Cricket: India romped to a seven-wicket win over England

Third ODI, HEC International Cricket Stadium Complex, Ranchi – England (155 all out from 42.2 overs) lost to India (157-3 from 28.1 overs: Kohli 77*) by seven wickets. India lead the five-match series 2-1.

India romped to a seven-wicket win in the third ODI in Ranchi with 131 balls to spare after an abject England display.

The tourists, asked to bat first on a good pitch in India skipper MS Dhoni’s home town, made a dreadful fist of setting a total and crumbled to 155 all out.

And despite the early wicket of Ajinkya Rahane, they never looked like stopping India in the run chase.

Virat Kohli led the way with a sublime 77 from 79 balls, but Dhoni came on to the delight of the crowd to pull away the winning runs.

The hosts have a 2-1 lead and with it all the momentum in the five-match series.

The dew late on was the factor Dhoni cited for chasing, but England negated that with a shambolic display.

The top three got starts but fell without converting them – Alastair Cook (17) falling lbw to Shami Ahmed as he shuffled across the line, and Ian Bell (25) trying to cut a straight delivery from Bhuvneshwar Kumar and edging behind.

Kevin Pietersen went in between the two, reaching 17 and looking fluent before being given out incorrectly for an edge, when he had missed Ishant Sharma’s delivery.

From there, however, the batting fell apart. In quick time Eoin Morgan (10), Craig Kieswetter (0) and Samit Patel (0) fell, the former to a reverse sweep, the next two to straight deliveries from Ravi Jadeja.

There was a rally from Joe Root (39) and Tim Bresnan (25), but the damage to the England innings was terminal, and once they perished, the tail quickly followed.

It looked a long way short, and so it proved.

Steven Finn bowled with hostility and anger in the early stages, bowling Rahane for a duck, but Jade Dernbach’s struggles continued with an expensive spell. Of all bowlers in the history of ODI cricket to have bowled at least 1000 balls, he has the worst economy rate, and with figures 5-0-45-0, that record worsened.

In truth, the bowlers were faced with a near-impossible task. Though James Tredwell picked up a couple of wickets, with Gautam Gambhir holing out on 33, and Yuvraj Singh beaten on 30, India were never remotely troubled in the chase.

Kohli, who reached 4000 ODI runs quicker than any batsman in history bar Viv Richards, played with elegance and poise, starting steadily and attacking with the end in sight. His two sixes off the bowling of Tredwell were particular highlights, as was his driving.

But it was Dhoni the crowd wanted to see – and he came in a place higher than usual to bring the victory home – much to the delight of the fans who had seen just about everything else go their way as well.

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