England makes a clean sweep
England prevailed yet again. India’s bleak tour stumbled to its lowest point when England won the fifth and final match of the NatWest Series at the Sophia Gardens here on Friday. England won by six wickets and blanked India 3-0 in the series.". This was India’s eighth loss to England on this tour inclusive of four Tests, lone Twenty20 and three ODIS.
India posted 304 for six in 50 overs and England had to re-orient itself to three revised targets thanks to the rain. First it was scaled down to 295 from 47 overs and then it became 270 from 40 overs and finally it was pegged at 241 from 34 overs once the skies opened up after India had bowled 9.1 overs. England scored 241 for four in 32.2 overs.
Prior to the resumption of play, England lost the aggressive Craig Kieswetter after R. Vinay Kumar darted one back. The opener had constantly flicked fours off his toes but the same shot undid him against the Indian seamer, who replaced an injured Praveen Kumar in the playing eleven. Skipper Alastair Cook (50, 54b, 5x4) and Jonathan Trott (63, 60b, 3x4) then chugged along. Trott clouted a six off Munaf Patel but the rain returned and forced another revision in target.
When the match resumed, there was a touch of drama as Parthiv Patel `caught’ Trott off Munaf and exultantly threw the ball up. Trott had begun to walk away when Cook alerted him that a `no-ball’ had been called and England continued its pursuit. Cook and Trott raised 79 runs for the second wicket before Virat Kohli stepped in and broke the partnership.
Cook, dropped by Rahul Dravid of the previous ball, took a mighty heave against Kohli and lost his timber. England stayed in the hunt though as Trott and Ian Bell bludgeoned a few meaty blows especially in a Ravindra Jadeja over that went for 21 runs. India chimed back into the game when R.P. Singh and Jadeja lured ambitious but fatal shots from Bell and Trott.
There were no further alarms for the host as Ravi Bopara and specifically debutant Jonathan Bairstow (41 n.o., 21b, 1x4, 3x6) played a flurry of big hits as the batting Power Play (overs 29 – 31) went for 42 runs. The Indian shoulders slumped and with a bowling attack further weakened by an injured Munaf leaving the field, the contest was well and truly over.