Ranchi, Jan 19: Indian bowlers put in an inspired show before Virat Kohli returned to form with a rollicking unbeaten 77 as the hosts spanked England by seven wickets in the third one-dayer to make captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s first match in his home town a memorable one here today.
India first bundled out the visitors for a paltry 155 in 42.2 overs riding on Ravindra Jadeja’s 3/19 and then chased down the target with 21.5 overs to spare to take a 2-1 lead in the five-match match series.
Nearly 40,000 vociferous spectators at the newly built JSCA Stadium cheered Kohli, who rediscovered his form, and other Indian batsmen as they went about the run chase without much fuss in what turned out to be a rather lop-sided contest.
The script unfolded like a dream for home boy Dhoni as he won the toss and his bowlers responded magnificently by skittling out the visitors for a meagre total though it was not a difficult wicket to bat on.
Only Joe Roots (39) could hang around for long while opener Ian Bell (25) and Tim Bresnan (25) were the other contributors as England lost wickets at regular intervals.
Apart from Jadeja, who again excelled with his left-arm spin, R Ashwin and Ishant Sharma chipped in with two wickets apiece to maintain the pressure on the hapless Englishmen who never recovered from the early jolts.
India also lost opener Ajinkya Rahane (0) early but Gautam Gambhir (33) and Kohli steadied the innings to some extent by putting on 67 runs for the second wicket.
After Gambhir’s dismissal, Kohli and Yuvraj Singh (30) accelerated the pace of scoring with a flurry of explosive shots much to the delight of the home crowd. Yuvraj was, however, out with 12 runs left.
Kohli blasted as many as two sixes and nine fours during his knock which formed the cornerstone of the Indian response.
Dhoni hit the winning runs by pulling Steven Finn to the square-leg boundary to trigger off scenes of celebration in the galleries and the Indian dressing room.
The two teams will now travel to Mohali for the fourth match to be held on January 23.