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Sixth one-day international, The Oval: India 317-8 (49.4 ovs) bt England 316-6 (50 ovs) by 2 wkts

By Jamie Lillywhite

Sachin Tendulkar
Tendulkar fell in the 90s for the second time in the series

India recorded a pulsating two-wicket win over England with two balls to spare at The Oval to level the seven-match one-day series at 3-3.

Owais Shah hit a maiden ton and put on 106 with debutant Luke Wright (50), while Dimitri Mascarenhas hit five successive sixes in England's 316-6.

Sachin Tendulkar and Sourav Ganguly shared 150, but Tendulkar (94) missed out on a century as cramp set in.

With 10 needed from the final over, Robin Uthappa (47) hit two boundaries.

India's powerhouse opening pair soon set about their formidable target with relish.

The fifty came up in the eight over, and after a prolonged verbal confrontation with Stuart Broad, Ganguly launched the paceman over his head for six.

Owais Shah
Shah was quite often unorthodox but was highly effective

With his strike bowler James Anderson conceding 44 from his first five overs and 109 rattled up from the first 15, Paul Collingwood was forced to delay the final powerplay, bringing on Monty Panesar who found some turn and bounce.

Tendulkar, displaying vintage ingenuity, raced to his 83rd ODI fifty with three successive fours and was in complete command before the dreaded cramp afflicted him.

Ganguly, who posted his 71st ODI half century before trying to hit over the top only to find extra-cover, was all set to return as a runner.

But whilst he was waiting on the boundary Tendulkar drove Panesar uppishly and Collingwood took a smart catch at cover to make it 156-2 after 26 overs.

Shah, a very occasional off-spinner, was then given a chance with the ball, and after sending down two of the wildest deliveries ever seen in an international, the hunch paid off as Rahul Dravid tried to turn another wayward one down the leg-side only to get a leading edge.

After a misfield from Kevin Pietersen on the boundary allowed four, 48 were required from the final 30 balls, and though Broad dislodged a single bail with a yorker to oust Mahendra Dhoni, Uthappa had the final word.

It was Shah and Wright, who was drafted in for the injured Andrew Flintoff, who began to transform the England innings with some thrilling strokes, setting up Mascarenhas for a momentous cameo.

The Hampshire all-rounder, omitted for the defeat at Headingley, needed only 15 deliveries to smash his brutal unbeaten 36.

After a dot ball to begin the final over bowled by Yuvraj Singh, his first six was actually caught on the mid-wicket boundary by Piyush Chawla, but the teenager then carried the ball over the rope.

There was no doubt about the other strokes, which went progressively further, culminating in a straight drive over a shell-shocked Yuvraj's head.

With much of London suffering in their attempts to reach destinations in the wake of a tube strike, many spectators arrived too late to see the England openers.

Alastair Cook edged the second ball of the match, a perfectly placed delivery from Zaheer Khan and Matt Prior moved across his stumps at the rather and was given out by Aleem Dar in the fourth over.

Ian Bell, with a century and two fifties already in this series, looked in excellent touch and coasted to 49, containing 10 fours, before swiping at a non-turning one from teenage spinner Chawla, brought on in the 15th over.

Dimitri Mascarenhas lashes out
Mascerenhas hit the most runs in an over by an England batsman

Then came the first of the run outs, with Pietersen calling Collingwood for a suicidal single having hit straight to substitute fielder Dinesh Karthik at short cover.

Three things were not in doubt, that it was an ill-advised run, that Collingwood was out, or that he was extremely angry.

The controversy surrounded umpire Peter Hartley, standing in his first one-day international.

He initially rejected the opportunity to refer the incident, but his attention was drawn to the big screen when the Indian section of the crowd reacted with howls of derision at the sight of Collingwood's bat short of the crease.

The England captain was incensed at the delayed manner of his dismissal and expressed his views accordingly in conference with both umpires.

That meant Pietersen had to consolidate in the middle overs, patiently rebuilding with only four fours in his first fifty of the series.

But he was involved in another run-out, turning blindly for a second run, he either failed to hear or simply ignored Shah's bellowed refusal and simply carried on running to the wicket-keeper's end where his partner remained, leaving England in turmoil at 137-5.

However, Wright transferred his exuberant big-hitting county form, sweeping his ninth delivery for six and only nine overs after arriving at the crease he was recording the 200 with his sixth four, which took him into the 40s.

Showing impressive resolve after the calamity with Pietersen, Shah played a series of cleverly improvised strokes, registering the century partnership from 81 balls with a pick-up sweep for six off Ajit Agarkar.

It needed a direct hit from mid-on by Uthappa to break the resistance, Wright leaving to a standing ovation.

But India could not stop Shah, who drove Tendulkar fiercely down the ground for four to record his century.

When he struck with the ball as well it seemed destined to be Shah's day, but it was Uthappa who prevailed to set up an enthralling finale at Lord's on Saturday.

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