x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 18 January 2018

Bopara falls but ensures tie for England in rain-hit game to deny India

Alastair Cook believes England are on course to rise up the one-day rankings after clinching the NatWest Series, his second as captain.

LONDON // Alastair Cook believes England are on course to rise up the one-day rankings after clinching the NatWest Series against India with a rain-affected tie at Lord's.

Confusion initially took over as to the outcome after a third interruption for rain ended England's chase of 280 for five, on 270 for eight.

But it was eventually confirmed that, with England and the Duckworth-Lewis par score reading identically, both teams could not be separated - just as at Bangalore in their World Cup group match back in March. The hosts therefore lead 2-0 with only one match to play, at Cardiff on Friday.

It meant a second successive series win for Cook since taking over as captain of the one-day side after England beat Sri Lanka, the World Cup runners-up, earlier this summer.

"I'm delighted. We have played two very good sides this summer," Cook said on Sky Sports 1.

"To win the two series in fantastic. It is all about winning no matter how you get there.

"It's also been impressive to see the strength of character to get over the line in these games."

England relied on another composed innings from Ravi Bopara after his 96 steered their chase after the loss of early wickets.

The late rain hindered his progress to a century, with England forced to ensure they remained ahead of the Duckworth-Lewis score instead of focusing on India's target.

In the end Bopara's dismissal from the final ball, before the rain set in, cost England, when he was caught in the deep, but Cook only had praise for the right-hander after he also set-up Friday's win at The Oval.

"He played an outstanding knock to get us back into the game," he said.

"It is great to see him delivering on the international stage and to get that tie for us. It was really hard at the end there. We ended up batting for Duckworth-Lewis because we didn't know when the rain was going to take us off.

"The tie was fair in the end."

Bopara acknowledged the weather had complicated the chase, adding: "With rain about we didn't know when to accelerate. You weren't sure whether to take to ones and twos or take on the big shots. But I'm actually very happy. We got the tie which clinches the series."

MS Dhoni, the India captain, was philosophical after his side were narrowly denied a first win over England on this tour.

"I won't really get down about it," he said. "That would have been our first win of the series. We have not really won anything. Things have not been on our side.

"It has been a tough series for us, nothing has gone our way but we take it with an open heart. We will give it our best shot [in Cardiff]."