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Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Monday, January 28, 2013
Sports

England narrow gap

England batsman Ian Bell slashes at one during his unbeaten century against India in the 5th one-day-international in Dharamsala on Sunday. PHOTO: INTERNET

India paid the price for some poor shot selection by their top-order batsmen as England rode on Ian Bell's unbeaten century to salvage some pride by winning the fifth and final one-dayer by seven wickets and reduce the margin of defeat to 3-2 in Dharamsala on Sunday.

The visitors first dismissed the hosts for a modest 226 and then relied on Bell's third ODI ton -- 113 not out -- to overhaul the target with 16 balls to spare at the picturesque HPCA Stadium which hosted its first international match.

The Indians, who had already clinched the series in Mohali by taking an unassailable 3-1 lead, were done in by some poor shots by their top-order batsmen and could never really recover from the early jolts despite Suresh Raina's brilliant effort of 83 under pressure.

Tim Bresnan caused the bulk of the damage with 4 for 45 while Steven Finn and James Tredwell chipped in with two wickets apiece as the English bowlers exploited the bowler-friendly conditions after winning the toss and putting the home side into bat.

The Indians slumped to a precarious 79 for five as Gautam Gambhir (24), Rohit Sharma (4), Virat Kohli (0), Yuvraj Singh (0) and captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni (15) perished in quick succession with some of them playing atrocious shots.

Raina's brilliant counter-attacking 83 off 98 balls and and some useful contri-butions from Ravindra Jadeja (39) and Bhuvneshwar Kumar (31) took India to 226.

In their bid to chase down the target of 227, England openers Alastair Cook and Ian Bell started confidently putting in 53 runs before Ishant Sharma, who bowled an incisive first spell, broke the partnership.

Bell, by far England's most consistent ODI player in recent times, carried on with minimum fuss, punishing the bowlers for loose balls and also guiding the talented Joe Root as the duo cruised along in their 79-run third wicket stand.

Bell was joined by another seasoned pro in Eoin Morgan who hit Ravichandran Ashwin for a huge six followed by even bigger sixes off Shami Ahmed's bowling as they closed the match with consummate ease.

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