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Sreesanth, Uthappa dazzle; India beat England by 7 wkts in last OD

Written by: Staff

Indore, Apr 15 (UNI) S Sreesanth (six for 55) had a ball with the ball and Robin Uthappa (86) dazzled in his debut but in the end, it was Rahul Dravid (69) who paid off part of the debt he owes to his birthplace as the Indore-born, Bangalore-based Team India captain led the side to a seven-wicket victory against England in the last match of the series here today.

The seven-match ODI series thus ended 5-1 in favour of the hosts after the Guwahati tie was washed out.

It was a career-best six-wicket haul by Man of the Match Sreesanth that did not let the match slip out of reach even though England cruised to 288 losing their last wicket in the last ball of the innings.

India scored 289 for three wickets and won the mach in 49.1 overs -- their 16th win a row while batting second.

Chasing a victory target of 289, Dravid and Uthappa began with a flurry of boundaries and the debutant hit James Anderson for two successive fours in the first over to set the tone for the chase.

Dravid did not lag behind either as he pulled Sajid Mahmood and then square cut and flicked James Anderson to the boundary ropes.

Dravid-Uthappa pair also broke the highest opening partnership record in Indore, a feat held by the West Indian duo of Gordon Greenidge and Desmond Haynes who put on 149 in 1983.

Uthappa slashed one over the slips, developed cramps, and Geraint Jones could not latch on to a faint edge but the youngster gradually thrived in presence of elder state-mate and captain and some sweetly-timed shots boosted his morale.

But just when the youngster looked good for a century on debut, he was run out, owing it as much to England's fielding as to his naivety. He straight drove Ian Blackwell and while returning for two, did not ground his bat as Geraint Jones whipped off the bails after receiving a throw from James Anderson. It was end of a sparkling 86-run knock that came off 96 balls and included 12 boundaries and a six.

Solid and stolid as ever, Dravid's bat waxed eloquent on either side of the wicket but he followed Uthappa without any run being added to the board when Sajid Mahmood rapped him plumb in front.

India lost their second wicket at 166 and Dravid's 69, which came in 79 balls, included nine hits to the fence.


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