When MS Dhoni won the toss at Trent Bridge on Saturday, he didn’t want to bat first despite the weather being warm and sunny. India have been going through the top-order batting failures on this tour and even the good performance in the second ODI at Cardiff could not encourage Dhoni. Initially, it appeared that Dhoni had erred, as England batted merrily for 17 overs, posting a good rate of scoring and keeping all their wickets intact. But the turnaround came as soon as the spinners came on. Backed by solid ground fielding and sharp catching, India put pressure on England and bowled them out for 227 in 50 overs. For the second successive ODI, England lost all their wickets to Indian bowlers. 228 is not a great challenge in 50-over games and with some sensible batting, India reached the target in 43 overs with 6 wickets still remaining. While it was cheering news for the Indian cricket fans worldwide, the one person, who truly rejoiced the victory, was team director Ravi Shastri. He never missed clapping in approval every time an Indian cricketer did well. Both sides made one change each. Ambati Rayudu came in place of the injured Rohit Sharma, while England brought in Steven Finn to replace Chris Jordan.
Batting first, England openers were not unduly bothered at the start. Although only 11 runs could be scored in the first 5 overs, they made up in the sixth over from Mohit Shrama by blasting him for three fours. Alistair Cook and Alex Hales kept the scoring rate steady afterwards by stealing runs at every opportunity. After 10 overs, England had made 48/0 and they looked good for more as Indian seamers looked unimpressive. In the 12th over, Ravichandran Ashwin came on as the first change. But he gave away 7 runs in his first over and 8 in the second. The first reward to Dhoni came in 18th over, when he brought Suresh Raina ahead of Jadeja. On Raina’s last ball, Hales’ attempted sweep found the top edge that flew high to Dhoni for an easy catch. Just as Ian Bell joined Cook, Dhoni called for another part-timer, Ambati Rayudu. After a fruitless first over, Rayudu met with success in the next as Cook went out of the crease for a big hit and missed the ball. Dhoni stumped him smartly to give Rayudu his maiden wicket in the ODIs. Dhoni persisted with Raina and Rayudu even as Joe roots came to the crease. At the end of 22 overs, England had reached 96/2. For the 23rd over, Dhoni called Ravindra Jadeja and on his fourth ball Root was also stumped by Dhoni. There was marked slowdown in the scoring rate from this point onwards. Ashwin came back in the 28th over and promptly removed Morgan, who ended up edging the ball to Dhoni. The India captain had his hand in every dismissal as England fell from 82/0 to 122/4. The Indian fielders found a new spring in their feet as wickets fell quickly. But Jose Buttler was still there with Bell and Dhoni needed at least one more wicket. Luck was on Dhoni’s side as Raina bowled to Buttler and the batsmen ran an easy single and turned around for the second run. But Mohit Sharma’s throw from wide long off struck the stumps at the non-striker’s end with Bell still far away. 132/5 in the 34th over was well below England’s expectations. Ashwin picked up another wicket in the 36th over when he found the edge of Ben Stokes’ bat and Suresh Raina gobbled him up in the slips. Buttler was still around and he carried on with Chris Woakes to take England’s score to 187/6. At this point, Shami dropped a short ball to Woakes, who holed out to Mohit Sharma at deep square leg. Ashwin got his third wicket in the 48th over, when he bowled Buttler with a beauty. England scored 18 runs in the 50th over but lost all their wickets for 227.
When India began, they saw Shikhar Dhawan extending his lean patch further. After playing some lusty shots, Dhawan perished to a short ball, playing straight into the hands of Morgan at backward point. Ajinkya Rahane, who opened with Dhawan was joined by Virat Kohli. For a change, Kohli didn’t succumb early and added 50 runs with Rahane for second wicket. Rahane was out after scoring 45, as edged an off-side delivery from Steven Finn to Buttler. Rayudu joined Kohli and the two added 35 before Kohli tried to flick Ben Stokes over mid-on only to found Tredwell taking his skier easily. As Suresh Raina joined Rayudu, India required 108 in 144 balls. Raina and Rayudu added 87 and ensured India’s win even as Raina departed at 207. The remaining 21 runs were scored by Jadeja and Rayudu, who remained unbeaten on 64 as India won again after cardiff. From Nottingham, Indians go to Edgbaston to play the 4th ODI on Tuesday. England will do their best to deny India the series win but with their new found resolve, India should produce another good performance.