With a thumping 133-run win over England in the second ODI, India took a 1-0 lead in the five-match ODI series. Suresh Raina propelled India to 304/6 with a sparkling century to setup the match for the visitors. Building on the 91-run platform laid by Rohit Sharma and Ajinkya Rahane after Chris Woakes had left India on 19/2, Raina put India in a commanding position with a 144-run stand with MS Dhoni. (Also Read: Stats Highlights: England vs India, 2nd ODI)
However, with rain making an appearance and delaying the start of the England innings, the hosts’ target was revised to 295 runs of 47 overs. Although the Indian bowlers conceded runs early on, Mohammed Shami applied the break on the England innings by removing Alastair Cook for 19 with England having registered 54 runs on the board. India then struck at regular intervals, never letting the hosts get back into the game as they pushed towards victory.
Under the grey skies at Cardiff, India bowled England out for 161 to claim a comprehensive win. England ultimately crumbled to the spin trio of Ravindra Jadeja, R Ashwin and Suresh Raina with Jadeja finishing with 4 wickets in the game.
Earlier, India got off to a shaky start after being asked to bat by Alastair Cook. After two maiden overs, the first run on the Indian scoreboard came off a wide from James Anderson. And on the last ball of the over, Rohit opened his account with a boundary over mid-on. Shikhar Dhawan looked tentative and the pair struggled between the wickets as Anderson and Chris Woakes added to India’s woes. Making optimal use of the seaming conditions, the new-ball bowling pair kept the Indian batsmen on their toes. The left-hand opener’s uncomfortable stay ended with Woakes inducing an edge of his bat to the wicketkeeper. Two balls later, Virat Kohli hit Woakes straight to Cook at mid-off to return for a duck leaving India in a precarious position.
However, Ajinkya Rahane and Rohit Sharma rebuilt the innings with a well compiled partnership. Having bided his time at the crease, Rohit gained in confidence as he found the middle of the bat to find the gaps on the field easily. Meanwhile Rahane looked confident at the other end and timed the ball superbly. The pair settled into a rhythm as they gleaned runs off the attack and seized the momentum from the hosts.
However, there was a brief interruption in the smooth flow of runs when Tredwell ended the partnership. Rahane’s otherwise flawless knock came to a disappointing end as the batsman was stumped nine runs short of fifty. 22 runs later, Sharma departed mis-hitting the spinner to long-off after reaching a hard earned half-century.
Suresh Raina then ensured that he took the attack to the England bowlers as he began to weave a game-changing partnership with Indian skipper – MS Dhoni. After four quiet overs, he set the tone by clobbering Woakes for 20 runs in an over with two sixes. After hitting the fast bowler straight over his head for six, Raina didn’t look back. As has been the trademark of their partnerships, the pair snatched singles and twos while Dhoni ensured the left-hand batsman got the maximum strike. England’s ace pacer, Anderson too wasn’t spared by an on song Raina who smashed him for three consecutive fours in an over. Raina who was finding the fence with ease reached his first century outside the sub-continent off just 74 balls with a single to long-on. However in the next over, the glorious knock came to end with Raina taking the aerial route only to find Anderson at deep cover. In his next over, Woakes bowled Dhoni to send the India captain back for 52.
Ravindra Jadeja and Ravichandran Ashwin then added 16 off 9 balls to take India to 304.
With the threat of rain looming over the match, Cook and debutant Alex Hales got the home team off to a good start and were progressing steadily until the Cook was adjudged lbw off Shami. The pacer then hit the top of Ian Bell’s off-stump and dislodged the bails to send him back later in the over. Two overs later, Bhuvneshwar Kumar knocked Joe Root’s middle-stump with an in-swinger to leave the hosts on 63/3.
Hales, the dominant partner in the opening partnership, who had been scoring at a quick pace, was slowed down by the fall of wickets with the Indian bowlers bowling a probing line. Running in hard, Shami and Bhuvneshwar also dried up the flow of runs and pegged England back.
Meanwhile Hales who had scrapped his way forward to 40, top-edged Jadeja towards long leg as Ashwin took the catch. At 81/4, Joss Buttler joined Eoin Morgan in the middle. In his next over, the left-arm spinner accounted for Buttler to keep India in the driver’s seat. It was Ben Stokes’ turn to join Morgan in an attempt to salvage England’s innings.
While the pair battled under the intermittent drizzle to stay in the game, Morgan’s sweep off Ashwin was caught by Shami to end the stand for 34. Couple of overs later, Stokes perished taking the aerial route over deep mid-wicket with Rahane taking a well judged catch near the fence. Raina then had Chris Jordon lbw in the next. Woakes didn’t last long either as Jadeja had him stumped in the next over to take India within a wicket of victory. Ashwin then sent back Tredwell 18 runs later to kick off the ODI series with a win.
Man of the Match: Suresh Raina for his match-winning century
India 304 for 6 (Raina 100, Dhoni 52, Rohit 52, Woakes 4-52) beat England 161 (Jadeja 4-28) by 133 runs
MS Dhoni: "Our fans love ODI cricket! It's a very different format, and it gives the players freedom to express themselves. I think it's a good format to come back into form. The start is always crucial, and not losing too many wickets was good. It's always important to get off to a good start in an innings, and Dhawan and Rohit did that for us. I was very happy with the way our spinners bowled."
Alastair Cook: "We didn't play very well at all today. Credit to the partnership between Dhoni and Raina, they took the game away from us, but it wasn't a 160 wicket. To be honest, we didn't turn up in any of the departments."
Suresh Raina: "The wicket was really good. I thought if I batted until 45th over we could put a target on the board. I've seen a lot of the Test matches, I was looking forward to this game. I've worked really hard on my batting and fitness."