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Seventh one-day international, Lord's:
England 188-3 (36.2 overs) bt India 187 (47.3 overs) by seven wickets

By Paresh Soni

Kevin Pietersen hit an unbeaten 71 to steer England to victory
Pietersen ended the series in style after struggling earlier

England produced a polished all-round display to beat India by seven wickets and clinch their one-day series 4-3.

Andrew Flintoff passed a fitness test on his left ankle to take 3-45, while Dimitri Mascarenhas (3-23) was miserly as the tourists were skittled for 187.

Luke Wright and Matt Prior fell for ducks but Ian Bell (36) steadied the reply before Kevin Pietersen (71no) and Paul Collingwood (64no) took over.

They shared an unbroken 114 to ease the hosts to victory with 13.4 overs left.

It is England's first home one-day series win for three years and ensures Peter Moores' team head off on Sunday to the ICC World Twenty20 full of confidence.

India, who had come back from 3-1 down to take the series into a decider, were never allowed to establish themselves after winning the toss.

Sourav Ganguly, who was peppered with plenty of short stuff, was hit on the helmet before being snapped up at second slip and Gautam Gambhir was well caught by Wright between square-leg and mid-wicket.

606: DEBATE

The battle between Sachin Tendulkar and Flintoff was always going to be a key contest and the "Little Master" won the first round by crashing two fours in his first over to bring up India's 50.

But Flintoff landed two even bigger blows when captain Rahul Dravid and Tendulkar were given out caught behind by Aleem Dar. Replays suggested Tendulkar was particularly unfortunate to be sent packing in probably his final appearance in this country.

Yuvraj Singh, who hammered Stuart Broad over mid-wicket for six, and Robin Uthappa revived India from 59-4 by putting on 47.

Neither could get after Mascarenhas, however, and the Hampshire man conceded only two boundaries in his impressive stint, one an edge past slip for four.

Andrew Flintoff took three wickets as England skittled India
Flintoff took the key wickets of Dravid and Tendulkar

Uthappa mis-timed to mid-off and Yuvraj steered him to gully to leave the visitors in the mire on 119-6.

The rotund Ramesh Powar and Piyush Chawla were run out and stumped thanks to swift work from Prior behind the stumps before Dhoni finally provided some spark for the tourists.

He battered a Panesar full-toss past a jumping Dar down the ground, cut the spinner for four and blasted Anderson for six over long-on as he reached 50 in 69 balls.

Flintoff, who earlier went off to have the strapping on his ankle changed, returned to have the wicket-keeper expertly pouched by fellow Lancastrian Anderson and put the seal on a fine display in the field from England.

India needed to hit back hard and RP Singh did that for them by taking a return catch when Wright mis-timed a pull and inducing an edge from Prior.

Bell and Pietersen rebuilt the innings thanks to a combination of quick running and poor fielding.

If anything, Bell overshadowed his illustrious colleague and produced several dreamy strokes, none better than the pull shots off RP Singh and Zaheer Khan which helped him pass 400 runs for the series.

Sachin Tendulkar
Tendulkar played probably his final knock in England

He dominated a fifty stand off 57 balls and England were making smooth progress until Pietersen changed his mind about a single after nudging the ball to mid-wicket and Tendulkar combined with Ganguly to run the in-form Warwickshire batsman out.

Eight runs came in the next four overs as Pietersen and Collingwood consolidated but Pietersen was never likely to be contained for long despite struggling in this series.

He drove Chawla over long-off for a maximum and cracked him through point in an over costing 15 to resume the victory charge.

Pietersen, who had made only 138 in the previous six games, after managing 42 in three ODIs against the West Indies earlier this summer, drove Powar straight down the ground to move to 49 and in the off-spinner's next over blasted him through cover to get to a second successive ODI half century in 78 balls.

Collingwood had problems reading Chawla but eased Powar twice through extra-cover for his first boundaries before a swivel-pull brought him six off the returning RP Singh.

He did eventually get on top of Chawla and cracked him past point to get to his fifty in 58 deliveries.

Dravid juggled his bowlers around but with the England duo's confidence soaring and the fielding continuing to deteriorate the home side hurried to a comprehensive victory to end the summer on a high.



SEE ALSO
India in England 2007
13 Aug 07 |  Cricket
Twenty20 call-up for Mascarenhas
08 Sep 07 |  England


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