Vineet Ramakrishnan/Zeenews Sport Bureau
Cardiff: England completed a total clean sweep of India with a victory in the fifth and final ODI at Cardiff by six wickets courtesy a whirlwind 41 off just 21 balls by the debutant Jonny Bairstow and well compiled 63 by Jonathan Trott ably supported by Ravi Boapra’s 37 off 22 deliveries.
The constant rain interruptions meant that the total was revised twice and England succeeded in bettering the total of 240 in 34 overs with 10 balls to spare.
For India Virat Kohli, RP Singh, Vinay Kumar and Ravindra Jadeja picked up one wicket each but none of them was close to being economical.
The debutant Jonny Bairstow won the man of the match award for a powerful cameo of 41 off just 21 balls which included three massive hits over the ropes. He and Ravi Bopara had held their nerves in the end to put England over the line which at one time seemed highly improbable.
Captain Alastair Cook had led the way with a breezy fifty of 54 deliveries before being undone by a slower delivery by Virat Kohli. Jonathan Trott had held the innings together with a knock unlike that of him hitting 63 runs in quick time which surprisingly included his first hits to the ropes in 34 ODIs.
India after putting up a good total were always in the reckoning even after the total was revised twice. But India’s apathy or helplessness in the bowling department was evident with Kohli needing to bowl six overs. He at one stage was the most impressive of all the Indian bowlers on show.
Munaf Patel was carried out of the field in the middle overs leaving Dhoni with nearly no options. The two frontline bowlers for India, Vinay Kumar and RP Singh together bowled 13.2 overs for 93 runs reaping just two wickets in the process. Even Ravinder Jadeja had a bad day conceding more than ten runs per over.
But Jadeja and Ravichandran Ashwin fought it out hard and were ably supported by a good fielding effort.
Earlier in the first innings, On Dravid’s swansong, when ‘The Wall’ complied a well made 69, Virat Kohli took center stage with an enterprising 107 and Dhoni finally came good to launch a late assault on England bowlers to propel India to 304 for 6 in the fifth and final ODI at Cardiff.
Graeme Swann was the pick of the England bowlers with three wickets which included Dravid’s scalp with an economy under four. Dernbach picked up two but he turned out to be the most expensive bowler; his figures being wrecked in the final over by Dhoni which yielded 16 runs.
As Alastair Cook once again won the toss, both Parthiv Patel and Ajinkya Rahane started of cautiously but as has been the case, they became reckless and restless just too early to give back England the advantage early on.
But, Dravid and Kohli came together for last time in ODI to put up the best partnership for India in the entire tour including the Tests. They accumulated 170 runs in just 160 deliveries to negate England any chance to be in the drivers’ seat. Dravid, who came out for the last time in the blues had a resounding welcome and he lived up to the expectation with a typical Dravid-sque knock of 69 of 79 which included four boundaries.
Kohli on the other hand seeped of confidence and as he hit those cover drives he asserted his dominance more and more. The second spinner for England Samit Patel was taken for some runs by the pair even though Graeme Swann bowled a beautiful spell of spin bowling.
By the 40th over the pair had crossed 200 run mark and with wickets in hand a late flurry was definitely on the cards. During the 42 to 45 over both Dravid and Kohli were back in the pavilion with Raina and Dhoni, the two new batsmen on the crease.
Swann was at the other end of Dravid’s final innings as he beat the veteran in the flight. Dravid had danced down the track, was beaten in the flight, the ball rattled the middle and leg stump; ‘The Wall’ had fallen, fallen for one last time on 69. Everyone in the field shook hands with the legend. This was his swansong and as he accumulated his runs, Kohli on the other hand was taking the center stage and probably the limelight as well away from Dravid. But, it’s Dravid, he would have been least bothered.
Kohli then departed hit-wicket scoring a confidence boosting century which showcased not only the youngster’s talent but also the temperament of being a very very good player.
Dhoni then took over and launched his pyrotechnics for the first time in the series and he ended the innings with a wild flourish to set up England a target of 305 in 50 overs.