Century by Bell salvages England’s cricket pride

Staff writer, with Agencies

Mon, Jan 28, 2013 - Page 20

India paid the price for some poor shot selection by their top order batsmen as England rode on Ian Bell’s unbeaten century to salvage some pride by winning their fifth and final one-day international (ODI) by seven wickets, and reduce the margin of defeat to 3-2, in Dharamsala, India, yesterday.

The visitors first dismissed the hosts for a modest 226 and then relied on Bell’s third ODI ton — 113 not out — to overhaul the target with 16 balls to spare at the picturesque HPCA stadium, which hosted its first international match.

India, who had already clinched the series in Mohali by taking an unassailable 3-1 lead, were done in by some poor shots by their top order batsmen and could never really recover from several early jolts, despite Suresh Raina’s brilliant effort of 83 under pressure.

Tim Bresnan caused the bulk of the damage with 4/45, while Steve Finn and James Tredwell chipped in with two wickets apiece as the English bowlers exploited the bowler-friendly conditions after winning the toss and putting the home side in to bat.

India slumped to a precarious 79 for five as Gautam Gambhir (24), Rohit Sharma (4), Virat Kohli (0), Yuvraj Singh (0) and captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni (15) perished in quick succession.

Raina’s brilliant counter-attacking 83 off 98 balls and some useful contributions from Ravindra Jadeja (39) and Bhuvneshwar Kumar (31) took India to 226.

In their bid to chase down the target of 227, England openers Alastair Cook and Ian Bell started confidently, putting in 53 runs before Ishant Sharma broke the partnership.