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Bell provides an innings to fit stunning scenery
12:51pm Monday 28th January 2013 in Sport
THE stunning Himalayan hill station of Dharamsala, hosting its first-ever international, proved a stunning venue but it was the away side who rose to the occasion as Ian Bell batted through the innings for 113 not out to seal a sevenwicket win.
It was a satisfying way to end a tough trip for England, who bowled India out for 226 and chased it down with 16 balls to spare.
The hosts, who secured the series by going 3-1 up in Mohali, were spared an even bigger defeat by Suresh Raina’s 83.
England captain Alastair Cook was not at his best, making a shaky 22 and surviving a strong appeal for caught behind before the excellent Ishant Sharma parted his stumps with a perfectly-executed cutter.
Bell also started slowly, scoring boundaries off both edges before settling into a watchful knock that saw him working hard for his runs.
Kevin Pietersen was too impatient for that and fell for six when a top-edged pull off Shami Ahmed saw him caught at deep midwicket by Ravindra Jadeja.
Yorkshire’s Joe Root arrived at 64 for two and ended a period of slow going by taking 10 from the 23rd over.
At the mid-point of the innings, England had 93 and a loose over from Yuvraj Singh took them into three figures.
A single saw Bell reach 50 in 88 balls, while Root collected his fourth boundary when Ravichandran Ashwin drifted to the pads.
Bell launched Ashwin for England’s first six and when the batting powerplay was enforced they were within 85 of victory.
But Root succumbed to temptation after only four balls, bowled for 31 by Jadeja sweeping across the line.
Bell was more successful, ending an 11-over wait for his eighth boundary by nudging Sharma to fine leg and then adding a ninth over mid off.
England entered the final 10 overs needing exactly a run-aball and were boosted when Ashwin’s ninth cost 10.
Bell’s ton arrived when he despatched his 133rd ball into the onside for four.
Eoin Morgan, in at five, struck three clean sixes in the space of nine balls to finish unbeaten on 40, but it fell to Bell to hit the winning run.
Earlier, England’s bowlers made good use of the morning conditions having asked India to bat first.
Despite long-term concerns over Bresnan’s elbow he proved he was still fit enough to cause India problems, sending Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli back with successive balls in the fourth over.
Both men fell to full swinging deliveries and both were held at second slip by Tredwell, who showed off some impressive juggling skills after fumbling Kohli.
Yuvraj survived the hattrick ball but was soon gone for nought, squared up by Steven Finn and floating a catch to Morgan at point.
Opener Gautam Gambhir fared better, making 24, but when he fell to Tredwell India were in strife at 49 for four.
Raina and Mahendra Singh Dhoni added 30 - including a straight six from Raina – before Finn returned to trap the home captain lbw for 15.
It was a huge scalp but Raina, who was spilled by Tredwell at slip, had not given up the fight.
He lifted Root for a second six and brought up his 50 with a wonderful strike over extracover.
Jadeja proved the perfect foil, accelerating the run-rate with two straight sixes of his own.
England put down Raina on 61 and 63, Cook diving at square leg and Tredwell getting fingertips to a return chance.
It was Tredwell who eventually ended the 78-run stand, Jadeja (39) going on the attack but only managing to loop a catch to point.
Raina was now playing a lone hand and reached 83 before pulling the recalled Chris Woakes straight to Bell at mid-wicket.
Ashwin (19) and Bhuvneshwar Kumar (31) both had fun towards the end, which came when Bresnan took the final two wickets in the final over.
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