Bowled Over – Bell Inspires Consolation Victory – By Luqman Liaqat

Ian Bell scored an unbeaten hundred to guide England to a consolation victory over India in the fifth and final ODI in Dharamsala.

Bell carried his bat off as he finished on 113 not out, becoming the tenth Englishmen to score a one-day hundred on Indian soil, ensuring the three lions ended their tour on a high despite India winning the series 3-2.

Tim Bresnan impressed with the ball earlier during his final appearance before being sent for treatment on a nagging elbow injury, his figures of 4-45 played the key part in rolling over the hosts for 226.

Suresh Raina held the Indian innings together as he scored an adamant, at times fortunate, 83 to help his side recover from 49-4.

There was some initial movement for seamer Steve Finn but it was Bresnan who made the early inroads into the Indian batting line-up.

Rohit Sharma was first to go edging to James Tredwell at second slip and Virat Kohli bagged a golden duck after poking a wider delivery again to Tredwell, who held on after a nervy spot of juggling.

Yuvraj Singh survived the hat-trick ball however; he was squared up in the next over for nought by Finn giving Eoin Morgan an easy floating catch at point.

After the third wicket, Ghautam Ghambir fell as well, piling more misery on the Indian batsmen.

Raina and MS Dhoni rebuilt the innings adding 30 more runs. Raina launched a huge six off Tredwell before Finn trapped the Indian skipper lbw for 15.

Despite the loss of Dhoni leaving India 79-5, Raina didn’t give up and had a good ally in Ravindra Jadeja (39) who raised the run rate with two sixes taking the score to 157-6.

England put Raina’s catches down which cost them heavily, after Jadeja’s dismissal he reached 83 before pulling to Bell at mid-wicket off Chris Woakes’ bowling. However, the tail did wag for the hosts as Ravi Ashwin scored 19 and Bhuvenshwar Kumar with 31 fired India to a respectable total.

The score seemed below-par, as Alaistair Cook and Bell gave England a solid foundation with a 50 run stand.

Cook’s departure came soon after, Ishant Sharma crept through his defence to rattle the stumps dismissing him for 22 and Kevin Pietersen only scored six runs before he was caught well by a running Jadeja at the boundary off Shami Ahmed.

Joe Root joined Bell which put the run chase back on the track, the Yorkshire captain contributed with 31 in the pairs 79 run stand before he perished to Jadeja when attempting a rather ambitious sweep shot.

Root’s wicket would be India’s last success; Morgan produced an impressive cameo off 40 from 40 balls and Bell brought up his century with a beautiful drive past a diving midwicket fielder.

The pair’s unbeaten partnership of 84 helped England get over line which will be a morale-boosting victory regardless of losing the series ahead of the tour to New Zealand.

The two teams will now face tough upcoming tours as India host Australia at the end of February and England play New Zealand in the first T20 on February 4.

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