India sailed to a comprehensive six-wicket win in the third ODI against England to take a 2-0 lead in the five-match series. The England batsmen caved in to the Indian spinners thus frittering away the diligently complied start after being asked to bat by MS Dhoni. In the space of 67 runs, they lost six wickets after Suresh Raina ended the openings stand for 82 runs. Brilliant fielding further helped curb the flow of runs and keep the opposition under pressure. However, a gritty 42 by Joss Buttler and a cameo by James Tredwell (30 off 18) helped England set India a 228-run target before being bowled out of the last delivery of the innings. (Also Read: Stats Highlights: England vs India, 3rd ODI)
Opening the innings for India, Ajinkya Rahane set the tone for the chase with an exquisite 45-run knock. Remaining unbeaten on 64 Ambati Rayudu then took India to the target with 42 balls to spare.
Earlier, steadily harvesting runs off the pacers, Alastair Cook and Alex Hales had laid a solid foundation for a healthy total and looked set for half-centuries. The circumspect England captain too swung his bat to claim boundaries when presented the opportunity as both openers reached their forties. England looked in control as the Indian pacers didn’t pose problems to the batsmen and to add to the visitors’ woes, Mohit Sharma limped off the field in the 11th over.
However, the fortunes soon turned in India’s favour when the Man of the Match of the second ODI, Suresh Raina was introduced into the attack. Hales looking to sweep, only managed to top-edge Raina to the wicketkeeper. Two overs later, Cook coming down the track to hit Ambati Rayudu found his bails flicked off by MS Dhoni giving the part-time spinner his maiden ODI wicket.
The England batsmen were at sea against the spinners and Dhoni applied pressure with spin from both ends. Close leg-before appeals, live-wire fielding and spinners tied down the English batsmen. Ravindra Jadeja was the next to bag a wicket. Drawn out by the left-arm spinner, Joe Root was stumped for two.
Eoin Morgan then joined Ian Bell in an attempt to stabilise the tottering innings. But 23 runs later, Ravichandran Ashwin reintroduced into the attack induced an edge off Morgan to push the home team further back.
The England run-rate dropped to below four runs per over as the England batsmen struggled to garner runs. A direct hit from Mohit Sharma from deep extra cover to the non-striker’s end sent Bell back to the pavilion leaving England on 138/5.
Ben Stokes followed him back to the dressing room; courtesy a brilliant low one-handed catch by Raina as the left-hand batsman nicked Ashwin to the lone slip.
It was then up to Joss Buttler to keep the England innings afloat. However, 33-runs later Chris Woakes left his company. The lower-order bat hit a short ball from Mohammed Shami to Sharma near the deep square leg fence bringing James Tredwell to the crease. A while later, Buttler’s resistance was ended by Ashwin. The off-spinner bowling the off-stump line claimed the batsman’s off-stump.
But, Tredwell who had already slammed two boundaries off Shami, took the attack to the bowlers with Steven Finn. The pair milked runs off the last over before Tredwell was done in by a slower ball from Bhuvneshwar Kumar. Steven Finn was run-out off the last ball as England finished with 227 runs on the board.
With Rohit Sharma out of the series due to a finger injury, Ajinkya Rahane then came out to open the innings with Shikhar Dhawan. After biding his time at the crease, the left-hand opener struck Woakes to Morgan at point to depart for 16.
With India at 35/1, Virat Kohli took guard opposite Rahane who was striking the ball with finesse. Back at the top of the order he continued to score with ease on either side of the wicket. Kohli who hasn’t been amongst runs lofted Tredwell in front of the wicket for six as India looked to chase the total in clinical fashion. Rahane, meanwhile entertained with his well-timed strokes, finding the boundary through the gaps as he kept the scoreboard moving. He whacked Stokes over the bowler’s head for six to enter the 40s. However, while on 45 he edged Finn to the keeper and missed out on a bigger score once again.
Rayudu who had replaced Rohit in the team then joined Kohli to take the innings forward. But an unhurried 35-run stand later, Kohli chipped the ball to mid-on and departed after scoring 40.
Raina then came to the crease and kept the scoreboard ticking as he gleaned runs with ease and kept the team on course. The fourth wicket partnership blunted the England attack as they charged towards the target at a steady pace.
Rayudu then played some cheeky shots, an uppercut to Finn helped him reach a half century. With 21 runs still needed, Raina was caught at mid-wicket for 42 ending the fourth wicket partnership for 87. However Ravindra Jadeja and Rayudu took India to an easy victory.
Man of the Match: Ravichandran Ashwin for his three-wickets to help set-up the game in India's favour
India 228 for 4 (Rayudu 64*) beat England 227 (Cook 44, Ashwin 3-39) by six wickets
MS Dhoni: "The spinners did it for us today. Raina's contribution today with the ball was very important and he was the one to get the crucial first break through. Rayudu impressed and has done much to secure his place in the side. We were surprised it turned so much today but we are very happy with the win"
Alastair Cook: "We didn't play well even though we got a good start. We are not doing things right during the middle overs and we have got to keep trying to improve against spin. We did not expect the pitch to spin as much as it did but we have to be able to adjust to the conditions"
Ravichandran Ashwin: "The downtime gave me some time to work on my bowling. I thought the wicket had some bounce, it was good to bowl on. Me and Jaddu have a good record against England which is a real help. I thought it [Raina's catch] was going for four but he plucked it out."
And that just about wraps things up for today. India how can't lose this series and will aim to secure it at Edgbaston on Tuesday. We'll bring you the action from there. For now, though, from Dev and Gnasher it's goodbye and thanks for joining us.