New Delhi: The visiting England team suffered their second successive defeat in the lead-up to the one-day series against India when they went down to Delhi by six wickets, at the Kotla, on Tuesday.
In the first tour match, England had lost to India A, at the Palam ground.
The defeat also meant that Ian Bell’s fine effort of 108 went in vain, just like his knock of 91, at Palam, didn’t help the other day.
The Delhi side, who had failed to reach the knock-out stage of the Ranji Trophy, put up a solid performance to get the better of the touring side.
In Tuesday’s tie, Delhi were even without their top players, like Virender Sehwag, Gautam Gambhir, Virat Kohli and Ishant Sharma.
On a chilly day, England won the toss and scored 294 for five in 50 overs, before Delhi notched up the required runs in 48.3 overs, with skipper Shikhar Dhawan dishing out a spectacular century (110).
The match was finished off by Milind Kumar (78) and Rajat Bhatia (45), who put up a 103 runs partnership in 72 deliveries for the fifth wicket.
Overall, it was southpaw Dhawan’s day at the Kotla. The way he treated the rival bowlers, it could be a cause of worry for the England team management.
His 109-ball innings was studded with 14 fours and three sixes. One of his sixes, off spinner James Tredwell, over midwicket, was so huge that it landed on the second tier of the stands. The six also brought up his century.
Dhawan and Unmukt Chand (37) began the steep run-chase on a convincing note. They duo faced pacers Steve Finn and Jade Dernbach without much difficulty and went on to add 98 in 17.4 overs. Though Chand looked more aggressive of the two openers initially, once he departed, Dhawan came on his own to be in full flow.
But there was no respite for the England bowlers after Dhawan was trapped leg-before by off spinner Joseph Root.
Needing 107 runs off 93 balls, young Milind Kumar and experienced Rajat Bhatia shared a match-winning partnership to pocket the game for the home team.
Twenty-one-year old Milind, playing his only sixth List A match, hit three sixes and seven fours to remain unbeaten on a career best score of 78.
Earlier, England put up an impressive show with the bat.
While Bell stole the show, captain Alastair Cook (44), Eoin Morgan (52) and Craig Kieswetter (41) also made significant contributions. Bell and Morgan shared a fourth-wicket partnership of 113 runs off 91 balls.