India outplayed England to power into a lead in the ODI series following a convincing seven-wicket victory in the third one-day international at Ranchi.
Alistair Cook’s men faltered once again with the bat as they were bundled out for just 155, in what was the inaugural ODI at Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s home ground.
The target never troubled the powerful Indian batting line-up as they chased down the mediocre score with more than 20 overs to spare thanks to an unbeaten 77 from Virat Kohli.
England made a solid start after being put into bat first but the middle and lower order collapse put them on the back foot.
The tourists lost skipper Cook for a leg before, when he walked across his stumps and was hit in front by a Shami Ahmed ball that curved back.
Ian Bell and Kevin Pietersen added 44 runs in 41 balls, but both batsmen were out in consecutive overs.
Pietersen tried pulling away from a length ball from Ishant Sharma that rose sharply; the bat was forced into the flap of his front pad.
If there was doubt in his dismissal, there was none in the next over as Dhoni collected the ball from Bell’s nick behind off Bhuvneshwar Kumar.
The three lions never recovered from the loss of the top order and were now teetering on 98-6. Ashwin removed Eoin Morgan, Craig Kieswetter and Samit Patel soon followed departing to the left arm spin of Ravindra Jadeja.
Jadeja snuck one though Kieswetter’s defence which crashed into the stumps and followed it up by pinning Patel lbw.
Joe Root top scored with 39 while everyone around him crumbled; only Tim Bresnan’s knock of 25 down the order gave England a respectable total. Jadeja finished with the pick of the bowling figures of 3-19.
India’s comfortable run chase proved the pitch was good to bat on, it had been predicted to be a 300 plus pitch for the team batting first.
Although early in the innings Steve Finn clean bowled Ajinkiya Rahane, Virat Kohli made sure England were doing all the chasing in the field.
Ghautam Ghambhir and Kohli shared 67 run stand for the third wicket, Ghambhir played a patient knock of 33 off 53 balls in which he mainly gave Kohli the strike.
James Tredwell had Ghambhir caught at mid- on, which brought out Yuvraj Singh.
Yuvraj came out fired up, his innings of 31 included six fours in which he played two delightful strokes off Jade Dernbach, firstly flicking the pacer through midwicket and then a picture perfect drive past deep extra over.
Kohli launched two heavy blows off James Tredwell; he sent one over long on as he ran down the track and lofted another straight over midwicket.
Tredwell had his second wicket when he cleaned up Yuvraj ending a 66 run partnership, which left Dhoni very little to do.
Kohli’s sparking innings included two maximums and nine boundaries as he carried his bat off with an unbeaten 77 from 79 balls meaning no one deserved the man of the award more than him.
However, the home boy MS Dhoni did have the final say with four runs left for victory; he hammered a powerful pull from a short delivery from Finn to the square leg boundary taking India home with over 20 overs to spare.
The teams will now resume battle in Mohali for the fourth ODI on Wednesday; England must win the match to keep the series alive.