x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 21 January 2018

Dhoni all praise for Rahane and Gambhir for series win

A 111-run partnership for the second wicket laid the foundation for India's five-wicket victory and unassailable 3-0 series lead in Mohali on Thursday night.

MS Dhoni credited the partnership between Ajinkya Rahane and Gautam Gambhir for India's five-wicket victory against England in Mohali on Thursday night.

India pulled off a thrilling win with four balls to spare in the third one-day international (ODI) to take an unassailable 3-0 lead in the five-match series.

Set 299 to win, world champions India reached the target when captain Dhoni hit two consecutive boundaries off the first two deliveries in the last over.

Dhoni (35) kept his cool, and with Ravindra Jadeja (26), added 65 runs for the unbroken sixth wicket to see India home. Dhoni, however, said it was Rahane (91) and Gambhir (58), who made a 111-run stand, that laid the foundation for victory.

"The upper middle order did the job for us," he said. "The way Rahane batted along with Gautam Gambhir was crucial."

England came back strongly after Gambhir's departure, though, and picked up four wickets in quick time with some inspired seam bowling but made crucial errors on the field in the closing stages.

"It's a tough defeat to take, especially when it's so close," Alastair Cook, the England captain, said. "Our fielding has been slightly below par, which is unusual for us, and today it cost us 20 to 25 runs in the field.

"Six an over is always a tough chase, but credit to the way MS and Jadeja finished that off."

Earlier, Jonathan Trott anchored England with an unbeaten 116-ball 98, after Cook won the toss and decided to bat first.

Trott added 101 for the third wicket with Kevin Pietersen (64) and another 103 for the unbroken fifth wicket with Samit Patel (70) after opener Cook (3) departed early. Pietersen played a fluent knock and hit nine boundaries to increase England's scoring rate and laid the platform for Samit's late assault. Samit hit seven boundaries and two sixes as the visitors scored 91 in the last 10 overs.

The last two ODIs will be played in Mumbai on Sunday and in Kolkata on Tuesday.