NOTTINGHAM: India’s spinners again proved England’s undoing as the tourists won the third one-day international at Trent Bridge yesterday by six wickets to take a 2-0 lead in the five-match series.
World champions India, chasing a modest 228 for victory, cruised to 228 for four with seven overs to spare.
Ambati Rayudu, only playing because of Rohit Sharma’s tour-ending finger injury, scored an ODI-best 64 not out.
Together with Suresh Raina, who followed up his 100 in India’s equally dominant 133-run victory in Cardiff on Wednesday with a run-a-ball 42, Rayudu put on 87 for the fourth wicket.
But it was the first innings that decided the course of the match, with England dismissed for a meagre 227 after losing the toss.
They were 82 without loss thanks to under-fire captain Alastair Cook (44) and Alex Hales (42). But England, as happened in Cardiff, again succumbed to spin as they lost three wickets for 15 runs in six overs to be 97 for three.
Off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin, the Man-of-the-Match, took three for 39, with only Jos Buttler (42), apart from Cook and Hales, passing 40 in the innings.
England managed just one four in 26 overs midway through their innings and didn’t hit a six until the last over.
“The spinners did it for us — Ashwin and (Ravindra) Jadeja bowled really well but also Raina’s spell was important,” India captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni told Sky Sports.
“Rayudu bowled and batted well, he’s a good player of spin and we’re still looking for a number four batsman to bat through the innings,” Dhoni added.
For Cook it was an all-too familiar scenario.
“We didn’t play very well,” he said. “We got off to another good start but, from 80-0, you expect to get more than 230.”
As for England’s ongoing problems against spin, Cook added: “It’s something we’re not doing very well at the moment but we’ve got to keep working at it.”
England’s opening stand ended when Hales, on his Nottinghamshire home ground, top-edged a sweep off Raina’s sixth ball and was caught by wicketkeeper Dhoni.
Hales had also fallen to the sweep after making 40 on ODI debut in Cardiff and his exit was the cue for England to again get bogged down against spin.
Rayudu took his first international wicket when he had Cook stumped down the legside by Dhoni.
Cook, whom former England team-mate Graeme Swann suggested this week should quit one-day cricket because he scores too slowly, took 65 balls to get his 44 runs yesterday.
Another Dhoni stumping, off Jadeja, saw Joe Root fall for two.
Eoin Morgan (10) was also undone by spin, Ashwin turning the ball away from the left-hander and Dhoni holding the edge to complete his fourth dismissal of the innings.
An ambling Ian Bell (28) was then run out by Mohit Sharma’s dramatic direct hit from wide long-off.
All-rounder Ben Stokes (two) added to his growing list of low scores for England when Raina held a brilliant low, one-handed, slip catch off Ashwin.
Stokes’s exit left England 149 for six and, unsurprisingly, the lower order could not repair the damage.
Ajinkya Rahane, promoted to open in place of Rohit Sharma, showed his class with a textbook cover-driven four off James Anderson.
Rahane made 45, featuring six fours and a six, when fast bowler Steven Finn, playing his first international match in nearly a year, had him caught behind.
Virat Kohli averaged just 13.4 in India’s preceding 3-1 Test series defeat and was out for a duck on Wednesday.
But he found his form with 40 — his best score of a tough tour — before flicking Stokes straight to Tredwell at mid-on.
India were now 120 for three but the rarely troubled Rayudu went on to complete an impressive fifty when he deliberately uppercut Finn for his fifth four in 63 balls.
The series continues at Birmingham’s Edgbaston ground on Tuesday.