KOLKATA, (Reuters) – Ravindra Jadeja and his spin colleagues bowled India to a 95-run victory over England in the fifth and final one-day international to complete a series sweep yesterday.
A 129-run opening stand between Craig Kieswetter (63) and Cook (60) gave England the perfect platform to chase down a 272-run victory target but Jadeja took four for 33 as the tourists collapsed to 176 all out in just 37 overs.
Off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin claimed three for 28 and part-timers Suresh Raina and Manoj Tiwary one wicket each for India, who failed to beat England in any form of the game on their recent tour.
India, put into bat, had nearly squandered a fluent start to slump to 123 for four before Mahendra Singh Dhoni provided a late flourish with a sparkling unbeaten 75 off 69 balls to shepherd the hosts to a commanding 271 for eight.
England looked very much in the chase as long as Kieswetter and Cook were in the middle, hitting boundaries at regular intervals.
Dhoni introduced spin in the eighth over but the breakthrough remained elusive until the 21st over when Varun Aaron bowled Cook to end his 61-ball knock.
Apart from the openers, only two England batsmen reached double figures against the Indian spinners who claimed nine of the 10 wickets.
Earlier, the left-right combination of Gautam Gambhir (38) and Ajinkya Rahane (42) gave India a solid start, adding 80 runs in 17 overs before Steven Finn triggered a top-order collapse with a double strike in the 18th over.
Finn induced Gambhir to drag his first ball of the over on to the stumps and pegged back scoreless Virat Kohli’s off-stump with the last.
His new ball colleague Tim Bresnan removed Rahane in the next over as India slumped to 80 for three.
Suresh Raina was badly dropped by Graeme Swann in the slips to deny Finn his third wicket and he went on to make 38. Raina celebrated the reprieve with two fours in that over and steadied the innings with Manoj Tiwary (24) but India still needed a late push to reach the 250-mark.
Fortunately for them, Dhoni, who has not been dismissed in his last six one-day innings, responded with an immaculately paced knock.
The right-hander began cautiously before stepping on the gas, milking the bulk of the 39 runs off the last two overs to power India to a total that proved beyond England’s reach.
The teams play a lone Twenty20 International at the same venue on Saturday.