India lost the last ODI of the five-match bilateral series by 41 runs at Leeds. Put in to bat at Headingley, England put up an improved performance, courtesy a diligently complied century by Joe Root to set India a challenging target. A 108-run partnership between the middle-order batsman and Joss Buttler gave the hosts the necessary boost to post 294/7 in fifty overs. The Indian batsmen were then kept on a tight leash by the English bowlers. They lost Ajinkya Rahane without a run on board and were left struggling on 49/3 at the end of 14 overs. The visitors couldn’t recover from the early blows and continued to lose wickets at regular intervals and were bowled out for 253 with eight balls to spare. (Also Read: Stats Highlights: England vs India, 5th ODI)
Earlier, England’s brisk start showed positive intent after losing the toss once again. The opening stand was however halted for 23 by Umesh Yadav in the fourth over of the day. Replacing Dhawal Kulkarni in the team, the fast bowler opened the bowling with Bhuvneshwar Kumar and was top-edged by Alex Hales to Rahane at mid-wicket. 16 runs later, Moeen Ali who was promoted to No 3 after his performance in the fourth ODI, departed for nine. Looking to hit the pacer over extra cover, he was caught by Yadav off Bhuvneshwar as the ball took the outside edge of the bat and flew to third-man. (Also Read: Skipper MS Dhoni lists positives from England series and points out areas that need improvement)
The England captain meanwhile was finding his nick and had formed an alliance with Root who is developing a reputation as one of the most reliable batsman in the England line-up. The pair had added 52 for the fourth wicket when Alastair Cook departed four runs short of his half-century. Having trudged on for 64 balls, he top-edged Suresh Raina high in the air while looking to sweep the spinner and MS Dhoni comfortably took the catch.
The spinners ebbed the flow of runs from both ends as India looked to build on the pressure when Eoin Morgan joined Root at the crease. And with England on 117 for three, Ravichandran Ashwin delivered the wicket of Morgan. The middle-order batsman stretching outside his crease to score off the off-spinner was stumped.
Root continued to play a mature knock and soon brought up a fifty with a flick to mid-wicket. He found the perfect partner in Buttler who took on the bowling fearlessly.
Buttler unleashed himself in the powerplay to seize the momentum from India. He slammed Yadav over mid-off for four and followed it by clearing the ropes. Ravindra Jadeja and Ashwin too met with similar fate at the hands of the batsman. He claimed 15 runs off Ashwin in an over to enter the 40s and was racing to his fifty having upped the hosts run-rate. Root too joined in the fireworks as he dismissed Jadeja over the ropes. However, the flourishing partnership came to a disappointing end with Buttler returning to the pavilion for 49. Drawing an appeal for lbw after reverse sweeping Jadeja, the batsman looked to squeeze in a single but was run out.
With Ben Stokes for company, Root brought up his century a bit later with a six over mid-wicket, followed by a boundary and six over long off. However in the next over, he hit Shami to short fine-leg and departed for 113.
In his next over Shami yorked Chris Woakes but James Tredwell and Stokes added 29 off 15 balls to take England to a healthy total.
In reply, James Anderson sent back India’s man-in-form, Ajinkya Rahane of the third ball of the innings to leave the visitor’s on 0/1.
The pacer then induced an outside edge off Virat Kohli and a low catch by Cook to his right at first slip which left India on 25/2.
Shikhar Dhawan who was then working to build a partnership with Ambati Rayudu slog swept Ali for six as they looked to take the innings forward. But two balls later he lost his stumps to the spinner. He was replaced by another left-hand batsman, Suresh Raina in the middle to steady the wobbly innings. With the pressure of the climbing required run-rate, Rayudu looking to accelerate took the aerial route and survived as he was dropped by Woakes off Steven Finn. A ball later, Raina too received a life in the slips.
The pair stringed together a 42-run partnership and just as they looked to score off the England spinners freely, Raina looking to cut Ali was caught by the wicketkeeper for 18.
With his team floundering for the first time in the ODI series, the India captain came out to bat. With Rayudu, he steadily kept the scoreboard moving. Building on the life he had received, the middle-order bat brought up his fifty as he fought to keep India in the game. But, after adding just three runs to his half-century, Rayudu was removed by Stokes for 53. With another blossoming partnership ended, Jadeja joined his captain with the team in trouble.
The pair chipped away at the target until an excellent catch by Stokes at cover saw Dhoni return for 29. With the asking rate crawling up steadily, India lost Ashwin for 16. Looking to accelerate, the lower-order batsman’s miscued hit off Stokes was caught by Finn.
With an improbable task lying ahead, Bhuvneshwar Kumar was run out an over later and Shami followed him back for a naught. Ravindra Jadeja entertained with big-hits in the last wicket stand en route to his highest ODI score though it was too late to turn things around for India. The fireworks ended with the left-hand batsman being bowled for 87 by Finn to bring curtains down on the game and series.
England won by 41 runs
England 294 for 7 (Root 113, Buttler 49) beat India 253 (Jadeja 87, Rayudu 53, Stokes 3-47) by 41 runs
Man of the Match : Joe Root for his match-winning 113
Man of the series : Suresh Raina for his all-round performance
Joe Root is named Man of the Match: "Great to play at your home ground, the crowd have been exceptional and good to get a win. Tough to start with, then the conditions got a bit easier, good to take it on. I tried not to think too much and play on instinct. We knew it would spin, spoke to the guys who'd played county one-day cricket here, nice to see what we worked on go well, that's a positive. I enjoy playing with Jos and the way he played kickstarted the back end of our innings."
Suresh Raina is named Man of the Series: "It was good, I've worked hard on my batting, watching the Tests on TV. We got the belief in the one-dayers. I worked hard on the mental side and my fitness. Looking to bat positive, the circumstances and who you are batting with. The World Cup is around the corner, we need to stay positive. We've worked hard on our game and this group has won us the series. The fielding creates a positive environment in the circle and that has been important."
England captain Alastair Cook: "That's a far better performance, and that's what we can play like. It's frustrating not to play like that before. Joe showed what he can do and that's what we've been missing in our batting. We've got a lot of 20s and 30s, the first time a guy goes on and gets a hundred we have a better chance. You saw how hard it was to chase down 300. We just played better, we didn't want to lose 4-0. It's frustrating... In the first game, we were 50 for 0 off nine overs, but we needed to build more big partnerships. They were two down by the first ten and we were ahead of the game. This is the first time we've got a massive chunk of one-day cricket and we can focus on that. We've got a bit of a break, then Sri Lanka, batting against spin, then the tri-series in Australia. So preparation will be perfect and hopefully we can improve and show it at the World Cup."
India captain MS Dhoni: "Should be fine, bit of precaution with some icing [on his hand]. We gave away too many wickets, quite a lot of soft dismissals, and because of that we were not able to chase the runs. Shikhar, Ambati, myself, we should not have lost those wickets, in the last ten overs we can get those runs but we lost soft dismissals. I think 300 was a par score on that pitch. It may have been [a case of foot off the gas], it's something that's happened in the past, in four-, five-game series. We need to improve our slog, the last ten overs with the bowling, Shami has done a good job but other fast bowlers need to step up. We don't want to concede so many we can't chase them down. The most difficult thing [is keeping everyone fit], this England tour has been 77 days, then we go to Australia before the World Cup, so it will be important to stay fresh."