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India cruise to 5-wicket win to wrap up the series 3-1

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India wrapped up their one day series against England 3-1 with a game to spare as they completed a comfortable 5-wicket win in game 4 in Mohali on Wednesday. Batting first on a strip that offered plenty to the seamers, England did well to post a competitive total of 257-7 on the back of half-centuries from Alastair Cook (76), Kevin Pietersen (76) and rookie Joe Root (57*). However, a pair of eighties from the returning Rohit Sharma (83) and a very much staple Suresh Raina (89*) saw India register a routine win as the wicket got a lot better for batting as the day progressed.

The India - England cricket carnival made its way to cold Mohali for the fourth ODI of the series on Wednesday with a rare green tinged top greeting the teams. It was definitely a bowl first kind of a wicket and it surprised no one that Skipper MS Dhoni decided to take that course of action on winning the toss. There was a change apiece for both teams with Joss Buttler taking over the gloves from the out of form Craig Kieswetter for England, while India predictably dropped Ajinkya Rahane after a series of poor scores, but shockingly brought in Rohit Sharma and not Cheteshwar Pujara as his replacement.

There was something in the wicket for the Indian seamers, and England's openers saw out the early period, snailing their way to 12-0 from the first 5 overs. Alastair Cook doubled that score by helping himself to three boundaries in Shami Ahmed's third over, as a result hitting the Bengal seamer out of the attack.

Ishant Sharma replaced Ahmed and struck in his second over, sending back Ian Bell for 10 (25b). That short burst from Cook aside, England struggled to slow runs on a sluggish pitch, meandering to 53-1 in the first 15 overs.

The spreading of the field and some ordinary bowling by Ravichandran Ashwin helped England up the ante slightly. The visitors looked to be on course to recovering when Alastair Cook got a shocking decision, given out leg before yet again. He had contributed 76 to England's cause when Ashwin was gifted a wicket on a ball that clearly pitched outside the leg stump.

England lost their way after Cook's departure with Eoin Morgan (3) and Samit Patel (1) falling in quick succession to Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja respectively. India should have had another, but Joe Root was dropped in the slips by Virat Kohli off Ishant Sharma.

Pietersen and Root resurrected England's innings, adding 78 for the 5th wicket in a little over 9 overs as the Indian bowlers came in for some late stick. Sharma kept India in the hunt by bowling Pietersen for 76, an excellent recovery from the England no.3, who had looked at sixes and sevens earlier on.

Root benefited from Suresh Raina dropping a rare catch to post an unbeaten 57 from 45 balls. England made the most of having a well set batsman in the slog overs as they posted an impressive 257-7 in their 50 overs, a challenging total on a tough pitch.

India's task got a little tougher when Gautam Gambhir was adjudged to have nicked the ball through to the keeper off Tim Bresnan, much to his horror. Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli survived some early chances with the former being put down by Kevin Pietersen, a tough chance, while the latter top edged a pull which saw the keeper and fine leg stare at each other from a distance of a yard instead of diving for the ball.

Sharma and Kohli recovered from their early woes to add 52 for the second wicket before the latter gifted James Tredwell an easy caught and bowled in his first over as India's woes against off-spin continued. At the end of 18 overs, India were still the narrow favourites, having made their way to 74-2.

Local boy Yuvraj Singh came in at no.4, and continued his struggle for form. The tall left-hander made a painstaking 3 from 16 balls before falling to James Tredwell once again, trapped leg before.

With India in desperate need of a partnership, Suresh Raina came out to join Rohit Sharma in the middle. The duo played some attacking cricket, adding 50 from just 37 balls, taking the game to England. Sharma looked good for a century on his comeback, but was trapped leg before for 83 by the returning Steve Finn on the first ball of his new ball.

India had caught up to the required run rate though, and some sensible cricket from there on out would see them comfortably home. Raina was handed a reprieve when he was caught in the slips off Finn, only for the ball to be declared 'dead' with the bowler's back leg having brushed the wicket at the non-striker's end. Alastair Cook protested vehemently that it was Finn's first offence and at best worthy of a warning, but Umpire Steve Davis disagreed.

Raina brought up his half century shortly after, getting to the landmark off just 46 balls, and with Dhoni keeping the left-hander company, this was India's game to lose.

India lost Dhoni in the 40th over for 19 to a rank long hop from Jade Dernbach which he could have quite literally deposited anywhere, but that minor deterrent aside cruised towards an easy win with 15 balls to spare.

Ravindra Jadeja chipped in with a handy 21 from 27 balls, but it was Suresh Raina who led his side to a morale boosting series win with an unbeaten 89 from just 79 balls. England were left to rue missing out on Raina's wicket due to Finn's delivery being declared a dead ball, an outcome which could have potentially changed the result.

Rohit Sharma justified his selection at the top of the order on a wicket and against an attack that was generally suited to his style of play. He will need to guard against complacency though if he is to keep his place in the side.

The final stop on England's tour of India will be the pristine township of Dharamshala where England will attempt to regain some pride on Sunday.


England: Alastair Cook (c), Ian Bell, Kevin Pietersen, Joe Root, Eoin Morgan, Jos Buttler (wk), Samit Patel, Tim Bresnan, James Tredwell, Jade Dernbach, Steven Finn.

India: Gautam Gambhir, Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli, Yuvraj Singh, Suresh Raina, MS Dhoni (c & wk), Ravindra Jadeja, R Ashwin, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Ishant Sharma, Shami Ahmed.

Mini Scorecard:

England 257-7 (50 overs, 5.14rpo)

A Cook 76 (106) R Jadeja 3-39

K Pietersen 76 (93) I Sharma 2-47

India 258-5 (47.3 overs, 5.29rpo)

R Sharma 83 (93) J Tredwell 2-54

S Raina 89* (79) S Finn 1-39

India win by 5 wickets with 15 balls to spare