Vineet Ramakrishnan/Zeenews Sports Bureau
Lords: In a dramatic turn of events at Lord’s, the 4th ODI between India and England was abandoned with scores level -- meaning a tie as per Duckworth Lewis method. The result also sealed the series in favour of England with one more game to go at Cardifff.
With just 7 balls to go and 11 runs to win, heavy showers forced the umpires to stop play a third time in thirty minutes. England were 270 for 8 when rain stopped play with Steven Finn and James Anderson left in the middle without facing a single delivery.
Riding on a brilliant innings by Ravi Bopara (96), England had inched close to victory but when Bopara got out in the very last ball of the day (48.5) before the rain interruption, the England score became at par with that of India as per Duckworth Lewis.
A dramatic and equally chaotic final hour at Lord’s ensured that the match would most definitely go down to the very last ball as but the rain interrupting play left the game unfinished.
Each time the fortunes fluctuated like a pendulum as India were ahead by two runs when the play was stopped the first time around as per Duckworth Lewis method. But on the second occasion, England found themselves edge ahead by two runs.
And the third time, just like a classic movie script England was level with India according to the Duckworth Lewis.
Before the weather started playing spoilsport in a thrilling contest, Ravi Bopara had lead the England chase with dogged determination and clever batting, scoring a valiant 96 before being holed out at deep mid-wicket in the penultimate over.
The second last over which eventually became the last over of the day bowled by Munaf Patel also produced the wicket of Graeme Swann (31 off 23) who was threatening to take the game away from India.
As was the case in the third ODI, it was the spin of Ravichandran Ashwin that put India back in the game after Bopara and Ian Bell (54) had build on a clinical yet substantial partnership of 98 in 120 balls to set the stage for a close encounter.
Ashwin’s control over his line and length coupled with his variations were very impressive.
RP Singh on the other hand made his presence felt in the game with three wickets.
With dark clouds looming large over Lord’s, England had gone a bit out of course losing some quick wickets in the middle with big hitting all-rounder Ben Stokes getting out cheaply immediately after Bell had departed scoring a breezy fifty.
Ravindra Jadeja picked up the timely wicket of Ian Bell who was looking ominous along with Bopara.
After some the early breakthroughs, England had settled in with Bopara and Bell building a handy little partnership. They pushed the ball into the gaps and rotating the strike constantly in chase of the target of 281.
RP Singh provided India a good start with the ball scalping both the openers Craig Kieswetter (12) and Alastair Cook (12) cheaply in quick succession.
Earlier, MS Dhoni and Suresh Raina launched a late attack plundering 62 runs in the batting powerplay to propel Indian to a competitive total of 280 for the loss of five wickets.
Suresh Raina was at uncharted territories in Tests, put come the limited over version, he is a man possessed and a blistering knock of 84 from 77 proved his credentials in this format of the game.
Dhoni ably supported the southpaw with a quick-fire 78 off 71 which included some of his trade mark shots over the top coupled with quick running between the wickets.
Before the onslaught, Raina and Dhoni played out a difficult phase to consolidate the Indian innings when the England bowlers were on top, particularly Graeme Swann.
As they approach the business end of the innings and with wickets in hand the onslaught was beckoning and for the first time in the entire series the momentum was seen shifting towards India.
England captain Alastair Cook succumbed to pressure and looked out of sort as his bowlers were being hammered to all parts of the ground -- a rarity this time around during the English summer.
For England Broad and Swann picked up two wickets each with local lad Steve Finn taking one.
The England blowers were at one time on top of the Indians coking them down in the middle overs. Swann in particular bowled a beautiful spell of spin bowling to keep the Indian batters on their toes.
But Raina and Dhoni gritted out the dry phase to set themselves up for a treat later in the innings.
When it seemed that the pair of Rahul Dravid (19) and Virat Kohli (16) where stringing together a little partnership early on, Swann picked up both set batsmen in the same over to leave India at a very precarious situation with four wickets down for 110 runs in 26 overs.
Broad, who came in as the second change bowler for England had also struck twice in successive overs removing both the Indian openers Parthiv Patel (27) and Ajinkya Rahane (38) in quick succession.
Parthiv Patel, who had dealt with the short pitch delivery quite well during the series, was done in by a short one as he scooped a simple catch to Bopara at short mid-on for 27 which included three boundaries and a six.
Rahane again after a cautious start was looking good but got out at the wrong time for 38 off 53 deliveries. Broad had provided the first breakthrough in his very first over with a well disguised slower delivery.
Earlier, Rahane and Patel started off the proceeding in the fourth ODI in a rather iffy fashion in bowling friendly conditions with local lad Steven Finn throwing his wait around the Indian openers.