India close in on 5-0 sweep over England

World champions India stayed on course for a clean sweep of the one-day series against England with a six-wicket win in the fourth match on Sunday.

Virat Kohli and Suresh Raina hit half-centuries as the hosts made light of a bad start to overhaul England’s modest 220 all out in the 41st over of their innings in the day-night match.

Raina scored 80 off 62 balls and Kohli made an unbeaten 86, the pair having put on 131 for the fourth wicket after India were reduced to 46-3 in the 14th over.

Another win in Tuesday’s final one-dayer at the Eden Gardens in Kolkata will give Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s men a resounding 5-0 series win over Alastair Cook’s struggling tourists.

The emphatic victory was set up by the bowlers who shot England out for a modest total in India’s first match at the Wankhede stadium since winning the World Cup final against Sri Lanka in April.

Off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin shattered the top order with 3-38, before 21-year-old debutant fast bowler Varun Aaron polished off the tail with 3-24 on a slow wicket.

Tim Bresnan top-scored with 45 and Kevin Pietersen made 41 but five England batsmen failed to reach double-figures after Cook won the toss and elected to bat.

England went into the match with with a new-look attack that included 21-year-old Durham leg-spinner Scott Borthwick and 22-year-old Surrey fast bowler Stuart Meaker.

The two youngsters, who replaced Graeme Swann and Jade Dernbach, went for a combined tally of 104 runs in 17 overs.

Fast bowler Steven Finn dealt two early blows when he bowled Parthiv Patel and Gautam Gambhir in successive overs to leave India on 21-2 by the eighth over.

It soon became 46-3 when Meaker had Ajinkya Rahane caught behind, but Kohli and Raina settled in to deny England another quick breakthrough.

Earlier, England’s openers played out two maiden overs before Craig Kieswetter broke the shackles with 14 runs in the fourth over bowled by Vinay Kumar and 15 off the sixth by Ashwin.

India hit back by removing both openers in two balls as Ashwin trapped Cook leg-before and Praveen Kumar dismissed Kieswetter in the same manner with the first ball of the next over.

Jonathan Trott and Kevin Pietersen put on 73 for the third wicket before both perished in quick succession to make England 128-4 in the 27th over.

Wickets continued to tumble as left-arm spinner Ravindra Jadeja claimed Ravi Bopara leg-before for eight and bowled Jonathan Bairstow for nine in successive overs.

Aaron, who hails from Dhoni’s home state of Jharkand, worked up a tidy pace in an impressive debut. — AFP

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