Inspired England secure easy win
An enthralling series swung back England's way at Edgbaston with a well-constructed 42-run victory. Chasing 282, India made a decent fist of the pursuit as Sourav Ganguly and Rahul Dravid added 104 in nearly 20 overs, but Chris Tremlett removed both in a vital second spell. Paul Collingwood enjoyed a fine all-round game with 44, two wickets and a couple of sharp catches, while Ian Bell's 79 had held the batting together.
It was a superb collective effort from England's bowlers, without the services of Andrew Flintoff with a knee injury. James Anderson led the display with another mature performance - removing Sachin Tendulkar for the fifth time this summer - and was backed-up by an excellent early spell from Stuart Broad. Tremlett , England's most expensive bowler at Bristol, bounced back from watching his first two overs go for 20 with the key double of Dravid and Ganguly in the space of six balls.
Their third-wicket stand had wrestled back the initiative from England after Tendulkar and Dinesh Karthik picked out off-side fielders against the short ball. Dravid was the first to show aggression, taking 12 off Broad's eighth over, and his 51-ball half-century continued an upturn in form since the one-dayers began. Ganguly settled into playing the anchor role, and his knock included was studded with some fine boundaries. Twice he guided Tremlett through the vacant slip cordon and launched Monty Panesar over long-on for six.
Without Flintoff, and with Tremlett's early profligacy, Collingwood was really tested in the field. Almost all his moves paid off and when he recalled Tremlett for another burst, Dravid chopped one onto his stumps and Ganguly was undone by extra bounce as he tried to find third man again. England had an opening and Collingwood had some breathing space.
As India tried to rebuild for a second time, Collingwood bowled himself, Panesar and Ravi Bopara but managed to keep the asking rate at a tough level. Mahendra Singh Dhoni never unleashed his full power, and when Collingwood brought back Anderson he picked out the captain at backward point.
India had taken a risk by naming a team with a batting order that ended at No. 6. The move had now come back to haunt them with Yuvraj Singh left stranded with the lower order. Collingwood removed Ramesh Powar and Piyush Chawla, both expertly pouched by Bell. If ever there was a match where one team deserved victory for completely out-fielding the opposition this was it. As if to sum up India's lethargy, their last hope vanished when Yuvraj was run-out in a hopeless mix-up with Zaheer Khan.
Both India 's defeats have come after Dravid asked England to bat. Here he had been tempted to bowl because of the 10.15 start but the sun was soon out and there wasn't much joy for the quick bowlers. Alastair Cook - dropped on 15 by RP Singh at long leg - and an unconvincing Matt Prior provided a solid base with 76 before Bell took over.
He followed his unbeaten 126 at the Rose Bowl and 64 at Bristol with another well-paced innings, constantly having to adjust his target as England lost regular wickets. There was another fascinating battle between England's batsmen and India's spinners, who sent down 26 overs after they were introduced well inside the Powerplay and continued as late as the 45th over.
Powar flighted the ball enticingly - some deliveries were as slow as 43mph - and the batsmen struggled to get him away. Chawla again troubled Kevin Pietersen with his googly and changes of pace, beautifully setting him up before Pietersen charged down the track and played all round another wrong 'un.
Bell and Collingwood stabilised the innings although there was a hint of block-or-bash about the approach as both batsmen managed to clear long-on while struggling to milk the runs along the ground. Collingwood's ugly attempt at a reverse sweep found short third-man, ending a stand of 75, just at the time they were aiming to press the accelerator with Bell reaching fifty off 64 balls.
Owais Shah, after a late recall to replace the injured Dimitri Mascarenhas, offered a skittish 19 which included plenty of by-play with Yuvraj. A big full toss was slammed over deep midwicket, the next ball Shah was bowled by a flatter ball and Yuvraj didn't hide his delight. However, it was England who had the last laugh as they continue to exceed expectations in this series.
Andrew McGlashan is a staff writer on Cricinfo