When ten men fell like nine pins

Five out of five. The Indian team whoops it up.-PICS: K.R. DEEPAK

It was clean sweep for India as England flattered to deceive in the final ODI of the series in Kolkata. S. Sabanayakan reports.

India completed a 5-0 sweep of the ODI series against England at the famous Eden Gardens on October 25. Ably led by Mahendra Singh Dhoni, India used its spin weapon to good effect to annihilate England and regain the pride lost on the tour of England earlier this year.

India has always been dominating England in India in the 50-over version. The last three series in India, beginning with the 2005-06 season when India won 5-1, have produced fantastic results. Since then it has been a complete sweep for the home side.

Going into the final match of the five-match series 0-4 down, England, which had not been able to adapt itself to the needs of the situation, was expected to lose, but no one was prepared for the way it capitulated!

Chasing 272 at 5.44 per over, the English opening pair of captain Alastair Cook and wicketkeeper Craig Kieswetter played extraordinarily. The right-handed wicketkeeper-batsman was in a punishing mood, while the left-handed skipper was more copybook and rotated the strike.

The two were dictating terms to India, and progressed to 129 runs in 20.2 overs. The low turnout at the Eden Gardens looked resigned to the fate and even the shoulders of the Indian players began to droop.

Indian Captain M.S. Dhoni with the man of the Series Bike. Riding pillion with him are Praveen Kumar and Suresh Raina.-

Condemned to the outfield for the better part of the partnership, Jharkhand's young fast medium bowler Varun Aaron, playing only his second ODI, came on to face the fury of the two Englishmen. But then he had the last laugh, breaching the defence of Cook (60 off 61 balls) with an express delivery.

Left-arm spinner Ravindra Jadeja, shifted from club house end to the far side — a move that proved to be a master stroke of the skipper — opened up the match. The ball gripped and turned as both the Indian spinners, Jadeja and R. Ashwin, exploited the conditions to the hilt. They gave no chance for the Englishmen to regroup and fight. The Saurashtra spinner had Kieswetter (63 off 64 balls) leg before and Jonathan Trott (5) before Ashwin dismissed Ian Bell (2). England lost four wickets for eight runs at this stage and could never recover.

For the addition of just 47 runs (from 129), England lost all 10 wickets with Jadeja (four for 33 off eight overs) and Ashwin (three for 28 off nine overs) the main wicket-takers. Non-regular spinners, Manoj Tiwary and Suresh Raina, too joined in the jamboree to inflict one of the most humiliating defeats on England.

Ravindra Jadeja... telling spin.-

Put in, India had a cautious start as the pitch was not conducive to strokeplay. Indian openers Ajinkya Rahane and Gautam Gambhir put on the team's best partnership for the first wicket in the series. Their 80-run association in 17.1 overs looked a good launching pad, but India slumped to 123 for four in 28 overs.

Raina and Dhoni began the repair work with sensible play, especially the latter who played the role of an anchor to perfection. Raina and Tiwary added 43 for the fourth wicket; Raina and Dhoni put on 39 for the fifth and Dhoni and Jadeja gathered 44 runs for the sixth wicket.

Dhoni, who was adjudged the Man of the Series, stayed till the end to add 60 runs off the final five overs to give India a really competitive target. His unbeaten 75 off 69 balls with three fours and four sixes had shades of caution as well as belligerence. The Englishmen failed to dislodge him even once in four innings in five matches, a fact that will give the Indian captain immense satisfaction.

THE SCORES

India: A. Rahane c Kieswetter b Bresnan 42, G. Gambhir b Finn 38, V. Kohli b Finn 0, S. Raina (run out) 38, M. Tiwary c Kieswetter b Meaker 24, M. S. Dhoni (not out) 75, R. Jadeja c Bell b Patel 21, R. Ashwin c Bairstow b Patel 7, P. Kumar c Bairstow b Patel 16, Vinay Kumar (not out) 0; Extras (b-2, w-8): 10; Total (for eight in 50 overs): 271.

Fall of wickets: 1-80, 2-80, 3-80, 4-123, 5-162, 6-206, 7-215, 8-259.

England bowling: Bresnan 9-0-36-1, Finn 10-2-47-2, Meaker 10-0-65-1, Patel 9-0-57-3, Swann 8-0-45-0, Bopara 4-1-19-0.

England: C. Kieswetter lbw b Jadeja 63, A. Cook b Aaron 60, J. Trott c Kohli b Jadeja 5, I. Bell c Dhoni b Ashwin 2, R. Bopara b Raina 4, J. Bairstow c Rahane b Jadeja 2, S. Patel c Dhoni b Jadeja 18, T. Bresnan c Raina b Tiwary 0, G. Swann (not out) 10, S. Meaker lbw b Ashwin 1, S. Finn c Dhoni b Ashwin 2; Extras (b-4, w-5): 9; Total (all out in 37 overs): 176.

Fall of wickets: 1-129, 2-134, 3-137, 4-137, 5-141, 6-155, 7-156, 8-167, 9-174.

India bowling: P. Kumar 5-0-34-0, V. Kumar 3-0-21-0, Ashwin 9-0-28-3, Tiwary 5-0-28-1, Jadeja 8-0-33-4, Aaron 3-0-19-1, Raina 4-0-9-1.

Man of the Match: R. Jadeja. Man of the Series: M. S. Dhoni.