Birmingham: England made short work of a long India tail at Edgbaston on Monday to win the third one-day International by 42 runs and take a 2-1 lead in the seven-match series.
India, chasing 282 to win, matched the required strike rate when their specialist batsmen were at the crease but the lower order were unable to maintain the momentum. After reaching 190 for four, the visitors collapsed to 239 all out from 48.1 overs in reply to England’s 281 for eight.
England’s innings was anchored by Warwickshire’s Ian Bell, who struck 79 off 89 balls with two sixes on his home ground. It was his third consecutive ODI score in excess of 50.
The home team got away to a fine start, racing to 76 in 14 overs after Rahul Dravid had won the toss and decided to field on a fine, sunny morning.
Matt Prior (34 from 40 balls) again got a start but failed to carry on and the introduction of spinners Ramesh Powar and Piyush Chawla soon accounted for Alastair Cook (40) and an unusually hesitant Kevin Pietersen (9).
Captain Paul Collingwood helped Bell steady things with a knock of 44 in 53 balls before he was caught off Powar from an ugly reverse sweep.
Collingwood had been fortunate to survive a confident lbw appeal from part-time spinner Yuvraj. Powar finished with two for 45 from his 10 overs while Chawla claimed one for 50.
India’s run chase suffered early double blow with Sachin Tendulkar (8) and Dinesh Karthik (0) returning in quick succession and that did not augur well for the side.
Sachin’s fluffed uppercut found Collingwood at point to end his 19-ball stay in the middle and a sequel of the disaster was just five deliveries away.
This time, it was Karthik who perished more or less in the same fashion with Stuart Broad being the bowler and Cook the catcher. India were in early trouble at 36 for two.
Former captain Sourav Ganguly and Dravid steadied the innings with a partnership of 104 in 19 overs, reaching their half-centuries in the same over.
Beaten in the opener at Southampton, India drew parity with a close win in the Bristol run-feast and both the sides now move to Manchester for the fourth tie of the seven-match series scheduled on Thursday with the hosts enjoying a 2-1 lead. The highlight of England’s victory was their top-class fielding.
Sourav had shown glimpses of old aggression by hitting Anderson for four boundaries in the same over, including three in a row, but he too recoiled after the back-to-back setbacks.
Dravid reached his 81st one-day half century off 51 balls with a single through cover.
Two balls later, Sourav joined him for his 69th ODI fifty and soon after became the fourth man to get more than 11,000 ODI runs when he ran a single to reach 61.
Dravid was out for 56, edging the ball into his own stumps, and 12 balls later, wicketkeeper Matt Prior took an athletic catch after Sourav had edged the ball. Sourav now has 11,011 runs — fourth on the list. Teammate Sachin Tendulkar leads the chart with 15,175 runs.
Sourav took four boundaries off an Anderson over and Dravid was almost as severe on Stuart Broad, striking three fours in another.
England allrounders Andrew Flintoff and Dimitri Mascarenhas were ruled out through injury.
Flintoff injured a knee fielding in the second one-dayer while Mascarenhas took a blow on his hand during the warm-up. They were replaced by batsman Owais Shah and left-arm spinner Monty Panesar.