were 104 for 2, eight runs off their rivals’ score at the same stage. By the halfway stage, the difference was nine in favour of England.
Courtesy: Deccan Herald