India showed lots of fighting ability with both the bat and the ball in the 3rd ODI at The Oval but still couldn’t pull off what could have been a maiden win over England on this tour. The homeside scraped through with a 3-wicket win with 7 balls to spare in yet another rain-affected one dayer in this series.
Asked to bat first under overcast conditions, the Indian batsmen faced a tough job with the new ball seaming around in both the directions. By the 11th over, India was shaken up at 25 for 4 with Anderson picking up three wickets. Soon India was 58 for 5 when Suresh Raina (21 from 36 balls with a four and a six) looked to slog his team out of trouble but only to throw his wicket away.
India would have been bundled out for something less than 120 but the fifth wicket pair of MS Dhoni and Ravindra Jadeja batted sensibly to put together a gritty stand. The two players took India from a hopeless 58 for 5 to 170 for 6 with Skipper MS Dhoni (69 from 103 balls with 5 fours) falling in the 45th over trying to go big straight down the ground.
The visitors smashed 64 runs after Dhoni’s fall in around 6 overs thanks to some superb hitting from Ravindra Jadeja (78 from 89 balls with 10 fours) and R Ashwin (36* from 19 balls with 5 fours). From a disastrous position early on, India finished at a respectable 234 for 7 in the allotted 50 overs. Anderson’s three-wicket haul was well backed up by Graeme Swann who conceded only 31 runs in his 10 overs.
England had a tremendous start in their chase with 63 put on the board by the openers in 10 overs before Skipper Alastair Cook (23 from 34 balls) was out lbw to Munaf. Wicket Keeper Opener Craig Kieswetter murdered the Indian attack once again, this time scoring a rapid 51 from 46 balls with 3 fours and 3 sixes before he was cleaned up by an arm ball from Jadeja in the 17th over which had England at 87 for 2. India got back in the contest in the next over when Jonathan Trott (11 from 25 balls) was clean bowled by a well disguised carrom ball from Ashwin.
The match was halted briefly as rain pelted down and when play resumed, England’s target was revised to 218 from 43 overs. England resuming on 95 for 3 in 20 overs got a useful partnership going between Ian Bell (23 from 25 balls) and Ben Stokes (20 from 31 balls with a six). Both batsmen departed in the space of two overs to have England at 133 for 5 and again opening the door for the Indians to sneak through for a win. While Bell was run out by a direct throw from MS Dhoni, the left handed Stokes was bowled round his legs by a full toss from Ashwin when he attempted an ugly sweep shot.
England found another useful partnership, this time between Bopara and Bresnan which took them close to the victory line. Bresnan chipped in with 28 from 38 balls before he got bowled by a Jadeja arm ball which provided India with a glimmer of hope. However, Ravi Bopara made sure that his side almost got there with a crucial knock of 40 from 41 balls. When Bopara got bowled by a turning off break from Ashwin, England needed only 10 more runs to win in 2.1 overs. Broad and Swann ensured that England got home by the end of the penultimate over.
The Man of the Match award went to Ravindra Jadeja who backed up his 78 with 2 for 42 in 9 overs. R Ashwin also did a fine all-round show scoring 36* and following it up with 3 for 40 on 9 overs. India had made two changes bringing in Jadeja and RP Singh for Manoj Tiwary and Vinay Kumar while England got Jonathan Trott in place of Samit Patel.