Dharamsala, Jan 27: Ian Bell struck his third One Day International hundred to steer England to a seven-wicket victory over India here at HPCA Stadium on Sunday. It was a consolation win for the visitors. India took the series 3-2. Despite this loss, India remain number one in ICC ODI rankings.
Bell's century was also the first individual three-figure mark of the series. The opener anchored the 227-run chase with a patient knock at the crease. Left-hander Eoin Morgan applied the finishing touches with an aggressive 40 not out off 40 balls with three sixes as England completed the chase in 47.2 overs. Bell remained not out on 113 (143 balls, 13x4, 1x6) and scored the winning run.
Bell was adjudged Man-of-the-match while Suresh Raina took the Man-of-the-series award. Raina finished the series as highest run-getter with 277 runs.
Captain Alastair Cook and Bell began cautiously against the new ball attack of Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Shami Ahmed. With not many runs to overhaul, England duo were content in making a slow start. They put on 53 for the first wicket in 11.5 overs before Cook was bowled for 22 by Ishant Sharma.
Number three batsman Kevin Pietersen (6) fell cheaply to Shami and then Joe Root arrived at the crease. At 64/2 in the 19th over, India had a chance of further derailing the chase bu Root (31) and Bell upset their plans with match turning 79-run partnership.
Once Root departed after a good knock, Morgan returned to form and sealed the victory with a run-a-ball 40.
Right through his innings, Bell preferred to stay at the wicket and seemed not in a hurry. His 100 came off 133 balls. The right-hander registered his second ton against India. In the process of his century, Bell also completed 4,000 ODI runs in 124th match.
Ishant Sharma (10-3-37-1) and Jadeja (7.2-0-26-1) bowled well but the rest did not have a good day.
India bowled out for 226
Suresh Raina (83) rescued India with his fourth straight half century this series against England. The left-hander helped India recover from a poor start to post a competitive score of 226 all out in 49.4 overs here on Sunday.
After sent to bat on a pitch with a bit of moisture, India were in early trouble by losing Rohit Sharma (4) and Virat Kohli (0). Yuvraj Singh (0), Gautam Gambhir (24) and captain MS Dhoni (15) were also back in the pavilion quickly with the hosts reeling at 79/5 in 21.1 overs.
Raina and Ravindra Jadeja (39) joined hands to take the team out of trouble with a 78-run partnership. Raina struck his 28th fifty and fourth straight half century this series. The left-hander ended the series with 277 runs.
Raina-Jadeja partnership was the only big association in a disappointing batting display by India. Raina during his knock, completed 4,000 ODI runs while Jadeja reached 1,000 runs in 50-over cricket.
It was paceman Tim Bresnan who rocked India early on. He took two wickets in two balls by dismissing Rohit and Kohli. Both fell to catches in the slip cordon and were guilty of playing away from their bodies. Bresnan ended with 4/45 in 9.4 overs. Steven Finn was frugal with 2/28 off 10 overs.
Offspinner James Tredwell enjoyed another good stint at the bowling crease. He had two victims for 25 runs in 10 overs including two maidens. He ended the series with 11 wickets for 200 off 47 overs.
Speaking after his innings, Raina felt this score of 226 was good to defend for India bowlers.
Toss: England elect to field
England captain Alastair Cook won the toss and invited India to bat first in the fifth and final One Day International here at HPCA Stadium on Sunday.
India have already clinched the series with a 3-1 lead. India have gone with the same winning combination here. England made one change with Chris Woakes replacing Jade Dernbach.
Cheteshwar Pujara has been yet again left out and is still waiting for his ODI debut. Rohit Sharma will again open the batting with Gautam Gambhir.
Pujara has been dealt with double blow. First, BCCI did not release him to play in his team - Saurashtra's first ever Ranji Trophy final and now no India cap as well.
There is a bit of moisture in the pitch and it is likely to be bowlers' first hour where India batsmen need to be cautious.
This is the last match for India before they have three weeks break ahead of Australia Test series starting on February 22.
India: MS Dhoni (captain and wicketkeeper), Gautam Gambhir, Virat Kohli, Yuvraj Singh, Suresh Raina, Ravindra Jadeja, R Ashwin, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Ishant Sharma, Shami Ahmed, Rohit Sharma.
England: Alastair Cook (captain), Ian Bell, Kevin Pietersen, Joe Root, Eoin Morgan, Samit Patel, Chris Woakes, James Tredwell, Steven Finn, Tim Bresnan, Jos Buttler (wicketkeeper).
Umpires: Steve Davis (Australia) and Sudhir Asnani
Third umpire: C Shamsuddin
Match referee: Andy Pycroft (Zimbabwe)
Match starts at 9 AM IST