Mohali: A rejuvenated India clinched the ODI series against England as the hosts rode on the batting heroics of Rohit Sharma 83 and Suresh Raina 89 not out to fashion a comfortable 5-wicket victory in the last but one game and take an unassailable 3-1 lead here on Wednesday.
The Indians 1st restricted the visitors to 257 for 7 and then overcame some anxious moments before overhaul the target with 15 balls to spare in played in cold conditions at the PCA stadium. Though the hosts had the game in control after putting England into bat, they conceded as many as 100 runs in the last ten overs Joe Root 57 not out off 45 balls and Kevin Pietersen 76 providing the late spark with some lusty hits.
It was Rohit Sharma, rated as very talented but one who has seldom delivered, who turned the spotlight on himself as he grab with both hands an unexpected chance to feature in the playing eleven as an opener in place of Ajinkya Rahane. Ravindra Jadeja hit the winning runs by taking 3 off Jade Dernbach to trigger off scenes of wild celebrations in the galleries and the Indian dressing room where the players hugged each other.
India lost opener Gambhir early but the left- hander, who has been out of form for quite a while, was clearly unlucky to have been adjudged caught behind by umpire Steve Davis as replays suggested that there was no edge. Gambhir tried to poke at an outside-the-off stump delivery off Tim Bresnan and the England fielders appealed for a caught behind which was upheld by the umpire. Gambhir was shocked and was seen shaking his head while walking to the pavilion.
Sharma and Virat Kohli steadied the innings with a 52-run partnership for the 2nd before James Treadwell struck for his team in his very 1st over by evicting Kohli for 26.Mohali hero Yuvraj, who joined the action after Kohli dismissal, did not survive long as he fell prey to Treadwell, who trapped him leg before as he went for a pre-meditated sweep shot.
Sharma, who came into the team in place of an out-of-form Rahane, found an able ally in Raina who scored at a brisk race to put the pressure back on the visitors. The pair scored 50 runs off just 37 balls. Rohit Sharma 83 came off 93 balls and contained 11 boundaries and 1 six.
Earlier, put into bat, England lost 3 wickets in fast succession in the middle of the innings after a logically good start, but the young Root unleashed a stunning counter attack to steer the total past the 250 mark, which looked doubtful at one stage.
Root, who clobbered 8 boundaries and one six during his 45-ball blitzkrieg, and Pietersen were largely responsible for England's recovery.
Alastair Cook -76
India Best Bowlers
Ishant and Ashwin each 2 wickets
Ravindra Jadeja-3 wickets
England Best Bowlers
James Tredwell-2 wickets