Ranchi ODI: Dream homecoming for Dhoni sees India thrash England by 7 wickets
It was as if the script for MS Dhoni’s homecoming game was written in heaven. Not only did Dhoni lead India to a comprehensive 7-wicket win over England, but also hit the winning runs, win the toss and have an exceptional day behind the stumps to round off a perfect day at Ranchi on Saturday.
India rode on some disciplined bowling and brilliant batting by Virat Kohli to win the third ODI and take a 2-1 lead in the five match series.
Set a paltry 156 to win, India overcame the target with 131 balls to spare at Ranchi’s newly built HEC International Cricket Stadium.
After the Indian bowlers had wrecked havoc on the England team, Kohli returned to form with a sparkling unbeaten 77 to ensure that the first ever international match in Dhoni's hometown of Ranchi ended in his favour.
England though must had thought they could replicate Indian bowling performance after dismissing opener Ajinkya Rahane for a duck, but Gautham Gambhir and Kohli’s 2nd wicket stand of 67 laid to rest any worries Indian may have had.
Earlier, England once again fell flat against slow bowlers as a disciplined Indian bowling attack skittled them out for a paltry 155 in their third cricket one-dayer here today.
Left-arm spinner Ravindra Jadeja once again produced a magical spell taking 3/19, while off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin and pacer Ishant Sharma took two wickets each.
Quelling the element of doubts about his availability after he was hit on right thumb at yesterday's practice, captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni had everything right from the toss in the first match at his home venue.
First, he called it right at the toss, put England to bat and reduced them to 98 for six from 68 for no loss at one stage.
Even there was a bit of luck going in the skipper's favour as a poor umpiring decision by Indian official S Ravi gave the home side the prized scalp of Kevin Pietersen.
After the fall of Pietersen, English batsmen showed little appetite to stay at the crease as the Indian slow bowlers made their presence felt in front of a capacity crowd of 39,000 at the JSCA Stadium which is hosting its first international match.
Joe Root was the England top-scorer with 39 as the visiting top-order failed miserably.
After being reduced to 98 for six, Root and Tim Bresnan stitched 47 runs for the seventh wicket but after the fall of the former, it was all over for England.
Ian Bell was super slow to start with as he took 11 balls to get off the mark, putting pressure on skipper Alastair Cook.
Indian new ball bowlers of Bhvneshwar Kumar and Shami Ahmed got some movement and pace off the pitch hosting its first international match, as the English openers had that element of doubt to play their shots.
Dhoni, who was the focus at his 'home' ground did enough to please the local fans taking three catches, including a diving one to dismiss England's top-scorer, Joe Root.