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Bairstow Wins It For England As Dravid Bows Out

Bairstow And Bopara Take England To Fine Win
Bairstow And Bopara Take England To Fine Win
©Action Images / Andrew Boyers Livepic

England 241-4 (Trott 63, Cook 50) beat
India 304-6 (Kohli 107, Dravid 69) by 6 wickets
Fifth One-Day International, Cardiff

England ensured India ended their tour of the country without an international win as they produced an accomplished performance missing a host of regulars to win the fifth and final One-Day International by six wickets in Cardiff to wrap up a 3-0 series win.

On the day that Rahul Dravid said his goodbyes to ODI cricket, receiving a warm ovation for a stylish knock of 69, the game was finished off by England's debutant Jonathan Bairstow, who cracked an unbeaten 41 in just 21 balls.

The Yorkshireman was handed an opportunity due to an injury to Ben Stokes and he grasped it in superb fashion, announcing his arrival by hitting Ravi Jadeja for a huge six over midwicket and then following it up with three more maximums and a reverse sweep straight out of the Eoin Morgan school of one-day finishing that raced to the boundary as England, eventually set 240 to win in 34 overs after several interruptions for rain, reached the finishing line with ten balls to spare.

That came despite India managing to post their best score of the tour against England - 304 for six - but even that proved not to be enough as Virat Kohli's excellent century, Dravid's farewell innings and a belligerent unbeaten half-century from Mahendra Singh Dhoni were in vain.

Neither side put in a fielding display to be proud of, Samit Patel dropping Ajinkya Rahane (26) early as a hostile spell from Steven Finn went unrewarded but it took a fine catch from Finn to remove the opener - arguably India's one bright spot to emerge from the tour - off the bowling of Jade Dernbach.

Dernbach would later be similarly disappointed when Patel missed Dhoni, who smashed five fours and two sixes to end the innings unbeaten on 50 in 26 deliveries as he helped India march past 300.

Kohli played some exquisite strokes on the way to his sixth ODI century, makign 107 in 93 deliveries with nine fours and a six while Dravid faced 79 balls, hitting four fours before he was bowled by Swann, who also dismissed the slightly unlucky Kohli when he clipped his stumps setting off for a run to be out hit wicket.

Swann returned by far the best figures for England, taking three for 34 although Finn was perhaps the quickest and most impressive of the bowlers.

England, whose target was first reduced to 295 in 47 overs, came out flying with Craig Kieswetter blasting 21 in 17 balls before he was trapped in front by Ranganath Vinay Kumar.

Alastair Cook (50) and Jonathan Trott (63) then maintained their concentration through two further rain breaks and compiled a key 79-run stand for the second wicket which kept England up with the requried run-rate, Cook particularly strong through the covers and Trott hitting his maiden ODI six and one more for good measure.

After Cook was bowled by Kohli shortly after being dropped by Dravid, Trott and Warwickshire team-mate Ian Bell took on Jadeja and hit him for 21 in one over which included three sixes. The pair put on 54, Bell carving 26 in 21 before he again fell victim to a catch on the boundary, Manoj Tiwary - on as a substitute for India's latest injury victim, Munaf Patel - did well to hang on in the deep.

Trott fell soon after when he looped a catch to RP Singh as Jadeja got his man and the game was briefly evenly poised.

The introduction of Bairstow quicky changed things and his bravado was matched by Ravi Bopara, who this time made sure he was there at the end unlike at Lord's, when he had fallen for 96 attempting the winning hit. A couple of clever boundaries over fine leg were his innings highlights and the pair ran India ragged with excellent work between the wickets.

An unbroken partnership of 75 in under seven overs completely deflated India and although many of their players now turn their attentions to the Champions League, with Morgan set to miss the ODI series between these two sides in October, they can expect to see a lot more of Bairstow, Bopara and company despite being doubtless sick of the sight of the men in dark blue winning all summer.

© Cricket World 2011