Rohit grabs open invite

SP

Jade Dernbach came to Mohali with an ODI bowling average of 38.17 and an economy rate of 6.28. He had, nonetheless, played 21 matches, largely on the promise of his unorthodox gifts — a capacity to bowl pace at two ends of the spectrum, 90mph followed by a well-disguised 70mph slower delivery.

Rohit Sharma came to the Mohali with scores of 5, 0, 0, 4, 4 and 4 in his last six ODI innings. Over recent months, his average had fallen from just over 35 to 30.43. He was in the squad largely on the promise hinted at by his languid style. He wasn't expected to play on Wednesday, but he did, and opened the innings for only the fourth time in 82 innings.

India had given away 100 in their last 10 overs, with Kevin Pietersen launching a late assault after a quiet start and Joe Root showing a hitherto hidden range of inventive shots — including a stunning reverse-paddle against an Ishant Sharma full toss — in scoring his maiden ODI half century. Now, they began their pursuit of 258 with a new opening combination.

Rohit and Dernbach would come in direct confrontation for only 18 largely uneventful balls, which produced 14 runs. But individually, both would play critical roles in shaping the destiny of the contest, which ended with India victorious by five wickets.

The wicket at the PCA Stadium had helped the seamers all along. In the morning, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Shami Ahmed and Ishant Sharma had moved the new ball all over the place, and had been met with caution. When MS Dhoni introduced spin for the first time, after 17 overs, England's score was 59 for one.

When Dernbach first came on, India were 36 for one after 11 overs. Conditions weren't quite the same, but the wicket still had something in it. Each of his first five balls was short and wide. The first three were fielded by deep point, the fourth under-edged to the keeper and the fifth smacked for four by Rohit. In Dernbach's next over, Virat Kohli found the same boundary with a roughly similar shot, played all along the ground rather than helped over the infield as Rohit had done.

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