India level ODI series 1-1

Bhuvneshwar Kumar (left) wrecked the England innings.

KOCHI – India levelled the five-match one-day series at 1-1 following an emphatic 127-run victory over England at Kochi today, a result which knocks Alastair Cook’s men off the top of the ICC world rankings.

Captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni once again led from the front for the hosts, smashing 72 down the order to help his side recover from 119 for 4 to post 285 for 6 batting first.

England never threatened in reply and were eventually bundled out for just 158 to not only relinquish their series lead, but also their No 1 world status to South Africa.

Dhoni and Ravindra Jadeja rescued the India innings with a devastating 96-run partnership which effectively took the match away from England.

The late rally was tough to take for England, who had seen seam bowlers Jade Dernbach and Steven Finn both hitting the stumps in the first five overs to send back openers Gautam Gambhir (8) and Ajinkya Rahane (4).

Yuvraj Singh (32) played positively to get India’s boundary count moving and he and Virat Kohli (37) took the score to 44 after 10 overs, Yuvraj leading the charge until he was incorrectly given out lbw to James Tredwell’s second ball.

Kohli and Suresh Raina then put on 48, the former cutting loose with six over extra-cover before picking out Ian Bell to give Chris Woakes, a replacement for Tim Bresnan, a wicket.

Raina and Dhoni should have been set for the batting powerplay but instead England excelled, Finn and Dernbach conceding just 21 runs in five overs. The wicket of Raina, playing on to Finn for 55, was the icing on the cake and left India tottering on 174-5 with 10 overs remaining.

But Dhoni, perhaps fired up by an angry exchange with Dernbach, upped the ante and started to find the ropes with regularity, taking on Woakes, Finn and the Surrey quick as he reached 50 in 56 balls.

Jadeja proved a willing accomplice, outgunning his captain’s strike-rate with some equally clean hits and reaching a half-century of his own in the final over of the innings.

The two sides walked off at the interval with differing emotions and India took their momentum into the field as Bell edged Bhuvneshwar Kumar behind just eight balls into England’s innings.

Cook (17) showed glimpses of class before being incorrectly adjudged lbw off Shami Ahmed and then it was time for Kumar (3-29) to take centre stage once more.

Playing in just his fifth ODI, the India seamer removed Kevin Pietersen and Eoin Morgan in the space of three balls and left England in big trouble on 73-4.

Pietersen had sailed on to 42 and was beginning to move through the gears before Kumar snuck one into middle stump, while Morgan prodded tamely through to Dhoni to double his delight.

Joe Root battled gamely for 38 and Samit Patel clubbed an unbeaten 30 at the death, however spin twins Jadeja (2-12) and Ravi Ashwin (3-39) ran through the tail to dismiss England with 14 overs unused. (Sky)

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