England hold their nerve

Saturday, 10 September 2011

England took an unassailable 2-0 lead in their five-match one-day series with India after claiming a three-wicket Duckworth-Lewis victory at the Oval.
Like the two before it, the third match in the series was interrupted by rain after the tourists had recovered from an awful start to post a competitive total of 234, with new recruit Ravindra Jadeja scoring 78.
England looked to be well on their way to victory as Craig Kieswetter blasted a half-century at the top of the innings, but the rain delay and then India's spin attack checked their momentum.
However, the revised total of 218 in 43 overs eventually proved too much for India to defend, as a solid knock of 40 from Ravi Bopara helped the hosts across the line.
An opening stand of 63 got the chase off to a trouble-free start, before captain Alastair Cook (23) shuffled across and was trapped right in front of his stumps by Munaf Patel.
Kieswetter kept the pace up with his usual powerful strokes as the wicket-keeper cleared the ropes three times on his way to 51.


But he and Jonathan Trott were both bowled after misreading straight-on deliveries from Jadeja and R Ashwin (3-40) respectively, leaving England stuttering on 89-3 shortly before the rain came down.
Ben Stokes was surprisingly sent in ahead of Bopara at number five in what was only his second international innings but managed to make 20 before he too was bowled by Ashwin.
Ian Bell had also departed in the meantime, being caught short of his ground after being sent back for an attempted single and beaten by Dhoni's direct hit.
Bopara and Tim Bresnan were left needing 85 in 15 overs and ensured England kept the upper-hand, as they put on 60 before the latter was bowled trying to score through offside off Jadeja.
Bopara was bowled by Ashwin before the target was reached, but Graeme Swann held firm to complete the victory and keep England on course to blank India in all three formats of the game this summer.
James Anderson had earlier single-handedly reduced India to 25-4 after removing both openers and Virat Kohli, while also running out Rahul Dravid.
He first struck in the opening over of the match as Ajinkya Rahane edged to slip for a third-ball duck, with Dravid joining him in the sixth over after a leisurely single left him short of his ground.
Anderson claimed his second wicket when Parthiv Patel (three) was bowled playing across the line before Kohli pushed out and was caught behind the stumps by Kieswetter for seven.
Suresh Raina (21) was also caught behind the stumps, this time off the bowling of Stuart Broad, to leave the visiting side floundering at 58-5.
But a fightback was imminent as Jadeja announced himself with a cover-driven four and went on to combine for a sixth-wicket stand of 112 with skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni.
Dhoni finally poked a simple catch to Cook off the bowling of Tim Bresnan to depart after scoring 69 from 103 balls.
Jadeja made his runs more quickly and stayed at the crease until the final over, when he was caught at long-on as he and Ravichandran Ashwin (36) smashed 51 runs in the batting powerplay.


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