Bangalore witnessed two contests on Sunday: the one between India and England, and the other between man and nature. And the outcome of both the contests would have warmed the hearts of the big crowd on a rather cold night as India defeated England by 19 runs after (grounds) man surmounted the challenge posed by nature in preparing the drenched ground, though for a 22-over a side match.
In winning this game, India also clinched the series as now they lead 4-0 in the 7-match series.
The struggle between man and nature started when the skies opened up as early as in 14th over of the day-night encounter, with India racing ahead at 82 for the loss of Sachin Tendulkar. And just when the match had seen three more overs after the groundsmen had drained out the water, the clouds returned once again, emptied themselves, leaving India at 106 for 1 in 17 overs with little chance of play resuming again.
But the groundsmen were out in a flash as soon as clouds moved away, and, quite amazingly, they had the ground ready again after almost three hours of hard work, though for a game reduced to 22-over-a-side.
India, which had already used up their 17 overs, had just five overs left to push their total to a fighting level. And Sehwag gave them the perfect start, smashing six off the first ball. He unfortunately fell for a scintillating 69 off just 62 balls, but the momentum of the innings did not wane as Yuvraj blasted 25 runs off just 11 balls, studded with three huge sixes. Eventually, India finished at 166 for 4, setting England a target of 167, which was changed to 198 as per the Duckworth Lewis system.
Earlier, Pietersen's luck continued with the toss, and he put India into bat. It looked that the English skipper got it right this time in asking India to bat on what should have been a wicket with good moisture under overcast conditions.
However, that was not to be. The Duckworth Lewis stepped in again, and, quite remarkably, raised the target from a gettable 166 to almost impossible 198 in the same overs.
England would have felt hard done by, but they came out with a positive intent and tried their best to make a match of it. They even looked in the game when Owais Shah (72) and Flintoff (41) were together at the crease. The duo overcame a somewhat sluggish start and brought England back in hunt with some powerful hitting.
But as they seemed prepared for the final assault, Zaheer Khan removed Shah and Ishant Sharma accounted for Flintoff, thereby practically ending England's hot pursuit. Eventually, England were restricted to 178 for 8, falling short by 19 runs.
India - Virender Sehwag, Sachin Tendulkar, Gautam Gambhir, Suresh Raina, MS Dhoni(c&wk), Yuvraj Singh, Yusuf Pathan, Harbhajan Singh, Zaheer Khan, Ishant Sharma, Munaf Patel
England - Ian Bell, Matt Prior(wk), Owais Shah, Kevin Pietersen(c), Andrew Flintoff, Paul Collingwood, Samit Patel, Ravi Bopara, Stuart Broad, Gramme Swann, James Anderson