Yuvraj and Dhoni seal series for India against England

MS Dhoni

Second one-day international, Cuttack
India 381-6 (50 overs): Yuvraj 150 (127), Dhoni 134 (122)
England 366-8 (50 overs): Morgan 102 (81), Ashwin 3-65
India won by 15 runs
Scorecard

Brilliant centuries from Yuvraj Singh and MS Dhoni gave India a series-clinching 15-run win over England in a thrilling second one-day international.

India were reduced to 25-3 in Cuttack before Yuvraj, who struck 150, and Dhoni (134) shared a stand of 256.

They helped India to 381-6, the third-highest total made against England.

Eoin Morgan blasted an 80-ball hundred, Jason Roy, Joe Root and Moeen Ali all made half-centuries, but England ended 366-8 to go 2-0 down with one to play.

That in itself was England’s fifth-highest total and their second of 350 or more in as many games, but they still have not won a series in this country since 1984-85 and have lost 21 of their past 25 ODIs against India in India.

The tourists looked well set to alter that record when Chris Woakes took three wickets in his first three overs, including the prolific Virat Kohli, but Yuvraj and Dhoni destroyed an England attack that had no control of length.

An unlikely chase was not out of the question on an ideal batting surface, only for India’s spinners to run through the England top order, with the late hitting of Morgan not enough in the face of the home attack’s greater nous.

Yuvraj Singh and MS Dhoni

Redemption for Yuvraj

Before returning for the first match, Yuvraj was out of the India ODI side for more than three years, dropped at the end of a 2013 when he averaged only 19.71 with the bat.

Recalled after some excellent domestic form, he made his first ODI century for six years and his highest score, dismantling the England bowling with stylish drives and brutal pulls.

England were right to initially probe the left-hander’s historical weakness against the short ball, but too slow to change a plan that did not work.

Time and again short deliveries were dismissed to the leg-side fence, even after Yuvraj had registered his 14th ODI ton with Jake Ball the most persistent offender.

Yuvraj successfully overturned a caught-behind decision on 145 and a double century seemed possible until he edged the excellent Woakes, comfortably the pick of England’s bowlers, to wicketkeeper Jos Buttler.

Dhoni still the master

Dhoni relinquished the white-ball captaincy to Kohli before this series but once again proved his worth alongside the equally experienced Yuvraj – both 35 and with 580 caps between them.

Usually at his best at the end of the innings, Dhoni dealt with the inconvenience of having to arrive in the fifth over by batting until the 48th, initially as a foil for Yuvraj.

He was dropped on 43, a tough chance to a retreating Ball off a leading edge, and only really accelerated as he neared a century, announcing his intention with a huge six over long-on off Woakes.

From there it was carnage, as Dhoni took 41 runs off the last 20 balls he faced. Overall, India hit 214 from their final 20 overs and 120 off the last 10.

Liam Plunkett, ineffective on his return for figures of 2-91, was hammered for three sixes in an over, eventually getting a crumb of comfort when Dhoni hit a full toss to David Willey at deep mid-wicket.

Gallant chase falls short

Eoin Morgan

England were not fazed by what would have been their highest successful run chase in ODIs, with Root and Roy sharing a stand of 100 that kept the tourists ahead of the curve.

However, off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin, England’s tormentor during their 4-0 Test series defeat, had Root sky a sweep, bowled Ben Stokes and had Buttler stumped down the leg side, while spin partner Ravindra Jadeja found turn to bowl Roy.

Still England pressed on, captain Morgan returning to form with sixes over long-on and long-off, and Moeen’s leg-side scoring bringing him a 40-ball half-century.

When Moeen dragged on to his stumps off Bhuvneshwar Kumar, it looked to be a fatal blow to England’s chances, but Morgan kept them alive in a fifty partnership with Plunkett that came in only 24 balls.

The Irishman reached his ninth ODI ton only to be run out by bowler Jasprit Bumrah when backing up too far, taking England’s hopes with him as he departed.

Falling short by 15 in a game of 747 runs, England will reflect on a bowling effort that was too expensive and top-order batting that failed to capitalise on a strong position.

‘India just got too many runs’ – analysis

Simon Hughes on Test Match Special

India got just too many runs. England’s bowling wasn’t focused enough on Yuvraj Singh and then they lost wickets at the wrong time.

It’s unfair to blame England’s death bowlers, but they still haven’t got that right. Woakes is good but they haven’t got another person that they can really rely on.

Runs galore – the stats

  • India’s 381-6 is the third-highest score ever made against England in a one-day international.
  • The partnership of 256 by Yuvraj Singh and MS Dhoni is the second-highest for any wicket by any opponent against England in ODIs, bettered only by the 286 shared by Sanath Jayasuriya and Upul Tharanga for Sri Lanka in 2006.
  • Yuvraj is only the sixth man to make a score of 150 or more against England in an ODI.
  • England made their fifth-highest ODI total and their largest batting second. It was also the largest score they have ever made to lose an ODI.
  • 747 runs is the second-most made in an ODI in India, behind the 825 made by the hosts and Sri Lanka in 2009-10.
  • Joe Root has made a half-century in each of the five Tests and two ODIs against India this winter.

‘We weren’t at our best’ – what they said

England captain Eoin Morgan: “We probably weren’t at our best with ball or the bat but we still competed and it’s tremendously disappointing not to get over the line.

“Bowling to MS Dhoni and Yuvraj Singh is very difficult at times. The margin for error is quite small and the challenge is to break the partnership a little earlier.

“We showed a lot of fight, we have a huge amount of talent. It’s been a magnificent day’s cricket.”

India captain Virat Kohli: “I said to the team that if we had had a good start then where could we have ended up today? MS Dhoni and Yuvraj Singh brought stability and wonders to the team, their batting rate was outstanding.

“A 380 target, we thought, was a bit too far-fetched, but we bowled at the most difficult phase because of the dew and the ball was very hard to execute – and the guys showed great character.

“If we had not picked out the wickets in the middle then I’m not sure where the game would have gone.”

Man-of-the-match Yuvraj Singh: “In the domestic season I’ve been hitting the ball really well and I’ve been working hard on my fitness. The results showed today.

“Me and MS Dhoni understand the situations really well, we started by hitting the ball down the ground really well and not taking any risks. Then we attacked when the time was right.”

“Diet has been the key, as you pass 30 you’ve got to work hard on your fitness – I learned that from Sachin Tendulkar and Anil Kumble, all the greats.”

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