Blues ruled Manchester. Blues ruled Mumbai. The day when City pumped in six past United in the Super Sunday EPL derby, India registered a six-wicket win over England at the Wankhede Stadium.
The display of fireworks behind the MCA Stand at the far end served two purposes: celebration of India's fourth consecutive victory over England and try out the Diwali stocks. Going into the final ODI at Eden Gardens, another clinical performance by India and another below-par showing by England’s batsmen have raised hopes of a repeat of 2008’s 5-0 whitewash.
Playing away from the body had never looked as elegant as Virat Kohli repeatedly penetrated the cover region. Suresh Raina committed hara-kiri, losing his cool against Steven Finn to perish for a 62-ball 80, ending a 131-run stand for the fourth wicket with Kohli.
Ever the finisher
From the time Raina came to the crease with India on the backfoot having lost three wickets early, he played his shots. He helped Kohli get his eye in, clearing the in-field with shots that forced the field back. On a wicket that was getting slower, the singles took India close. A flurry of boundaries towards the end stamped their authority.
Post Mumbai, England’s batting in Mohali looked a flash in the pan. The Mohali wicket had a fair bit of grass and helped the ball on to the bat. England posted close to 300 there and lost. Here, on a wicket similar to the one in Hyderabad, England once again lost their way. For the third time in four matches their batting did not last 50 overs. Once Jonathan Trott and Kevin Pietersen were dismissed following a brief phase of consolidation.
Trott was bowled through the gate by Vinay Kumar. Pietersen was dismissed following a spectacular catch by substitute fielder Manoj Tiwary. Tim Bresnan at No. 8 with a run-a-ball 45 helped England get past 200.
A display of controlled reverse swing late in the innings came in the form of 21-year-old Varun Aaron.
A 19-ball burst to wipe out the tail helped the debutant make a point. Only after Praveen Kumar gave away 10 wides in the 39th over with two deliveries way down the leg-side to Samit Patel did skipper MS Dhoni recall his Jharkhand teammate. England were 192 for 7 then.
He removed Scott Borthwick's off-stump with a really quick one that kept low. The in-swinging yorkers were on target and he mixed them up with ones slightly short of length.