Indian eves complete sweep

NANDAKUMAR MARAR

THE cushion of a series victory notwithstanding, Anjum Chopra ensured against any lowering of guard as India completed a 5-0 rout over England in the five-match Hero Honda one-day series, guiding India to a thrilling six-wicket win at Pune in the fifth and final match. Coming close on the heels of an all-round performance in the fourth one-dayer at Mumbai where the home team won by five wickets, it is a clear indication of her emergence as a competent leader. The Indian skipper's personal example on the field was not lost on her teammates, each one contributing her bit to snuff out the visiting team's aspirations.

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Winning can be contagious, as was evident in the last two games when India, forced to chase sizable targets, won with plenty to spare. Openers Anju Jain (48 with seven fours) and Amrita Shinde (78, 11 fours) put on 117 runs at Pune's Nehru stadium, the quickfire start taking the demon out of the bowling for their colleagues down the batting order. England's total of 180 in 50 overs, built on a series high 134-run first wicket stand between Caroline Atkins and Arron Thompson, was overhauled in 46.4 overs.

England skipper Clare Connor admitted her side was playing for pride after having lost the first three one-day games, but eventually had to settle for less after Anjum prodded her team to a five-wicket victory at the MIG Club, Bandra, in the fourth one-dayer conducted by Air-India. The Indians put England under pressure with excellent fielding, one low catch and three run-outs coming in the first session itself.

Anjum had a hand in two of these dismissals as England slumped from 89 without loss to 114 for four. Both openers Caroline Atkins (28 off 73 balls) and Arron Thompson (55, 109) got run out, the former falling to a direct hit from mid-off by the Indian skipper and her partner unable to beat wicket-keeper Anju Jain's throw. A fine reflex catch at mid-on by Anjum off a drive by Mandie Godliman put England in further trouble.

Arundhati Kirkire, emulating her skipper's feats on the field, ran out Jackie Hawker. England's middle order, under pressure to build up on the start given by the openers followed by the unexpected dismissals, fell to left-arm spinner Neetu David's nagging accuracy (10-3-13-4). The visiting team reached a tour high of 142 in the 48th over before getting bowled out, but this total was not enough to stop the charged-up Indians whose post-wicket celebrations gave an indication of the mood in the team.

Anjum Chopra's hunger for success was not satiated yet. The 25-year-old Indian skipper strode to the crease at the fall of Mithali Raj's wicket (27 off 39 balls, five fours) in the 14th over and quietly took charge of fashioning India's reply. A left-hander whose batting has blossomed with responsibility, the New Delhi girl took the English bowling apart with the assurance of an experienced performer.

Mithali Raj was named the Woman of the Series.-

She got six fours in her 49 not out off 96 balls, hitting through the line against both medium-pace and spin and ran the singles hard as India coasted home in 41.5 overs, losing five wickets. A round of applause greeted Anjum's walk back to the pavilion, deprived of a half-century because the winning run came off a wide, but content at having seen her side through one more time.

Like a true leader, Anjum then spoke about her confidence in the team's ability, though the confident feeling in the Indian camp has a lot to do with her presence out in the middle. This is only her first series as captain, but she is already playing like a battle-hardened campaigner, handling pressure in such a composed manner at 25, that Purnima Rau, her first captain in the 1995 Centenary series in New Zealand, would have approved of.

At Mumbai:

The scores: England: C. Atkins (run out) 28, A. Thompson (run out) 55, M. Godliman c Anjum b David 6, J. Hawker (run out) 2, C. Connor c Jain b Kulkarni 7, L. Newton b Goswami 14, J. Cassar b David 5, D. Holden b Goswami 0, S. Clarke (not out) 1, C. Taylor b David 0, L. Pearson lbw David 0. Extras (b-1, lb-6, nb-3, w-13) 23. Total (in 48 overs) 142.

Fall of wickets: 1-89, 2-104, 3-106, 4-114, 5-120, 6-137, 7-141, 8-141, 9-142.

Amrita Shinde, who scored a brilliant 78 in the last one-dayer at Pune, was declared Woman of the Match.-

India bowling: Jhulen Goswami 9-2-26-2, Sunita Singh 7-0-23-0, Mamta Maben 1-0-6-0, Anjum Chopra 4-0-21-0, Deepa Kulkarni 10-1-27-1, Neetu David 10-3-13-4, Amrita Shinde 7-0-19-0.

India: A. Jain c Godliman b Pearson 0, A. Shinde c Cassar b Pearson 13, M. Raj b Holden 27, A. Chopra (not out) 49, H. Kala c Atkins b Clarke 18, M. Maben (run out) 16, A. Kirkire (not out) 1. Extras (nb-1, w-18) 19. Total (for five wkts. in 41.5 overs) 143.

Fall of wickets: 1-2, 2-36, 3-49, 4-95, 5-138.

England bowling: Lucy Pearson 10-2-24-2, Laura Newton 4-0-23-0, Clare Connor 6-1-19-0, Dawn Holden 8.5-0-24-1, Clare Taylor 8-1-24-0, Sarah Clarke 5-2-16-1.

At Pune:

The scores: England: C. Atkins (run out) 53, A. Thompson (run out) 65, J. Hawker (run out) 16, J. Cassar (run out) 0, C. J. Connor c Kala b David 4, S. Clarke c Chopra b Kulkarni 1, L. K. Newton (not out) 4, C. E. Taylor (not out) 8, Extras (lb-9, w-19, nb-1) 29, Total (for six wkts. in 50 overs) 180.

Indian skipper Anjum Chopra is greeted by members of the England team after India registered a five-wicket victory in the fourth one-day international in Mumbai.-VIVEK BENDRE

Fall of wickets: 1-134, 2-153, 3-153, 4-166, 5-168, 6-168.

India bowling: Jhulen 10-1-33-0, Singh 6-0-22-0, Chopra 3-0-17-0, Nooshin 10-0-23-0, Kulkarni 10-1-33-1, David 8-0-28-1, Amrita 3-0-15-0.

India: A. Jain c Newton b Thompson 48, P. S. Amrita c & b Newton 78, A. Chopra b Holden 8, M. Raj b Taylor 21, H. Kala (not out) 4, K. Arundhati (not out) 4, Extras (w-18, nb-1) 19, Total (for four wkts. in 46.4 overs) 182.

Fall of wickets: 1-117, 2-131, 3-166, 4-176.

England bowling: Pearson 4-0-28-0, Taylor 8-1-17-1, Connor 8.4-2-34-0, Newton 7-0-35-1, Holden 10-2-27-1, Clarke 3-0-20-0, Thompson 6-1-21-1.