Local hero Dhoni seals big Indian win
Cricket round-up:Hometown hero Mahendra Singh Dhoni hit the winning runs on Ranchi’s big day as England’s batsmen floundered for the second time in a week.
The unfashionable cricketing outpost was hosting its first ever international fixture and 39,000 rapt fans saw the local boy pull Steven Finn for four to ensure a fairytale seven-wicket win.
Dhoni’s arrival at the crease came late in the game and his most telling contribution came when he won the toss and asked England to bat first, a decision that found the tourists in dire form as they slumped to 155 all out.
That was three fewer than they managed in defeat at Kochi and was never likely to be enough as Virat Kohli made a commanding 77 not out in a chase that lasted on 28.1 overs.
And while England have plenty of problems to ponder, the day belonged to the India captain, who followed the script perfectly when he despatched Finn to long leg to finish unbeaten on 10.
With such a small total, it was all or nothing for England in the field and Finn got them going with a wicket in his second over, beating Ajinkya Rahane for pace and uprooting his off stump.
A strong lbw shout against Kohli off the next ball followed but umpire Sundaram Ravi was unmoved.
Gautam Gambhir was getting on better, taking four off Jade Dernbach’s third ball and taking smart singles.
Runs were precious for England so when Kohli hit three consecutive boundaries off Dernbach in the sixth over, it was a hammer blow.
Tim Bresnan replaced Dernbach and saw his first ball stroked through the covers by Kohli, as the total reached 48 for one after 10 overs.
Kohli mis-cued four more off a Finn bouncer to bring the target into double figures, but back-to-back maidens from Bresnan halted the charge.
A second wicket followed in the 18th over, the increasingly reliable James Tredwell having Gambhir caught at mid-on for 33 with his ninth ball.
Yet India were in no danger, Kohli ramming home the point when he thrashed Bresnan for his eighth four.
His half-century came up in 58 deliveries and for his next trick he lifted Tredwell down the ground for the first of two sixes off the spinner.
Yuvraj Singh had freedom to play his shots and zeroed in on Dernbach, whose second spell of two overs cost 25.
Tredwell bowled Yuvraj for 30 to give the home fans exactly what they wanted: Dhoni in the middle and just 12 needed.
He did not disappoint. He was off the mark with a straight four, via a ricochet off the stumps, and then took on Finn’s bouncer for the winning boundary.
Earlier in the day, England’s innings got off to a faltering start and never fully recovered.