England beat India by 6 wickets (D/L method) during the fifth and final ODI at Sophia Gardens in Cardiff on Friday. Score | PhotosThe win dashed Team India’s hopes of giving Rahul Dravid a winning farewell, who retired from ODIs after scoring 1089 runs in 344 ODIs.With this win hosts England have whitewashed India in both forms of game. They beat India 4-0 in the Tests and then capped it was a 3-0 win in the five-match ODI series. The first ODI was washed away and the fourth ended in a tie (D/L method).The Cardiff match too witnessed the Duckworth Lewis method coming into picture with the match affected by rains on three occasions – start of both occasion and midway during England innings.Put to bat, India scored 304/6, with Rahul Dravid, playing his last ODI, scoring a fine 69. But it was Virat Kolhi’s fast-paced century that was the highlight of the India innings followed by skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s 26-ball unbeaten 50.India openers Ajinkya Rahane and Parthiv Patel started the innings with caution and gradually upped the tempo. But their opening-wicket stand came to an end on the first ball of the 13th over. A Jade Dernbach ball took the top edge of Rahane’s bat and Steven Finn took a fine catch at third-man. He scored 26.Soon the other opener Parthiv departed. A Graeme Swann turner took the edge of his willow and Tim Bresnan snatched a neat catch at mid-on. Parthiv fell for 19 and India lost their second wicket on 57.advertisementSoon Rahul Dravid and Virat Kohli batted on to increase the tempo and helped India reach past the 100-run mark. The duo continued batting and soon India were way past 200 with a run rate that was hovering close to six an over.Kohli went on to complete his sixth ODI century and it took him just 87 balls to reach the millstone. He hit eight fours and one six in the process.However, even as the fans were celebrating Kohli’s ton, the very next ball sent Dravid back on a Graeme Swann turner. The ball entered Dravid’s bat-pad gate and clipped his off stump. He fell for 69 and India lost their third wicket on 227/3. His 79-ball inning was decorated with four fours.Soon Kohli too headed towards the pavilion, falling in a way he wouldn’t have imagined. He nudged the ball off Swann and went ahead to take a single without realising that his backfoot had hit the wicket. Kohli scored 107 off 93 balls.Then left-handed batsman Suresh Raina and skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni combined to hike the run rate even as the English bowlers struggled to find an answer to their charge.It was not until the 49th over that Raina departed. The penultimate ball of Steven Finn’s over saw Raina attempt an untimely slog which was lapped up by Tim Bresnan at extra cover. He fell for 15 when the India total was 284/5.Ravindra Jadeja fell on the first ball of the last over and skipper Dhoni went on to complete his half-century as India posted a fine 304/6.England were given a revised target of 270 in 40 overs (D/L method) as the start of their innings was delayed by intermittent showers. However, the target was revised for a second time to 241 in 34 overs when the match was halted again during their innings.In reply, England got off to a not so impressive start losing their opener Craig Kieswetter early. A R. Vinay Kumar delivery trapped Kieswetter leg-before on 21.Kieswetter was a long way into the crease, but umpire Nigel Llong raised his finger and the batsman was seen walking back when the England total was 27.Post that fall however, the other opener – captain Alastair Cook and Jonathan Trott started batting with resolve. But their effort came a cropper when the match was again halted and the target revised (241 off 340 overs).Post the rain break, the two went on with a fine partnership scoring 79 runs for the second wicket. Captain Cook scored 50 before falling to Kohli on 50 when the team total was 106. Trott went on to score a fine 63 hitting three fours and four over-the-fence shots before departing in 26th over of the innings off Jadeja’s ball.Spinner Jadeja did claim a wicket, but it was his lacklustre bowling that cost India heavily. He was belted across the tract by the English batsmen who scored 52 runs in the five over that he bowled.Finally Ravi Bopara, who had got out on nervous 90s in the last ODI, and young Jonny Bairstow, who led their team to victory putting on a unbeaten 75 runs for the fifth wicket.advertisementThe two turned the course of play with their impressive batting display which reduced the margin from almost two runs a ball to a run a ball and soon the runs were lesser than the number of balls remaining.While Bopara played is safe, rotating the strike nicely and dealing in ones and twos, it was Bairstow whose barrage of shots left Indian bowlers astray. He picked RP Singh and hit boundaries and sixes at will in his over and then repeated the task in Kohli’s over.Bairstow’s unbeaten 41 came off just 21 balls and included three huge sixes and one four. Bopara on the other hand scored a 36-ball 37 decorating his innings with three fours and one six.The two helped England reach the 241-run target with 10 balls and six wickets to spare.There was more disheartening news for India as Munaf Patel injured himself during play on Friday, while Praveen Kumar, India’s best bowler on tour, had to skip the match as he got injured during training on Thursday.
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