Sunday, 23 October 2011

Kohli steers India to a convincing win

Kohli steers India to a convincing win

Last updated on: October 23, 2011 21:50

When Team India [ Images ] last played at the Wankhede stadium they made history. In April this year, MS Dhoni [ Images ] had led the team to a memorable World Cup triumph, thereby ending a 28-year long wait for a nation that breathes cricket.
There was no history made on this occasion.
- Scorecard
As the captain returned with his team to the venue on Sunday, for the first time since that famous result, he was aware this match had little significance.
Team India had already pocketed the series against England [ Images ], courtesy a thrilling win at Mohali and that result had robbed this match off its sheen. Yes, the home team needed a win to remain on track for a 5-0 whitewash. Yet if even that happens (which now seems likely) it would have been anything but history considering India had blanked England the last time they toured in 2008.
It is to their credit though that Team India didn't let complacency creep in and completed a clinical six-wicket win, one that put them 4-0 up in the five-match series.
Chasing a modest 221 to win, the home team raced home with a whopping 59 balls to spare. Virat Kohli [ Images ] (86 not out) and Suresh Raina [ Images ] (80) put on 131 runs for the fourth wicket to seal England's fate.
Steven Finn was the pick of England bowlers with figures of three for 45. In the final analysis though England never had enough runs on the board.
Earlier, a memorable debut by Varun Aaron helped India dismiss England for a paltry 220. Electing to bat first having won the toss, the visitors failed to last their stipulated quota of overs, getting bowled out in 46.1 overs.
Tim Bresnan [ Images ] top scored with a run-a-ball 45, his innings inclusive of six hits to the fence, and was the last batsman dismissed, a 141kph ball from Aaron clipping his bails.
The highly rated speedster impressed with figures of three for 24 (in 6.1 overs). R Ashiwn (three for 38) and Ravindra Jadeja [ Images ] (two for 41) also shone with the ball as England's tale of woes on this tour continued unabated.
England innings:
It took 14 balls before the first runs came up in the English scoreboard, courtesy an Alastair Cook [ Images ] (10) boundary wide of mid-off.
Craig Kieswetter (29) though soon ensured the sedate start soon turned into a blitzkrieg, his 18-ball cameo comprising of four boundaries and two maximums even as 39 runs were scored of the next 21 balls.
However, just when things seemed to be going well for the visitors they suffered a double blow. R Ashwin ended what was an otherwise expensive over, with Kieswetter taking 15 in five balls, on a positive note by having Cook out leg before off the last ball. The England captain, who had come a long way forward to play the shot, didn't seem too happy with the decision.
The next ball, the first of Praveen Kumar's [ Images ] fourth over, saw Kieswetter following his captain back to the pavilion. Kumar had deceived the England stumper with a slower ball and the latter was caught plumb in front of the wicket.
Jonathan Trott (39) and Kevin Pietersen [ Images ] (41) put together a 73-run stand for the third wicket to steady the English ship but their dismissal in quick succession all but ended the visitor's hopes of a good score.
A beauty from Vinay Kumar clipped the top of Trott's off-stump, thereby ending his 48-ball stay at the crease. A few overs later, a spectacular catch by substitute Manoj Tiwary at midwicket ensured the end of Pietersen, besides giving Ashwin his second wicket.
Ravindra Jadeja accounted for both Ravi Bopara [ Images ] (8) and Jonny Bairstow (9) to leave the English tail wagging with more than 18 overs still to be bowled.
Samit Patel (14) and Tim Bresnan put on 47 runs, at almost a run-a-ball, for the seventh wicket to steady the innings a bit. However, their failure to take advantage of the batting powerplay, as well as Patel's dismissal in the period, added to England's woes.
Then Aaron took over, cleaning up Scott Borthwick (3), Stuart Meaker (1) and Bresnan to end the England innings with 3.5 overs left to play.
India innings:
The Indian innings began on a disastrous note.
Steven Finn, bowling with a lot of venom early on, shattered Parthiv Patel's [ Images ] (8) stumps in his third over. The 22-year-old bowler was rewarded with a second wicket in his fourth over when Gautam Gambhir [ Images ] (1) dragged one onto his stumps.
When Kieswetter took a spectacular catch to send back Ajinkya Rahane [ Images ] (20), making his debut on his home ground, the home team was in a spot of bother at 46 for three (in the 14th over). Rahane's dismissal gave debutant Stuart Meaker his first ODI wicket.
It was at this stage that Raina came in to join Kohli.
The two, slowly but steadily, rebuild the Indian innings putting on a 131-run partnership (in just 113 balls) and ending any hopes England might have had.
Raina's 62-ball innings, his 19th ODI half century, was inclusive of a dozen hits to the fence.
Kohli's was a more measured innings. His 99-ball knock consisted of 11 boundaries and was his 17th ODI fifty.
Finn returned to rattle Raina's timber, in the process picking up his third wicket. But by then it was a lost cause.
Kohli and MS Dhoni (15 not out) raked up the remaining runs in quick time, putting up 46 runs (in 45 balls) in an unbroken fifth wicket stand, to make the fifth ODI at Eden Gardens (on Tuesday) a must-win game for the visitors.

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