India v England, 5th ODI, Dharamsala January 27, 2013

Bell century leads England to consolation win

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England 227 for 3 (Bell 113*) beat India 226 (Raina 83, Bresnan 4-45) by seven wickets
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details

Ian Bell's third one-day century guided England to a consolation victory in the fifth and final ODI against India to bookend an ultimately disappointing tour with a second success. Although the series was already lost, a 3-2 defeat represents a marked improvement on recent efforts in the country, but Alastair Cook's chief regret will be that his side took so long to put in a second accomplished performance, after they had taken a 1-0 lead in Rajkot a little more than two weeks ago.

The bowlers, lead by Tim Bresnan, Steven Finn and James Tredwell, had made good use of Cook winning the toss to restrict India to 226, despite a fighting 83 from Suresh Raina, and England looked to have a modest hike ahead of them in order to secure only a third ODI win against India at home in 23 attempts. At times, the target seemed to loom higher than the Himalayas visible behind Dharamsala's multicoloured pavilion but Bell is an experienced climber these days and Eoin Morgan brought along his spare oxygen canister to ease the ascent at the end.

Like Raina, whose fourth half-century in as many innings helped drag India from a potentially disastrous 79 for 5 earlier in the day, Bell was not entirely secure at the crease, twice edging past his stumps early on and struggling to time the ball as the surface got slower. But he stuck around as England lost two wickets for 11 runs in 6.2 overs and after a diligent, restorative partnership with Joe Root, he began to look more imposing, stepping out of his crease to hit the disappointing R Ashwin for six and striking timely boundaries whenever the asking rate began to enquire a little more urgently.

Although Root was bowled by Ravindra Jadeja, slogging across the line in ungainly fashion after another level-headed knock, Morgan buckled down before adding a few flourishes of his own to ease England past their target with 16 balls to spare. At 1317 metres above sea level, the Himachal Pradesh Cricket Association Stadium is among the loftiest international grounds in the world and Morgan seemed keen to see just how far he could hit a six in the thin mountain air.

Despite being described as a match of "no consequence" in some local papers, India chose not to experiment with their line-up, again leaving Cheteshwar Pujara on the bench. They could perhaps have done with his monkish self-discipline, as Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli departed to consecutive deliveries via loose drives outside off to trigger a top-order collapse. It was left to Raina, India's leading run-scorer in the series, and Jadeja, who has also toyed regularly with England over the last month, to pull things together with a spiky, 78-run partnership, before some late hitting from the tail, combined with a rash of dropped catches, helped the score towards respectability.

Before the match, Raina had expressed a desire to usurp one of his colleagues up the order and he made good use of a longer spell at the crease after coming in during the seventh over. A harsher judge, however, may conclude that he failed to construct the truly big innings that the situation provided an opportunity for.

England have been quiescent opponents in the past for Raina, who improved his average against them to 47.47 with his 11th fifty, but he was allowed let-offs on 5 and 61 before pulling idly to midwicket with a hundred in sight. The first was a difficult, diving chance that would have completed a hat-trick of slip catches for Tredwell but the latter opportunity, grassed by Cook at backward square leg, was much more straightforward.

Perhaps Raina was deserving of some benevolence after the fiery start England's bowlers made in chilly, if bright, conditions. The Dalai Lama is based in exile at nearby McLeodganj but the early exchanges were far from peaceable on a hard, fast surface with enough juice in it to make a Tibetan monk sit up and blink.

There was initial seam movement on offer for Finn but it was Bresnan who made the first incursion, removing ersatz opener Rohit. Having timed one exquisite square drive for four, Rohit attempted a reprise to a slightly wider delivery that drifted further away from his crease-bound push, the ball slicing off the outside edge to the right of Tredwell at second slip, where he took a tumbling catch. The very next ball produced a facsimile swish from Kohli, though Tredwell went in for a bit of variety on this occasion, juggling the ball three times in front of the kneeling Cook before grasping it for good with a giddy grin.

