Raina, Rohit star as India seal series
MOHALI: India clinched the one-day International series against England as the hosts rode on the batting heroics of Rohit Sharma (83) and Suresh Raina (89 not out) to fashion a comfortable five-wicket victory in the penultimate game to take an unassailable 3-1 lead here on Wednesday.
The Indians first restricted the visitors to 257-7 and then overcame some anxious moments before overhauling the target with 15 balls to spare in a floodlit contest played in cold conditions at the PCA Stadium.
India held their nerve during the run chase and it was ultimately Raina who guided the team home. His unbeaten 89 came off just 79 balls and included nine boundaries and one six. It was a creditable series victory for Mahendra Singh Dhoni and his men who had come under fire for indifferent performances in recent times, which saw the team lose the Test series to England and the ODI series defeat against Pakistan.
It was Rohit Sharma who turned the spotlight on himself as he grabbed with both hands an unexpected opportunity to feature as an opener
in place of Ajinkya Rahane.
Earlier, put into bat, England lost three wickets in quick succession in the middle of the innings after a reasonably good start but young Joe Root unleashed a stunning counter-attack to steer the total past the 250-run mark.
The unheralded 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. 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.
England scored as many as 100 runs in the last 10 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. Jadeja was the pick of the Indian bowlers with three for 39 while Ishant Sharma and Ravichandran Ashwin were the other wicket-takers.—Agencies