India brush England aside at Ranchi
India beat England by 7 wickets at Ranchi in the 3rd ODI to go 2-1 up in the 5 ODI series.
Hosting its first international game, the Ranchi track was expected to lean towards a run fest once the batsman saw off the early threat. Dhoni took a chance on his bowlers, choosing to bowl first and reaped rewards as Shami Ahmed and Bhuvneshwar Kumar bowled tight spells to start.
Shami Ahmed once again got the breakthrough, trying Cook’s patience enough before he had him trapped LBW while walking across. Kevin Pietersen came out more aggressive and had begun pushing Dhoni to defense mode when he was given a harsh decision, caught behind off Ishant when there seemed to be no clear edge. Two balls later, Bell clearly edged one to Dhoni off Bhuvneshwar and England were suddenly 68/3. Kumar once again finished his overs unchanged, taking 1/40.
Eoin Morgan tried to play the reverse sweep a couple of times but his decision to play one off a poor halftracker didn’t work out well, spooning a simple catch to Yuvraj Singh at backward point. Jadeja’s over opened the floodgates in the next over. Craig Kieswetter and Samit Patel were both done in by the arm ball to be bowled and given LBW respectively, England going from 97/3 to 98/6 in the space of 9 balls.
Joe Root and Tim Bresnan added 47 for the seventh wicket off 70 balls before Dhoni’s diving catch to send Root back gave Ishant his second wicket. Ashwin followed up with a classic offspinner’s dismissal of Bresnan, England going from 145/6 to 145/8 in the space of 4 balls. Raina got the rare figures of 1-1-0-1, Finn hitting one straight to midwicket in his solitary over. Two deliveries later Jadeja wrapped up the innings with another arm ball to bowl Dernbach, England bowing out at 155.
Ajinkya Rahane’s woes at the top continued, Finn getting through his defenses off the fourth ball he faced to send him back for a duck. Virat Kohli walked in and was cautious to begin, having only scored 2 off 8 at one point. A release came with three consecutive fours off Dernbach and Kohli was at business. He found the gaps and kept the scoreboard ticking, nearly doubling Gambhir’s contribution in a 67 run partnership for the second wicket.
Soon after Gambhir’s (33, 53b) dismissal off Tredwell, Kohli brought up his 4000th ODI run in just his 93rd ODI innings, the second fastest man to do so after Sir Vivian Richards who got there in 88 innings but both are tied in terms of no. of ODIs, both getting there in their 96th ODI.
His fiftieth run also pushed his ODI average above 50 and it was at 50.35 by the time he was done.
He and Yuvraj Singh (30, 21b) added a quick 66 off the next 8 overs, Kohli plundering Tredwell while Yuvraj bullied Jade Dernbach. Yuvraj had a harder time against Tredwell and was bowled by him eventually. Local boy MS Dhoni promoted himself to hit the winning runs in his hometown’s first ever international game. He opened his account with a ferocious bludgeon straight down the ground and after sufficient respect paid to the bowlers, a lightning fast pull off Finn brought up the winning runs with a record 131 balls to spare.
Virat Kohli was Man of the Match for his calculated 77* (79b, 9x4, 2x6). India’s win put them 2-1 ahead in the series but the bigger prize was the side’s move to no.1 in the ICC’s ODI rankings after New Zealand beat South Africa in the first ODI at Paarl.