England edged to a nervy three-wicket win over India in the third one-day international at The Oval to take a 2-0 lead in the five-match series.After being reduced to 58-5, India recovered to 234-7 thanks to Ravindra Jadeja (78) and Mahendra Dhoni (69).Craig Kieswetter struck 51 but England slipped to 133-5 before rain reduced their target to 218 from 43 overs.But Ravi Bopara (40) and Tim Bresnan (28) added 60 to help Alastair Cook’s side home with seven balls to spare.The home side should have won by a more comfortable margin, but twice failed to capitalise on positions of dominance.
Firstly, they let the tourists recover after their top order was decimated by skilful swing bowling from James Anderson, then later some poor shot selection against the visiting spinners made the run chase much closer than it needed to be.Taking advantage of some helpful conditions after Cook won the toss, Anderson had Ajinkya Rahane caught at first slip, removed Parthiv Patel’s off stump and enticed Virat Kohli to edge behind – as well as running a dawdling Rahul Dravid out with a direct hit.Suresh Raina then aimed an ugly swipe at Stuart Broad and was caught behind, leaving captain Dhoni and Jadeja, who only arrived in the UK on Thursday, to rebuild the innings.
They did so with the help of some conservative captaincy by Cook, accepting the singles on offer on the way to an Oval ODI record sixth-wicket stand of 112.When the batting powerplay was taken, Dhoni skied a Bresnan full toss to Cook at mid-off, but Jadeja found a willing ally in Ravichandran Ashwin and a half-century stand in only 25 balls took the Indians to a respectable total.For a time Kieswetter, who blasted three sixes, and Cook looked set to make a mockery of the run chase with rapid opening partnership of 63 but, after Cook was trapped lbw by Munaf Patel, Kieswetter and Jonathan Trott were bamboozled by the spin of Ashwin and Jadeja respectively.
Rain altered the chase and Ian Bell and Ben Stokes looked to rebuild, only for Bell to be run out in bizarre circumstances by wicketkeeper Dhoni when the ball had barely left the wicket. Stokes was then bowled by an Ashwin full toss after missing a pre-meditated sweep.Bresnan and Bopara added 60 for the sixth wicket but again England struggled against the Indian spin, with Bresnan bowled playing back to Jadeja and Bopara deceived by the flight of Ashwin.However, with only nine required from the final two overs, Broad and Graeme Swann ensured that a much-improved Indian display was not rewarded with a first international victory of the tour. – BBC