Fri, Sep 07, 2007 - Page 23 News List

India stun England with last-gasp win to level ODI series

AP , LONDON

Indian cricketer Robin Uthappa, left, bats against England during the sixth NatWest one-day international match at the Brit Oval stadium in London on Wednesday.

PHOTO: AFP

Sachin Tendulkar hit 94 on Wednesday and Robin Uthappa struck an unbeaten 47 to guide India to a series-leveling two wicket win over England with just two balls to spare in the sixth one-day international.

Tendulkar's 81-ball innings at The Oval contributed to a speedy start to India's reply, but the tourists needed Mahendra Singh Dhoni and Uthappa to steady the innings after it stumbled to 234-5 with a little less than 10 overs left.

Dhoni and Robin Uthappa shared a sixth-wicket partnership and Uthappa, in his first match of the series, kept his head as the wickets fell around him and sealed the win with his eighth four of his 33-ball innings as India reached 317 for eight wickets.

Dimitri Mascarenhas, who had hit sixes from each of the last five balls of England's innings to take his team to a competitive 316-6, and Stuart Broad each took two wickets for the home side, which must now win the final match at Lord's tomorrow to clinch a series it had led 3-1.

India openers Tendulkar and Sourav Ganguly reached 150 without loss off just 22 overs before Ganguly fell for 53 to Broad. Although England continued to take wickets in regular bursts, the opening partnership had laid the platform for victory.

"They're fantastic, experienced players and they could do that to any team," England captain Paul Collingwood said.

After India's more experienced players had departed Uthappa, who last played as opener in a tour match in Scotland, took India to victory.

"There was just belief in this team we could get the score," India captain Rahul Dravid said. "Some of the young boys came through for us today."

England openers Alastair Cook and Matthew Prior had fallen in the first four overs of the day, leaving their team struggling soon after winning the toss and choosing to bat. But Owais Shah hit his first international century after England had slumped to 137-5 from 30 overs, putting on 106 alongside Luke Wright in the highest sixth-wicket partnership at The Oval by any team in one-day internationals.

Shah came to the crease with the score 83-4 and added 54 for the fifth wicket before Kevin Pietersen was run out after ignoring Shah's loud and early call not to take a second run.

Pietersen hit 53 and Ian Bell 49, but Pietersen's exit seemed to have ended the home side's chances of a decent total until Wright joined Shah in the middle.

Shah overcame the unsettling incident and Pietersen's glares -- as well as surviving a good shout for a catch by Dhoni -- to beat his previous highest score of 62 in one-day internationals.

Wright eventually fell after hitting 50 from 39 balls on his debut, but Shah reached 107 not out and Mascarenhas struck 36 off 15 balls, including 30 from Yuvraj Singh's final over.

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