Collingwood leads England to glory

Published: Sunday, September 9, 2007, 0:27 [IST]
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England produced a clinical team performance to win the seventh one-day international against India at Lord's here Saturday.

Paul Collingwood's side won the seven-game series 4-3, completing the job with a comfortable seven wicket win with more than 14 overs to spare.

After bowling India out for just 187, the home side wobbled at 3-74, but Kevin Pietersen (71 no) and Collingwood (64 no) held their nerve to see England home.

"The bowlers were aggressive, it was a fantastic team performance from first ball to last, and it's been a great day," said Collingwood.

"We put them under a lot of pressure today and it was a fine team performance."

Fittingly, Collingwood was there at the end, getting his reign as one-day captain off to the perfect start. Pietersen's fifty was his second in as many games, but like the one at the Oval it came at a price.

Ian Bell (36) became the latest victim of Pietersen's indecisive calling; he was stranded in no-mans land when Pietersen changed his mind about a quick single.

England's win though was made possible by some fine bowling.

James Anderson, Dimitri Mascarenhas, and the returning Andrew Flintoff tore apart the Indian batting line-up. Anderson hit Ganguly on the helmet in a firey opening spell that saw him take 2-19 in his first eight overs.

And Flintoff made an instant impact, taking the wickets of Rahul Dravid, Sachin Tendulkar and Mahendra Dhoni.

The England all-rounder showed no signs of the ankle injury that ruled him out of the games at Headingly and the Oval, and should be on the plane to South Africa when England fly out for the Twenty20 World Cup on Sunday.

Flintoff's performance however was overshadowed by Dimitri Mascarenhas who also took three wickets, but conceded just 23 runs from his 10 overs. After punishing India with the bat at the Oval, this time he did the damage with the ball, also bowling two maidens in his spell.

With the series tied at 3-3, India's decision to bat after winning the toss seemed to place them in the driving seat. But the pressure of the occasion seemed to get to Ganguly and Tendulkar, who were making what is likely to have been their last appearances at Lord's for India.

Tendulkar played some uncharacteristically lose shots, while Ganguly could have been out twice in one Stuart Broad over, fortunately for the Indian opener, the ball dropped short of the fielder on both occasions.

Ganguly's luck finally ran out when he edged Anderson to Flintoff at second slip. Tendulkar continued to battle away, but when Guatam Gambhir and Rahul Dravid both departed within the space of five balls India's task got harder.

Tendulkar's last innings at Lord's finally came to an end when the faintest of nicks gave Flintoff his second wicket. Wickets fell regularly from then on.

Yuvraj (28) began a fight back, and with Robin Uthappa looked like he might turn the game for the tourists. Mascarenhas though had other ideas, and only a 50 from Dhoni got the tourists close an almost respectable total.

England's reply started badly with openers Luke Wright and Matt Prior both falling to RP Singh in the space of three balls. Neither opener got off the mark, and at one stage, with 10 extras on the board, India were getting the runs and the wickets.

Bell and Pietersen though rescued the situation for England, putting on 63 for the third wicket, before Pietersen's third rush of blood in two games. To his credit though he kept his head and alongside Collingwood led England to victory.

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