Sharma, Raina shine as India clinch ODI series
Mohali: A rejuvenated India clinched the one-day 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 five-wicket victory in the penultimate game and take an unassailable 3-1 lead in North Indian city Mohali on Wednesday.
The Indians first restricted the visitors to 257 for seven and then overcame some anxious moments before overhauling the target with 15 balls to spare in a floodlit contest 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 with unheralded Joe Root (57 not out off 45 balls) and Kevin Pietersen (76) providing the late sparks with some lusty hits.
Captain Alastair Cook was another notable performer with a knock of 76.
But the Indians held their nerve during the run chase and it was ultimately Raina who guided the team home.
It was a creditable series victory for Mahendra Singh Dhoni and his men who had come under fire for indifferent performances in recent times, which saw the team lose a Test series to England and an ODI series defeat against arch rivals Pakistan at home.
It was Rohit Sharma, rated as highly talented but one who has seldom delivered, who turned the spotlight on himself as he grabbed with both hands an unexpected opportunity to feature in the playing eleven as an opener in place of Ajinkya Rahane.
Sharma proved his class with some delightful shots to lay the foundation for the chase and his show will enhance his chances of cementing a place in the ODI team.
Ravindra Jadeja hit the winning runs by taking three off Jade Dernbach to trigger off scenes of wild celebrations in the galleries and the Indian dressing room where the players hugged each other.