When Yuvraj got a thick edge to point trying to turn Finn through square leg, the match was beginning to resemble an early season encounter in England - at least in temperature and bowling conditions, if not the setting. It could have been even better for England had Raina's edge off Chris Woakes - replacing Jade Dernbach - stuck but he battled pugnaciously after being hit on the shoulder by his first ball, from Finn.

Tredwell has spent the one-day series doing a passable impression of Graeme Swann, particularly to left-handers, and he had Gautam Gambhir caught by the sprawling Bell at point. The wicket came from Tredwell's second ball, an immediate, Swann-esque intervention, and England's delight ratcheted up further when Finn won an lbw decision against MS Dhoni. Only during the spells of the part-time bowlers, Root and Samit Patel, did India's batsmen display any sense of comfort. Their combined 11 overs cost 80 runs as Raina gave India one last spin of the prayer wheel in pursuit of 4-1 - but he could not turn a molehill into a mountain.

Alan Gardner is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • TLKC on January 30, 2013, 5:24 GMT

    Have to agree with Jackiethpen. Bell - highest number of runs scored, highest average for the series. Hardly disappointing. The only thing England needed to win the series was a good tosser!

  • Harmony111 on January 29, 2013, 18:20 GMT

    The case of Pujara vs other Indian batsmen is that of a man Akash who is madly in love with an awesome woman Ramya for 3 years and then sees another terrific woman Binya (single & flirty) joining his office as intern. Akash knows that if he tries a bit then Binya would be his but even though he is tempted by this possibility he just can't leave Ramya for no reason. In fact, even if he had some issues with Ramya he would/should first try to fix them and move out ONLY if they are irretrievably broken.

    It would make no sense for Akash to ask Ramya to leave just cos Binya was there now. Firstly, Akash has no issues with Ramya and Binya is just a stranger woman and who knows what she may be like in reality? If he tries for Binya and she disappoints him then with what face will he go back to Ramya?

    Replace Akash with MSD, Binya with CP & Ramya with GG/RS/VK/YS/SR/RJ.

    Forget about ethics & morals, even from PoV of logic it would be stupid to do such sort of an experiment.

  • Harmony111 on January 29, 2013, 17:28 GMT

    All those who love Pujara, it is one thing to root for your fav player and nothing's wrong in it and it is completely diff thing to start blaming the captain or ascribing malicious motives to his decisions just cos he is not going as per your thinking. First of all, they need to explain this excessive support for Pujara. Por boy has played a handful of tests and has had some success but by no means AND BY NO MEANS WHATSOEVER does he look like a finished product to me even in the longer format. He is good but not all that good as of now that you start talking of him as any sort of hope. Doing so will only put him under more pressure.

    A guy here is often seen here saying O Pujara O Pujara, claims that Pujara would have scored a 100 just like Bell never mind it would have been his debut match, claims that Pujara already is captaincy candidate and thus MS dislikes/fears him and then says he is a realistic guy.

    I would love to see CP play but I also see MSD's PoV. Sad some ppl can't/don't

  • Harmony111 on January 29, 2013, 16:41 GMT

    @wakaPAK & @mzm149 : WT20 may not have World Cup in its name but I am sure you would agree that it is the most (& in fact only) reputed tournament where various national T20 teams compete. You can't say the same for ICC Champions Trophy. It is neither here not there as it has a more reputed more coveted World Cup towering above it. And your talk about WT20 not being a World Cup technically is funny really. When Pak won the WT20 & its players were not bought in IPL it was said that Pak players were not bought even though they were World Champions. You and I both know very well that ICC WT20 is World Cup indeed.

    And like I said, include ICC CT too if you want, India have won it too & been runner up once, your Pak team never even reached the finals (or even the SF IIRC). +2/+4 for Finalists/Winner is obvious. You get more points for winning titles than winning matches - ok?

    If Pak reaches finals or wins then Pak should get +2/+4, why shud Ind get -2/-4? Rubbish.

    India still winning.

