Dramatic India-England encounter ends in tie

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R Eswar

Bangalore, Feb 27 (PTI) A sloppy India got their acttogether in the nick of time to escape with a dramatic tieagainst a spirited England in a nerve-wracking World Cupgroup-B league match here today.

The Indians rode on Sachin Tendulkar''s (120) record fifthWorld Cup century to pile up 338 all out but a heroic battingdisplay by Andrew Strauss (158) and some toothless bowlingallowed England to leave the match tied at a jam-packedChinnaswamy Stadium.

With 14 needed off the last over bowled by Munaf Patel,Graeme Swann collected three runs before Ahmal Shahzad sentthe bowler straight down the ground for a six.

That reduced the difference as England needed five offthree, and then two off the last delivery. Swann drove thefinal ball but could not clear mid-off as the match, which sawtwo magnificent knocks, came to a thrilling end.

The 37-year-old Tendulkar provided the sparks in ascintillating Indian batting display.

It was vintage stuff by Tendulkar as he unleashed 10boundaries and five sixes in his 115-ball 120 to lay theplatform for the Indian onslaught.

Tendulkar''s milestone moment came in the 35th over whenhe glanced Tin Bresnan to the boundary to record his fifthWorld Cup ton, surpassing former India captain SouravGanguly, current Australia captain Ricky Ponting and hisformer teammate Mark Waugh who had four hundreds to theircredit.

But things took a dramatic turn with England making astrong reply.

India, touted as the favourites, were in the end lucky toescape with a tie as England lost their nerves and collapsedin the dying stages after being 282 for two at one stage.

It was a remarkable result as both teams managed to get apoint each from the thrilling contest which saw fortunefluctuate from one team to the other till the very end.

The Indians gave a sorry account of themselves on thefield as they not only fielded poorly but the bowling alsolacked the sting. It was a fiery burst by Zaheer Khan, whotook the key wickets of Strauss and Bell, which helped them tobounce back.

The England innings began with a flourish as Strauss andKevin Petersen went for their strokes and maintained a scoringrate of over seven runs an over.

The opening pair put on 68 runs before Munaf provided thebreakthrough by accounting for the dismissal of Pietersen,taking a stunning return catch in his second attempt much tothe delight of his teammates.

Strauss seemed to be in no discomfort as he notched uphis 28th ODI half century and also completed the milestone ofscoring more than 4000 runs in ODIs.

Strauss and Jonathan Trott tried to carry the momentumbefore leg spinner Piyush Chawla struck by trapping Trottplumb in front of the wicket. MORE RE AH MRM

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