A swashbuckling knock by Suresh Raina helped India reach a decent total of 226 in the fifth and final cricket ODI against England after an inept batting performance by the top-order batsmen in bowling friendly conditions, here today.
Put into bat in conditions helpful for seam bowling, India were 79 for five before Raina (83) led a recovery act before the home team folded for 226 in 49.4 overs at the picturesque HPCA Stadium.
Raina, whose knock came off 98 balls, added 78 runs for the sixth wicket with Ravindra Jadeja, to help the Indian total gain a semblance of respectability. Jadeja's contribution was 39 off 65 balls with a boundary and two sixes.
Bhuvneshwar Kumar also did his bit playing a little cameo of 31 runs that helped India cross the 225-run mark which had looked improbable after the first 15 overs.
But it was Raina whose innings ensured that the likes of Bhuvneshwar and Shami Ahmed have a total to bowl at.
En route his fourth successive half-century in the series, the left-hander from UP made a strong case for himself being promoted up the order ahead of Yuvraj Singh whose form has been scratchy of late. Raina, who was dropped twice on individual scores of 5 and 61, hit eight boundaries and two huge sixes. He, incidentally, also completed 4000 ODI runs in his 159th ODI appearance.
Save those couple of blemishes, it was a treat to watch his stroke play as the ball raced past the lightning quick outfield. Tim Bresnan was the pick of bowlers with figures of four for 45 while their premier fast bowler Steven Finn was miserly giving away 28 runs in 10 overs getting a couple of wickets in the process.
For India, the slide started in the fourth over when Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli got out in an identical fashion off successive deliveries from Bresnan. Bresnan bowled two fuller deliveries with a hint of away movement.
Both Sharma and Kohli went for cover drives without getting to the pitch of the deliveries and resultant thick edges flew to James Tredwell at second slip on both occasions.