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India beat England by 6 wickets, take 4-0 lead

Monday, October 24, 2021

Mumbai: India rode on stroke-filled half centuries from Suresh Raina (80) and Virat Kohli (86) as they recovered from an early jolt to post a comfortable six-wicket victory over England and take 4-0 lead in the five-match ODI series on Sunday.

India rode on stroke-filled half centuries from Suresh Raina (80) and Virat Kohli (86) as they recovered from an early jolt to post a comfortable six-wicket victory over England and take 4-0 lead in the five-match ODI series. © AFP

Chasing England's modest total of 220 all out, Kohli and Raina combined well to put on a match-winning partnership of 131 in 113 balls to help India overhaul the target with 9.5 overs to spare at the Wankhede Stadium.

Returning to the Wankhede Stadium, the scene of their famous triumph in the World Cup final on April 2, Mahendra Singh Dhoni's men first put England on the mat with a clinically efficient bowling display after the visitors had gone off to a flying start of 39 in six overs.

The modest target set by England, who were dismissed in only 46.1 overs, was not stiff enough to test the batting strength of the home team who wobbled at 21 for 2 and then 46 for 3 before Raina and Kohli took the game away from the tourists.

Raina, who hit his 19th half ton in 129 games, departed at 171 but skipper Dhoni (15 not out) was cool as ever in the company of Kohli, who struck his 18th fifty in 68 ODIs, as the fifth wicket duo stitched an unconquered stand of 52 runs to pull India past the finish line in 40.1 overs.

The home team, thus, kept themselves in the hunt for a 5-0 clean sweep in the series with the final ODI scheduled at Kolkata on October 25.

It was, incidentally, the first-ever ODI victory for the hosts at this venue against England following defeats in the 1987 World Cup semi final and the 2001-02 bilateral series encounter.

Earlier, India dismissed England for a modest total 220 in 46.1 overs after the visiting team had started in a bright fashion after opting to bat first on a slow surface.

England were off to a flyer with opener Kieswetter making a brisk 29 in 18 balls with the help of two sixes and four fours before India applied the brakes and kept the visitors on a tight leash thereafter.

Spinners R Ashwin (3/38) and Ravindra Jadeja (2/41) shared five wickets while debutant pacer Varun Aaron (3/24) impressed with a haul of three wickets in the death overs, including that of innings highest scorer Tim Bresnan (45).

Praveen Kumar and Vinay Kumar took one wicket each.

India started the run-chase on a poor note by losing Parthiv Patel (8) and Gautam Gambhir (1) to pace bowler Steven Finn who sent back the duo in 8 balls spread over two overs.

Both the batsmen played across the line and paid the penalty. Parthiv was clean bowled while Gambhir dragged the ball on to the stumps to leave India at a difficult 21 for 2.

A brief partnership ensued between the confident Ajinkya Rahane (20) and Kohli with the latter starting off with two exquisite cover-driven fours, one each off rookie leg spinner Scott Borthwick and debutant pacer Stuart Meaker.

But he lost his partner to a superb diving catch by wicket keeper Craig Kieswetter who dived to his right to pluck the edge one handed to send back Rahane off Meaker.

Things looked bleak for India at 46 for 3 in the 14th over before the innings was brought back on track by Kohli and Raina who first steadied the boat before playing their shots.

Raina glided the ball through the vacant slips for four and then cover drove and glanced Bresnan for two more boundaries to raise the team 100 in the 23rd over. The left hander also chopped the ball over the in-field on occasions.

Kohli reached his 50 in 63 balls with a lucky boundary as his edge off Borthwick touched Kieswetter's glove and raced to the fence. Raina followed suit to reach his individual 50 in as many balls.

Raina raced to 80 from 50 with six fours in three overs before he lost his stumps in trying to cart Finn to the on-side.

But Dhoni's calm assurance in the company of Kohli, who hit the winning runs, put the lid on any hopes of England making a late comeback after Raina's dismissal.

Earlier, England failed to put together consistently big partnerships, the highest being 73 for the third wicket in 92 balls between Jonathan Trott (39) and Kevin Pietersen (41).

The two England openers had put on 39 in quick time when captain Alastair Cook was trapped leg before by Ashwin and Kieswetter was rapped in front of the wicket in the very first ball of the next over by Praveen.

Two wickets in two balls at the same score pushed England firmly on the back foot before Pietersen and Jonathan Trott started the repair work and at the end of 15 overs England were cruising along well with 81 on board.

The two batsmen appeared to have settled down well when Vinay Kumar came back for his second spell and removed Trott to leave the visitors at 112 for 3.

Ravi Bopara then joined Pietersen but both the batsmen could not pick Ashwin's variations and the scoring rate dropped down with the off spinner tying down both.

Ashwin then struck a major blow removing Pietersen, caught brilliantly on the midwicket fence by an airborne substitute fielder Manoj Tiwary.

Jadeja was then brought back for another stint and he justified his captain's faith by packing off Bopara and Jonathan Bairstow in successive overs to reduce the visitors to 145 for six in the 32nd over.

England took the batting power play after 35 overs at 162 for six but could not take advantage of it and also lost the wicket of Samit Patel in the 40th of the innings.

In the last ten overs, Bresnan gave the innings a late push as England added 28 runs losing three wickets, all to the pace of Aaron.