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.

Dernbach ended his first spell with figures of 5-0-29-0. At the other end, James Tredwell had just dismissed Kohli, caught and bowled to a nicely dangled off break. Tredwell soon sent back Yuvraj Singh as well. An over later, Rohit worked Joe Root into the leg side for a single that took him from 49 to 50.

back among runs

On 12, Rohit had been dropped by Kevin Pietersen at mid off, off the bowling of Tim Bresnan. Apart from that, he had looked more or less untroubled, and also displayed some of his celebrated timing — particularly a flick that sped across the Mohali outfield and a couple of pulls, all of them coming off Steven Finn. Having taken 73 balls to get to 50, he waded into the spinners, effortlessly launching Tredwell for six, sweeping Tredwell and Patel for fours and then stepping away from his stumps to square-cut Tredwell for another boundary, to move his score to 71 off 83.

Dernbach returned. India needed 135 from 138 balls. Suresh Raina was still new to the crease, and was on 10. At the end of that over, the left-hander had moved to 21, courtesy a double, a single and two swats to the midwicket fence. In Dernbach's next over, Raina spanked another short ball to the leg side boundary. Dernbach's figures now read 7-0-50-0. India needed 107 from 120 balls, and Raina was on 32 off 27.

Finn replaced Dernbach, and immediately removed Rohit, who was out to the third major umpiring error of the day.

umpiring blunders

In the morning, Alastair Cook, who had held England's top order together in difficult conditions and timed 13 gorgeous boundaries in a 106-ball 76, was given out LBW to a ball from Ravichandran Ashwin that pitched outside leg stump. Gautam Gambhir, Cook's counterpart in the Indian lineup, had been given out caught behind when his swish off Bresnan hadn't made contact with the ball. Now, Finn's in-ducker seemed to have moved and bounced too much for a convincing LBW. Finn almost had another wicket soon after, but he had knocked the bails over at the bowler's end in getting Raina to edge a wide one to slip.

Raina got to his half-century in the next over, edging Bresnan through a now vacant slip area, and, in his next over, twice beat short fine leg off balls that drifted onto his pads, to move his partnership with MS Dhoni past 50. Dernbach returned in the next over, and got Dhoni to square-cut him straight to point. Had the Surrey fast man turned the game with one belated, un-earned wicket? The answer was no. India had five wickets in the bag, and needed only 45 from 66 balls. In the end, Raina and Ravindra Jadeja finished the job with 15 balls remaining.

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