  • VIRATKOHLI_PAKAYA_HUTHTHA on January 29, 2013, 16:37 GMT

    @Fast_Track_Bully, we have drawn a test series in South Africa 1-1 in our inaugural tour there in 1998. You asked the question " What you have archived there?". Haha we dont go on tours to archive anything. We play to win always unlike your power greedy BCCI who wants to own cricket and ruin it always. If cricket is extinct, BCCI is to blame.

    Haha grow up. What is the issue about the world T20? We were a better team and we made it to the semi finals but India FAILED to make it to the T20 semi finals just like you all failing to qualify for the semis of the 2009 and 2010 T20 world cups.

    We managed to thrash England 3-0 in tests in UAE but you all lost 2-1 to England at home in front of all home fans. If not for umpiring specials in aid of India, we would have seen a 4-0 triumph for England in the tests and a 5-0 triumph for England in ODIs. Aussies will have no trouble winning 4-0 in tests shortly unless umpires come to India's rescue at the helms of BCCI. Cricinfo please publish.

  • VIRATKOHLI_PAKAYA_HUTHTHA on January 29, 2013, 16:15 GMT

    @Fast_Track_Bully we never have umpires giving test matches against Bangladesh. Bangladesh deserves more respect cos they are no minnows unlike you. Keep living in a deluded world.

    You minnows are pure flat track bullies. What is the fastness as your name implies? Pakistan are the fast track bullies for producing the greatest pace bowlers ever. We are also spin track bullies for producing top class spinners. Your nation has produced all over hyped overrated batsmen. Your side is nothing but mediocre to the maximum that Afghanistan can easily beat you for sure. Should India make it to 2nd round of the next T20 world cup, it is the biggest upset of the century.

  • Harmony111 on January 29, 2013, 14:41 GMT

    @wakaPAK & @mzm149 : WT20 may not have World Cup in its name but I am sure you would agree that it is the most (& in fact only) reputed tournament where various national T20 teams compete. You can't say the same for ICC Champions Trophy. It is neither here not there as it has a more reputed more coveted World Cup towering above it. And your talk about WT20 not being a World Cup technically is funny really. When Pak won the WT20 & its players were not bought in IPL it was said that Pak players were not bought even though they were World Champions. You and I both know very well that ICC WT20 is World Cup indeed.

    And like I said, include ICC CT too if you want, India have won it too & been runner up once, your Pak team never even reached the finals (or even the SF IIRC). +2/+4 for Finalists/Winner is obvious. You get more points for winning titles than winning matches - ok?

    If Pak reaches finals or wins then Pak should get +2/+4, why so Ind get -2/-4? Rubbish.

    India still winning, HaHa

  • Fast_Track_Bully on January 29, 2013, 9:19 GMT

    @pakistan_victorious. Minnows pakistan will be thrashed by SA for sure. Atleast India leveled a series in SA. What you have archived there? An understanding with Australia make your team to the semis in T20 recently and your umpires give you a test match against BD. Are you not aware about it? Grow up minnow fan.

  • CandidIndian on January 29, 2013, 5:17 GMT

    Nampally -Actually the problem lies in the fact that Pujara is not a big name in IPL.Since SA tour ,two years back Sehwag failed in every test series including the ones being played at home.He was playing due his reputation and nothing more,same applies on Gambhir. With this reputation quota system in place , many utility players will not get the chance,so be prepared to get disappointed.

  • ravi-1967 on January 29, 2013, 4:30 GMT

    Well played India. The first match was closely fought and after the debacle against England in the test series and Pakistan in the ODIs it was a remarable turnaround.

    Positives from this series have been Dhoni / Raina as usual and B Kumar.

    Disappointing were Gambhi, Kohli, Rahane and Rohit. Aswin was pathetic and the selectors need to relook at his place in the team. He has become of zero value and needs to go back to the zonal games and rework on his approach.

    Bhajji should be brought back for the series agains Australia.

    Sehwag need not be considered as he may not be fit enough for the 2015 world cup in Australia.

    Suggested ODI team

    Rahane , Rohit, Kohli, Pujara, Yuvraj, Raina, Dhoni, Jadeja, B Kumar, Ishanth / Amit Mishra, Shami Ahmed.

    Ideal team keeping in mind the WC 2015 should