Mohali, Oct 20: India redeemed themselves by clinching the ODI series against England by taking an unassailable 3-0 lead after a nail-biting five-wicket victory in the third one-dayer in Mohali on Thursday.
After England scored a competitive 298 for four, the home side rode on Ajinkya Rahane's 91 and a composed captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni's calculated onslaught to overhaul the target of 299 with four balls to spare.
In a match that saw fortunes fluctuating from one team to the other, Dhoni (35 not out off 31) and Ravindra Jadeja (26 not out off 24) added 65 runs for the unseparated sixth-wicket stand and take the game to India's favour at the PCA stadium.
ndia needed seven runs to win from the last over bowled by Tim Bresnan and Dhoni hit two consecutive fours from the first two balls to take his side to 300 for five and signal a thrilling victory and 3-0 lead in the five-match series.
The ODI series win was a sweet revenge for India, who were whitewashed in all formats of the game in the full tour of England this summer. They had lost 0-3 in the five-match ODI series in England last month.
Rahane stole the limelight with his brilliant 104-ball knock to help India chase down the target. Opener Gautam Gambhir gave the perfect support to Rahane with a 60-ball 59 before Dhoni and Jadeja played short little cameos towards the end to register the second highest run chase at Mohali.
For the tourists, Steven Finn and Tim Bresnan scalped two wickets apiece, giving away 44 and 62 runs respectively.
Earlier Jonathan Trott scored a majestic unbeaten 98, and stitched two crucial partnerships with Kevin Pietersen and Samit Patel, to guide England to a challenging 298 for four.
Trott anchored the England innings during his 116-ball unconquered knock, and together with Pietersen (64) and Patel (70 not out) added 101 and unbeaten 103 runs respectively. He crafted his innings beautifully, playing cautiously initially, when Pietersen was going great guns, but got more aggressive in Patel's company.
Trott and Patel took the task to the opposition and sent the Indian bowlers on a leather hunt, scoring 91 runs in the last 10 overs.
Patel was the more aggressive of the two and did not spare a single Indian bowler en route to his quickfire half-century that came off just 43 balls, and was studded with seven boundaries and two huge hits over the fence.
All the Indian bowlers bled runs. Left-arm spinner Ravindra Jadeja though was the most economical among the wicket-takers with figures of one for 41 from his eight overs.
England, however, did not have the best of starts, as, after electing to bat, they lost captain Alastair Cook as early as the fourth over with the scoreboard reading eight.
Cook was dismissed lbw to a R Viany Kumar delivery that jabbed in after pitching.
Handed a difficult lifeline by Praveen Kumar off his own bowling in the ninth over, Craig Kieswetter finally broke the shackles, hitting the pacer over the deep midwicket fence to bring up England's first six of the innings.
Kieswetter meted out similar treatment to Vinay in the next over, but this time with a slash over the third-man boundary.
Virat Kohli, who was introduced into the attack in the 11th over, replacing Praveen, broke the 53-run second-wicket partnership, dismissing the dangerous Kieswetter, who played a full delivery on to the stumps.
But then came in Pietersen. He gave momentum to the England innings, and with Trott put up a century stand.
After the initial calm, Pietersen and Trott milked the Indian bowlers perfectly with ones and twos, and boundaries in between, to lay the platform for the visitors.
Pietersen was at his fluent best and struck Jadeja for two boundaries in the 25th over, racing to his half-century off just 48 balls.
Since his arrival at the crease, he was in a murderous mood and did not even get bogged down by Umesh Yadav's pace, clobbering the pacer for back-to-back fours in the 27th over.
But soon after bringing up the 100-run partnership for the third wicket off just 98 balls, the dangerous-looking Pietersen departed, one run later, lbw to Jadeja, after scoring a fluent 64 off 61 balls. His knock was studded with nine boundaries.
Dhoni's decision to introduce Jadeja, in place of R Ashwin, from the other end bore fruit as he scalped the vital wicket of Pietersen with the first delivery. The decision, however, did not impress the right-handed batsman.
Dhoni's bowling changes turned out to be masterstroke, as his decision to replace Vinay with Praveen in the 39th over yielded yet another wicket.
Praveen uprooted Ravi Bopara's (24 off 32) middle stump with a swinging Yorker that the batsman failed to dig out, and ended up playing on.
Bopara hit three fours during his stay, and added 41 runs with Trott for the fourth wicket, that came off 54 balls.
But then a set Trott and new-man in Patel joined hands and used the long handle to great effect to take England near the 300-run mark.
First innings report: India VS England
England: 298 for 4 50 overs (Jonathan Trott not out 98, Kevin Pietersen 64, Samit Patel not out 70, Ravindra Jadeja 1/41).
India: 300 for 5 in 49.2 overs (Ajinkya Rahane 91, Gautam Gambhir 58; Steven Finn 2/44).
India: Gautam Gambhir, Parthiv Patel, Ajinkya Rahane, Virat Kohli, Mahendra Singh Dhoni (C), Suresh Raina, Ravindra Jadeja, R Ashwin, Praveen Kumar, Vinay Kumar, Umesh Yadav.
England: Alastair Cook (C), Craig Kieswetter, Jonathan Trott, Kevin Pietersen, Ravi Bopara, Jonathan Bairstow, Samit Patel, Tim Bresnan, Graeme Swann, Steven Finn, Jade Dernbach.