Friday, June 21, 2024

Humiliation avenged in style; Men in Blue sweep series 5-0


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Man of the match — Jadeja  lPlayer of the series — Dhoni

Indian cricketers pose with the trophy after winning the ODI series 5-0 against England, at Eden Garden in Kolkata on Tuesday. (PTI)

Kolkata: World champions India completed a 5-0 whitewash, mauling a hapless England by 95 runs in the final One-dayer on Tuesday to avenge a similar humiliation in the land of the Thames only a month back.

Having already sealed the series with an unassailable 4-0 lead ahead of the Eden Gardens game, the hosts rode on a blazing unconquered 71 from skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni and posted a challenging 271/8 and then cast a spin web to skittle out the visitors for 176 to usher in festivities on Diwali-eve night. Thirteen overs were still left in the innings.

England collapsed in a heap after a solid start. Openers Craig Kieswetter (63 off 64 balls) and skipper Alastair Cook (60 of 61 balls) had thrown the gauntlet to the Indians with a 129-run rollicking stand by scoring at a brisk six plus rate when Varun Aaron got the breakthrough.

The medium pacer got rid of Cook, who played well to get his second half-century of the series, with an angled and low delivery that went past the batsman’s inside edge and unsettled the off-stump. The script suddenly was turned upside down as England lost their way as the Indian spinners excelled on a helpful track and the remaining nine batsmen fell for the addition of only 47 runs.

Left-arm spinner Ravindra Jadeja (4-33) was the pick of the Indian bowlers in the match to finish as the leading wicket taker of the series with 11 victims.

Off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin (3-28) took his series haul to 10. Tiwary and Raina got one apiece.

The England batsmen seemed in utter discomfort as the runs choked up and their agony finally ended in the 37th over with Ashwin ending the tourists’ agony with a carrom ball that took Steven Finn’s top edge and ballooned to Dhoni behind the stumps.

Apart from the two openers, only Samit Patel (18) and Ian Bell (10) got into double figures. During the nightmarish July-September England summer, India had lost the One-day series 0-3 and the Tests 0-5.

The home side now holds an awesome 15-1 win loss record in the last three series played between the two sides in India.

In the morning, Dhoni, adjudged Man of the Series, led from the front as India recovered from a top order slump to an imposing total.

Dhoni played a finely balanced knock embellished with three fours and four sixes on way to his 43rd ODI half-century in 196 matches. He started off cautiously, picking up singles and twos with neat placements before hammering the English bowling in the slog stage when 84 runs came off eight overs and 39 off the last two.

All his sixes came towards the end, beginning with two towering hits in the 43rd over delivered by spinner Graeme Swann as India set England a stiff target of 5.44 runs per over to avoid a whitewash.

Dhoni was also involved in three useful partnerships — 39 with Suresh Raina (38), and 44 each with Ravindra Jadeja (21) and Praveen Kumar (16).

The hosts seemed in trouble at 80/3 in the 18th over after losing seasoned opener Gautam Gambhir (38), in-form Virat Kohli (0) and the young Ajinkya Rahane (42) in the space of 10 balls.

Gambhir, who got a life at 25 with Kieswetter dropping a diving chance, played on to his stumps, while Kohli saw his stumps shattered by pacer Steven Finn. Kieswetter took an edge offered by Rahane off an away going ball of Tim Bresnan.

England suffered a heavy blow as seasoned bat Kevin Pietersen was ruled out with a chipped thumb, which cleared the decks for Ian Bell to play his first match of the series. Swann, who was kept out of the team in Mumbai, also made his way back in place of Scott Borthwick. (IANS)


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