India's three-wicket loss to England cost them the spot in the final of the ODI Tri-series. Although India were bowled out for 200, the target proved to be competitive given the dual nature of the pitch. After Mohit Sharma set the ball rolling with the wicket of Ian Bell with just 14 runs on the board, Stuart Binny claimed three to leave the opposition on 66/5. But, James Taylor (82) and Jos Buttler (67) forged a 125-run stand to salvage the game for England. Although both departed with victory in sight, Chris Woakes and Stuart Broad took the side across the line with 19 balls to spare.
Ajinkya Rahane and Shikhar Dhawan had earlier batted determinedly to a lay a stable platform for India with an 83-run opening stand. But with the end of the 83-run opening stand it went downhill for the men in blue as wickets fell at regular intervals to the disciplined bowling by the English bowlers.
James Anderson had set the tone with a tight first spell which read 6-1-10-0 and was complemented by Woakes in tying them down after Eoin Morgan opted to field. Although runs were hard to come by, Rahane and Dhawan had negotiated the new ball and the bounce stealthily to stitch a partnership. While Rahane, playing watchfully found his niche, Dhawan too strove to stay his ground. Although there were a couple of nervous moments as the pair ran some risky singles, the pair overcame the initial hurdles to get India off to a good start.
Broad and Steven Finn too bowled a tight line and continued to build on the pressure put by Anderson. Having bided his time at the crease, Rahane patiently garnered runs as he looked to anchor and build the innings which wasn’t a batsman’s paradise. His first boundary came as late as the tenth over when he cut Broad to the fence. Dhawan at the other end too toiled to graft runs but his knock was eventually ended by Woakes in the 21st over for 38. Back for his second spell, the pacer took the bottom edge of Dhawan’s bat through to the wicketkeeper as the opener looked to cut, while Buttler took a low catch to give England their first breakthrough.
Virat Kohli, who then came in to bat at No 3, departed hitting Moeen Ali straight to Joe Root at long-off after adding eight runs to the total.
Rahane, who had meanwhile reached his fifty with a single down the leg side off Woakes was joined in the middle by Suresh Raina. But in the off-spinner’s next over, the left-hand bat edged him to Woakes at backward point leaving India on 107/3.
Ambati Rayudu who then came to the crease lived dangerously as he scrambled for singles and was beaten by Broad’s perfect line on a couple of occasions before falling to the pacer. He departed nicking the Broad to Buttler for 12.
Two runs later, Rahane who had patiently held the innings together edged Finn to the wicketkeeper and walked back for 73 leaving India struggling on 136/5.
Binny who then joined the India captain in the middle, was Finn’s next wicket. A brilliant catch by Bell diving to his right at first slip accounted for the batsman. India’s woes continued as 12 runs later MS Dhoni was out lbw to James Anderson bringing to end a gritty 32-ball 17-run knock. In the following over, Ravindra Jadeja taking the aerial route departed handing a simple catch to mid-off. And Axar Patel edged Finn to Bell leaving India on 165/9 with over five overs left in the innings.
Mohammed Shami who then joined Mohit in the middle swung his bat round to help India to the 200-run mark which had seemed distant when he came to the crease. He slammed 25 off 18 balls (3x4, 1x6) before Woakes forced an edge through to Buttler to wrap up the Indian innings with 11 balls still remaining.
Defending the total, Mohit gave India a vital breakthrough with the wicket of Bell in the fourth over. With a cross seam delivery he had the opener trapped leg-before for 10. And Patel then claimed the wicket of the other opener 12 runs later. Looking to play a lofted shot, Ali holed out to mid-off and Rayudu took an excellent catch to leave England on 40/2. Stuart Binny then followed up with the wicket of Joe Root. The medium-pacer held on to a return catch in his follow through to keep India in the reckoning.
Runs were at a premium at the WACA which tested the batsman’s patience with its uneven bounce. England captain Morgan then joined Taylor as the side looked keep themselves in the fray, but lasted for 13 balls before hitting Binny to mid-on. The bowler then accounted for Ravi Bopara in his next. Bowling a tight line the all-rounder kept India in the game.
With the team reeling on 66/5 Buttler then joined Taylor in an effort to revive the innings. The wicket-keeper batsman lived dangerously as Taylor aided the middle-order bat in building the innings.
Taylor who had played maturely to hold up one end, grafted runs to keep his side in the fray and in the process reached brought up a carefully compiled half-century. Buttler at the other end found the odd boundary to keep the scoreboard ticking. He too reached his fifty with a boundary over mid-on as the partnership began to take shape.
Scoring steadily the pair closed in on the target but with ten runs required to win Taylor holed out to fine-leg. And Buttler struck Shami to Rayudu at deep cover in the next. However, the fall of two quick wickets was a little too late for India as Woakes and Broad scored the remaining eight runs with ease.
Man of the match: James Taylor for his match-winning knock
India 200 all out in 48.1 overs (A Rahane 73, S Finn 3/36, M Ali 2/35) lost to England 201/7 in 46.5 overs (J Taylor 82, J Buttler 67, S Binny 3/33) by three wickets.