Singh smashes India to convincing victory

Yuvraj Singh’s smashing century led India to a 49-run victory on Monday in the third limited-overs international against England, giving the home team a 3-0 lead in the seven-match series.

Singh’s blazing 103, his seventh one-day century, helped India post 294-6 in 50 overs. In reply, England were bowled out for 245 in 48.5 overs, despite a defiant 93 by Paul Collingwood.

During their last visit to India in 2001/02, England drew the six-match limited-overs series 3-3.

Singh shared an innings-building partnership of 142 with Suresh Raina (61) that paved the way for the home side’s maiden victory in four one-dayers played at Fatorda’s Nehru Stadium.

Electing to bat first after skipper Rahul Dravid won the toss, India were tottering at 131-4 after the fall of two middle-order wickets in the space of five deliveries when Raina joined Singh at the crease.

England’s bowlers threatened to seize control after removing Irfan Pathan (36) and Mohammad Kaif (0) in quick succession, but their hopes were dashed by the attacking knocks from Singh and Raina.

Playing in his 145th one-dayer, Singh struck three towering sixes and 10 fours off 76 deliveries, while Raina hit one six and five boundaries en route to securing his second successive half-century.

Opener Virender Sehwag (15) failed to click once again, having his stumps shattered after missing the line of a delivery from pace bowler James Anderson. Dravid, who opened the innings with Sehwag as India left Gautam Gambhir out of the line-up, shared a brisk 78-run partnership from 99 deliveries with Pathan.
Dravid struck six boundaries in his 59-ball 46.

Looking for his half-century, Dravid tried to cut seamer Collingwood, but dragged the ball on to his stumps. Pathan became the first of England captain Andrew Flintoff’s three victims, cutting him straight to Collingwood at point.

Pathan had lofted left-arm spinner Ian Blackwell for a straight six and also struck three boundaries during his 63-ball knock.

But Mohammad Kaif’s poor string of scores continued as he perished on the third ball without opening his account, edging pace-bowler Liam Plunkett to wicketkeeper Geraint Jones. During his last five one-dayers, Kaif has been dismissed for zero four times.

Flintoff went on to dismiss Singh and Raina during the final three overs, but India had already built a massive total.

England’s reply faltered from the moment left-arm quick Pathan (4-51) had opener Andrew Strauss (7) caught behind by Mahendra Dhoni and then dislodged the off-stump of Blackwell (9).

Matthew Prior (37) was the only England top-order batsman to show some application, but Owais Shah (7) and Flintoff (15) went cheaply as the tourists slumped to 83-5.

Vikram Solanki contributed 23 before Collingwood’s 105-run partnership for the seventh wicket with Geraint Jones (32) featured in England’s late resistance.

England’s defiance ended when Jones fell in trying to swing Pathan over the fence, to be snapped by Sehwag at deep midwicket. Collingwood fell seven runs short of his third one-day century.

Collingwood struck one six and 10 boundaries from 84 balls before skiing offspinner Harbhajan Singh to Raina at midwicket.—Sapa-AP

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