Sharma, Raina Guide India To Series Win In Mohali
India 258-5 (Raina 89no, R Sharma 83) beat
England 257-7 (Cook, Pietersen 76) by 5 wickets
Fourth One-Day International, Mohali
Report by John Pennington
England produced an improved batting performance but it was not enough to prevent India from sealing the series with a five-wicket victory in the fourth One-Day International in Mohali.
Half-centuries in tricky conditions from Alastair Cook, Kevin Pietersen and Joe Root helped England reach 257 for seven but India reached their target with 15 balls to spare.
Rohit Sharma made 83 in 93 balls after he was called up to replace Ajinkya Rahane at the top of the order and Suresh Raina, who enjoyed an eventuful game, made an unbeaten 89 in 79 balls.
He thought he was out when he edged Steven Finn to Alastair Cook to slip but was called back after Finn had kicked down the stumps and dead ball was called. He had earlier missed a simple chance to catch Joe Root on 42 and bowled a couple of tidy overs, but in the end he had the last laugh.
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Mahendra Singh Dhoni won the toss and chose to bowl first in conditions that looked favourable for the fielding side and they soon made inroads when Ian Bell (10) was caught at third man by Bhuvneshwar Singh off Ishant Sharma.
Cook (76) then combined with Pietersen to add 95 for the second wicket, Cook hitting 13 fours before being unfortunately given out leg before to a ball from Ravichandran Ashwin that pitched outside leg stump.
Pietersen found the going desperately hard early on, but toughed it out, and after Eoin Morgan (3) and Samit Patel (1) fell cheaply, he found a willing ally in Root.
Together they kept the scoreboard ticking over and once both were well set, they began to take on the bowlers and in the end, England added 96 in the final 10 overs. Pietersen attacked Shami Ahmed and was fearsome through the off side, reaping rewards for coming through his earlier travails until he was bowled by Ishant for 76 in 93 deliveries.
Root had managed to score more quickly and reached his maiden ODI half-century with one of eight fours. Full of invention, his range of flicks and paddles had Dhoni changing the field far too often for his liking and when Jos Buttler came in and smacked 14 in nine balls, England briefly threatened to reach 270 or more.
However, India came back again through the irrepressible - and to England, at least, unplayable - Ravindra Jadeja, who quickly removed Buttler and Tim Bresnan (0) meaning England had to settle for their 257, with Root not out on an impressive 57 in 45 deliveries.
Early wickets would have stepped up the challenge for India and although Gautam Gambhir was caught behind off Bresnan for 10, India's batsmen stepped up and delivered.
Sharma proved an inspired choice, hitting 11 fours and one six as he and Virat Kohli (26) put on 52 for the second wicket, Kohli falling when he was caught and bowled by James Tredwell.
Tredwell then struck again to have Yuvraj Singh trapped in front for three but from 90 for three, a 68-run stand between Sharma and Raina finally took the game away from England.
Sharma was trapped in front by Finn - a marginal decision, at best, that went in England's favour - and then Raina was given his second chance. He did not waste it, meaning a rare failure on the part of Dhoni, who mde just 19 before Jade Dernbach had him caught by Morgan, hardly inconvenienced the home side.
They now lead the series 3-1 with one game - in Dharmasala - remaining on Sunday 27th January.
© Cricket World 2013
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