England captain Alastair Cook paid tribute to Rohit Sharma and Suresh Raina after the pair guided India to a five-wicket victory in the fourth one-day international at the Punjab Cricket Association Stadium here yesterday.
After opening batsman Sharma (83) had given the hosts a nice springboard, Raina ensured they took an unassailable 3-1 lead in the series with a marvellous unbeaten 89 off 79 balls to guide India past England’s 257 for five.
Raina had a 68-run partnership for the fourth wicket with Sharma — one Cook felt changed the game in India’s favour. “I think that partnership between Raina and Rohit Sharma really (changed the game). When he (Raina) came in the momentum changed very quickly and we just tried to stop the scoring,” Cook said on Sky Sports 1.
“But I thought we put on a good performance today, the conditions weren’t quite in our favour and to get it so close I thought we played quite well,” he added.
India captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni believes his bowlers laid the platform for yesterday’s victory — in spite of them conceding 100 runs in the final 10 overs. “It was a very good performance. We were right on the spot with the new ball, which I feel is always important,” he said.
“A lot of sides look to save wickets in the first 10 overs because all of them know from 36 to 40 overs they can have a second powerplay and then afterwards if they have wickets in hand they can really score big runs.”
‘Most gifted cricketer’
The recalled Sharma, who came in for Ajinkya Rahane, made a significant dent in England’s total and proved why he is highly thought of in India.
An excellent 83, which only ended when he was given out to a dubious lbw decision, was just reward for the faith shown in him yesterday. “He’s one of the most gifted cricketers that we have seen. Unfortunately he has not done really well with the opportunities he has got,” Dhoni added.
“We had a chat about him opening the innings at the start of the series and he was very glad to accept it. I think it was a very good performance by him.”