SPORT

India comes out on top in truncated game

ON SONG: Virender Sehwag played as he is wont to on Thursday and helped India overcome an early stutter in its pursuit of making it three out of three in the ongoing one day series against England.

ON SONG: Virender Sehwag played as he is wont to on Thursday and helped India overcome an early stutter in its pursuit of making it three out of three in the ongoing one day series against England.   | Photo Credit: — Photo: K.R. Deepak

K.C. Vijaya Kumar

Dhoni’s men go 3-0 up after winning on D/L method; Bopara comes good as an opener

Kanpur: The light faded out on an England fightback as India won the third ODI of the seven-match series at the Green Park Stadium here on Thursday.

A desolate Andrew Flintoff walked back forlorn after his fiery spells (three for 31) failed to thwart India’s winning streak.

Chasing England’s 240, India had scored 198 for five in 40 overs when bad light had the last word with M.S. Dhoni’s men well ahead of the required score of 182 as stipulated by the Duckworth Lewis method.

India won by 16 runs with five wickets to spare and now leads the series 3-0.

Captain Dhoni (29) and Yusuf Pathan (12) were at the crease when victory was snatched after a nerve-wracking phase of coping with run-rates and Flintoff’s good spells.

Starting trouble

India’s chase struggled upfront as Gautam Gambhir tried to hustle Flintoff and the skip and slam effort swirled to third-man. Next man Suresh Raina fell to Stuart Broad and with India wobbling at 34 for two, Sehwag (68, 76b, 8x4, 1x6) refused to be overwhelmed.

Sehwag flat-batted Broad straight down the ground and heaved off-spinner Graeme Swann for a six and with Rohit Sharma (28), shared a 73-run third-wicket partnership that helped India tide past Flintoff’s first spell of 5-0-13-1.

Swann had Rohit caught on the cut and Yuvraj Singh walked in to a rousing reception from the crowd. Pietersen sensing Yuvraj’s tentativeness against spin, got in a slip and silly point.

Yuvraj, in the form of his life, just tapped his runs though Sehwag briefly silenced the crowd, slashing Flintoff and Paul Collingwood defied gravity at point.

Yuvraj (38) and Dhoni then shared a 52-run fifth-wicket partnership off 64 deliveries. Yuvraj swung Swann nice and clean over long-on and Dhoni, after a frozen start was light legs and flexing forearms.

But Flintoff running in like a typhoon had his brave-heart moment as Yuvraj pulled straight to Broad on the square-leg fence.

The light was fading but hope did not as Yusuf cracked two fours off Flintoff and the Indians stayed ahead of the Duckworth Lewis equation.

In the morning after the winter haze delaying the start by 45 minutes, Kevin Pietersen found his luck at the toss and opted to bat in a match reduced to 49 overs per side.

England re-jigged its batting order slotting Ravi Bopara as an opener while Pietersen moved to number three. Bopara survived a leg before appeal from Zaheer Khan and then flicked a four to restore parity in the first over.

Zaheer and Munaf found swing but no luck and Bopara (60, 82b, 8x4) and Bell (46) settled into their 79-run partnership. Bell charged at the seamers and unsettled Ishant Sharma, who replaced R.P. Singh in the Indian team, with drives on either side.

Bopara meanwhile drove Munaf and slashed Ishant, who struggled with his run-up and bowled five no-balls and six wides. England however lost Bell who nibbled at Munaf.

Pietersen jauntily walked in and slammed Yuvraj for six but when he tried to cart Harbhajan Singh, he sliced the ball high and the middle overs slipped into India’s grasp.

Slowing down

‘Man of the match’ Harbhajan then lured Paul Collingwood to reach for a ball that dipped and drifted for Dhoni to do the rest. On cue, Yuvraj did the same with Bopara and England slowed down at 133 for four in 28.5 overs. Flintoff (26) and Owais Shah (40) added sedate runs.

Later Harbhajan enjoyed his 200th wicket as Shah found Zaheer in the deep. Ishant then scalped Samit Patel and Matt Prior off successive deliveries and though the hat-trick was missed, the Indian bowlers had done enough to deflate Pietersen’s hopes of a huge total.

SCOREBOARD

England: R. Bopara st. Dhoni b Yuvraj 60, I. Bell c Dhoni b Munaf 46, K. Pietersen c Zaheer b Harbhajan 13, P. Collingwood st. Dhoni b Harbhajan 1, A. Flintoff lbw b Yusuf 26, O. Shah c Zaheer b Harbhajan 40, S. Patel c Raina b Ishant 26, M. Prior b Ishant 5, G. Swann (not out) 5, S. Broad c Dhoni b Zaheer 0, J. Anderson b Munaf 1; Extras (lb-3, w-9, nb-5): 17. Total (in 48.4 overs): 240.

Fall of wickets: 1-79, 2-102, 3-106, 4-133, 5-167, 6-203, 7-231, 8-231, 9-235.

India bowling: Zaheer 10-0-45-1, Munaf 6.4-0-36-2, Ishant 9-0-60-2, Yuvraj 10-0-54-1, Harbhajan 10-2-31-3, Yusuf 2-0-7-1, Sehwag 1-0-4-0.

India: G. Gambhir c Broad b Flintoff 14, V. Sehwag c Collingwood b Flintoff 68, S. Raina b Broad 1, Rohit Sharma c Prior b Swann 28, Yuvraj Singh c Broad b Flintoff 38, M.S. Dhoni (not out) 29, Yusuf Pathan (not out) 12; Extras (lb-5, w-3): 8; Total (for five wkts. in 40 overs): 198.

Fall of wickets: 1-31, 2-34, 3-107, 4-125, 5-177.

England bowling: Anderson 6-0-47-0, Broad 9-2-36-1, Flintoff 9-0-31-3, Swann 10-0-47-1, Samit 3-0-18-0, Pietersen 3-0-14-0.

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