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Yuvraj Singh, MS Dhoni centuries power India to series win over England

Yuvraj Singh and Mahendra Singh Dhoni scored centuries as Indian cricket team reached a mammoth 381/6 in the second ODI. Ravichandran Ashwin took 3/65 as England fell 15 runs short chasing under lights at Cuttack’s Barabati Stadium. India won three-match series 2-0

cricket Updated: Jan 20, 2017 09:02 IST
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India beat England by 15 runs in Cuttack’s Barabati Stadium on Thursday to win the three-match series 2-0. (PTI)

India wrapped up the ODI series against England with a 15-run win at the Barabati Stadium on Thursday. Set a target of 382, thanks to brilliant centuries by Yuvraj Singh and Mahendra Singh Dhoni, England stayed in the hunt till late into their innings. The short boundaries coupled with heavy dew played their part to help the side batting second. (BLOG| SCORECARD)

England skipper Eoin Morgan led the charge once opener Jason Roy and Joe Root set up the chase with a century partnership. Morgan got to his century off 80 balls with six fours and five sixes. Liam Plunkett hung in with him till it was 28 needed off 10 balls, which given the counterattack England staged, seemed perfectly gettable.

That was when a run out tilted the match back in India’s favour. Eoin Morgan was dismissed at the non-striker’s end after he backed up quite a bit. England needed 22 off the final over by Bhuvneshwar Kumar. The highlight of India’s bowling was three crucial wickets by Ravichandran Ashwin. England did not help themselves losing wickets at critical junctures.

Yuvraj Singh shines as Virat Kohli fails

Fans were yet to settle down when India skipper Virat Kohli was walking back to the pavilion disappointed. Yuvraj Singh walked in. India were 22 for two in the third over. Into the fifth over, the other 35-year-old in this crop of young India, Mahendra Singh Dhoni, joined the left-hander in the middle.

A phase of lull followed. Ball, not Jake though, dominated the bat as India began their arduous task of rebuilding. England’s Chris Woakes was right on the money having bagged all the three wickets to fall. But then, India’s ‘golden oldies’ had other designs in store.

They did rebuild and then dominated the proceedings completely turning the match on its head. Something that young India, read Virat Kohli and Kedar Jadhav, did in Pune, the oldies bettered it in Cuttack. In the process, Dhoni and Yuvraj stitched together a partnership of 256 runs for the fourth wicket and India posted a healthy 381 for six.

Yuvraj Singh scores 14th ODI ton

Yuvraj Singh scored 150 off 127 balls with 21 fours and three sixes. This was his 14th ODI hundred, his highest ever ODI score bettering his 139 against Australia in Sydney in 2004. This, coming from someone, who before this series, last played an ODI in 2013 against South Africa at the Centurion.

Dhoni brought up his 10th ODI hundred. His 134 came off 122 balls with 10 fours and six sixes. This was the former India skipper’s first ODI century after a gap of four years.

Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s big role

Bulk of the credit for this match-winning partnership should go to Dhoni. He took strike to Chris Woakes and kept offering him the dead bat. Yuvraj Singh, initially finding it difficult to gauge the pace of the wicket, got time to settle down.

While promising before the match to spoil India’s party with short balls, Jake Ball actually was the first among the England bowlers to err in line. Yuvraj took centrestage hitting three boundaries between square leg and midwicket in Ball’s first over, Dhoni played second fiddle and the party erupted in the stands.

Just the other day, England bowler Jake Ball was trying to explain how modern cricket has developed.

“When you’re looking at 350 and you’re thinking, ‘have we got enough’, it shows how the game has developed and how players have developed. It’s hard at the minute but we (bowlers) are working on plans and things in the nets and hopefully we can put those into practice,” Ball had said. Thursday just reinforced his view.

First Published: Jan 19, 2017 13:39 IST