Nov 24, 2008

Sport - Cricket;India thwart England to clinch one-day series

BANGALORE (Reuters) - India grabbed crucial wickets in the final overs to win the fourth one-dayer against England by 19 runs under the Duckworth-Lewis method on Sunday to take an unbeatable 4-0 lead in the seven-match series.

India's left-arm bowler Zaheer Khan dismissed Owais Shah for 72 and fast bowler Ishant Sharma sent back Andrew Flintoff for 41 in successive overs in the final powerplay to derail England's spectacular chase of a revised target of 198.

The pair had put on 82 off just 48 balls for the fourth wicket after a slow start by the tourists in the rain-affected day-night match.

"At the end we were done in by an Indian side that is playing fantastic cricket," said England captain Kevin Pietersen. "We are still going to make sure that the rest of the competition is very, very competitive."

Put in to bat in overcast conditions, India made 166 for four in the allotted 22 overs after the innings was twice interrupted by rain.

Aggressive opener Virender Sehwag lashed his second successive half century (69) and shared in a 79-run second-wicket stand with Gautam Gambhir (40) to give India a solid start.

England, looking to turn around a poor run of form, lost openers Ravi Bopara (1) and Ian Bell (12) plus Pietersen (5) by the ninth over with the total on 52.

But Shah, who hit his second fifty of the series, and Flintoff staged a remarkable fightback with a calculated assault, especially on the spinners.

The pair turned on the heat when England needed 110 off the last 10 overs and 63 from the last five overs, with two overs of the final powerplay still remaining.


The experienced Zaheer dismissed Shah, caught by Sachin Tendulkar at point, and in the next over Sharma's slower delivery outfoxed Flintoff who was caught by Zaheer at extra cover to apply the brakes on the tourists.

"I think our boys gave a real good run for their money, added Pietersen. "Owais Shah batted fantastically today., Freddie (Andrew Flintoff) helped him out with some good contributions."

"It is not nice to lose 4-0 but at the end of the day we lost to India who beat Australia convincingly (with a 2-0 test series victory) and are playing real good cricket."

England beat South Africa 4-0 in a one-day series at home in September but have struggled with their batting since the Stanford competition in the Caribbean last month.

India's Zaheer, who put in a fine performance, dismissed Samit Patel (11) to trigger England's lower order collapse.

"Overall, it was good team effort," India captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni said. "Zaheer bowled really well with Ishant (Sharma)."

India put on 60 in the last five overs after the second stoppage thanks to Yuvraj Singh's 11-ball 25 not out with three sixes.

Tendulkar fell early to Stuart Broad for 11 but man of the match Sehwag then took control, playing breathtaking drives and pulls as he lashed nine fours and three sixes in his 57-ball knock.

Sehwag and Gambhir were eventually dismissed by off-spinner Graeme Swann caught by James Anderson in the deep looking for quick runs.

The fifth one-dayer will be played at Cuttack on Wednesday.

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