Kochi, Apr 6: Judicious use of power play and tight bowling by the spinners helped India bowl out England for 237 in the fourth match of the TVS Cup one-day series at the Nehru stadium here today.
Part-time bowlers Yuvraj Singh and Virender Sehwag picked two wickets apiece while offies Harbhajan Singh and Ramesh Powar scalped one each, as England collapsed from a formidable 153 for three to 237 all out in 48.4 overs.
And had it not been a late charge by Geriant Jones (49, 66balls, 3x4), the visitors looked all set to settle for a sub-200 score. It was after Kevin Pietersen (77) and Paul Collingwood (36) steadied England's innings following two early dismissals.
Judicious use of power play by Rahul Dravid helped the home team claw their way back into the match as England at one stage were well placed at 148 for three in 28 overs when Dravid opted for the second power play.
It paid dividends. Pietersen and Flintoff fell in quick succession and the middle and lower order caved in as England collapsed from 153 for three in 28.2 overs to 237 all out in 48.3overs. They lost their last seven wickets for 84 runs in 20.2 overs.
Faced with a must win situation to stay afloat in the series, England managed to put together their best 11 players of the series by inducting off spinner Batty and medium pacer Mathew Hoggard for the first time in four matches.
Flintoff called the toss correctly and chose to bat. Two early wickets by Irfan Pathan and Sreesanth, drafted into the side in place of Munaf Patel, gave India the initial advantage.
But Pietersen (77, 82 balls, 6x4, 2x6), back in the side for this crucial encounter, along with in form Paul Collingwood (36, 48 balls,4x4) strung together a 90-run partnership for the third wicket in 16 overs to put England in a sound position.
Unperturbed by the early loss of Andrew Strauss (seven) and Matt Prior (14), they plundered the Indian medium pacers, forcing Dravid to delay the second power play. Spinners were brought on early, but they failed to make any impact as runs came at an easy pace in ones and twos. Dravid used as many as seven bowlers, including Yuvraj and Sehwag, but he was unable to contain the run rate. Pietersen was the most aggressive, while Collingwood chose to play the role of a sheet anchor.
Pietersen picked three fours in one over of Pathan and also pulled Sreesanth to the Square-leg fence for a six. Both the English batsmen employed the sweep shots to telling effect to pick runs.
With occasional boundaries, they scored at nearly six an over, before Yuvraj provided the breakthrough getting rid of Collingwood with a stunning one-handed diving catch off his own bowling.
However, Pietersen in the company of skipper Andrew Flintoff continued the good work, When Dravid employed the second power play in the 29th over, the moved paid off, as both fell in a space of eight balls and allowed India to wrest the initiative.
Pietersen top edged a pull off Harbhajan to Yuvraj at short square- leg and Flintoff (12, 21 balls, 1x4) scooped a catch to his Indian counterpart at short midwicket off Yuvaraj. England crumbled from 153 for three to 172 for six in a space of 5.4 overs, when Vikram Solanki (12, 20 balls, 2x4) was beaten by the turn and bowled by Ramesh Powar.
The Indian spinners tightened the noose and the run rate dropped to below five by the 40th over. Sehwag, who was hit for a six and a four by Pietersen in one over, returned in the slog overs to pick the wickets of Blackwell (six, 13 balls) and Gareth Batty (two, six balls) to apply the brakes before Jones, batting with a runner, shored up the total.
Following is the scoreboard: England: Andrew Strauss lbw Pathan 7 Matt Prior c Dhoni b Sreesanth 14 Kevin Pietersen c Yuvaraj b Harbhajan 77 Paul Collingwood c and b Yuvaraj 36 Andrew Flintoff c Dravid b Yuvaraj 12 Vikram Solanki b Ramesh Powar 12 Geriant Jones (run out) 49 Ian Blackwell c and b Sehwag 6 Gareth Batty lbw Sehwag 2 Mathew Hoggard (run out) 7 James Anderson (not out) 1 Extras: (w-1, nb-2, lb-11) 14 Total: 237 all out in 48.4 overs.
Fall of wickets: 1-10, 2-27, 3-117, 4-153, 5-155, 6-172, 7-197, 8-203, 9-231, 10-237.
Bowling: Irfan Pathan 4.4-0-27-1 S Sreesanth 5-0-29-1 Ajit Agarkar 5-0-28-0 Harbhajan Singh 10-1-36-1 Ramesh Powar 10-0-41-1.
Yuvaraj Singh 8-1-34-2 Virender Sehwag 6-0-31-2.