LONDON - Ravindra Jadeja and MS Dhoni led India’s fightback as the tourists recovered from a dismal start to reach 234-7 in the third one-day international against England here at The Oval on Friday.
Dhoni’s beleaguered team looked in dire trouble after slumping to 58-5 in the early stages, but the Indians hit back impressively thanks to an aggressive innings of 78 off 89 balls from all-rounder Jadeja.
Jadeja’s 112-run partnership with Dhoni lifted India after James Anderson had taken three wickets to put the tourists on the back foot.
India arrived at The Oval still waiting for a first victory over England on this tour after losing all four Tests to surrender the number one spot to their hosts.
They then crashed in the lone Twenty20 international and the second one-day match at the Rose Bowl on Tuesday, after the first match was rained off.
With eight players, including star batsman Sachin Tendulkar, already ruled out for the rest of the series, the last thing Dhoni’s team needed to see was a green wicket and overcast skies in south London.
The conditions looked ideal for England’s bowlers after Alastair Cook won the toss and elected to field and it took just four balls for Anderson to make the breakthrough as Ajinkya Rahane edged to Jonathan Trott at first slip.
India needed Rahul Dravid to steady the ship but the 38-year-old’s ageing legs let him down as he was brilliantly run out by Anderson in the sixth over after rashly attempting a quick single.
Anderson was proving England’s dangerman and he quickly added Parthiv Patel to his list of scalps as the opener was bowled playing all round a straight delivery.
India were into the 10th over before Raina finally scored their first boundary and their struggles continued when Virat Kohli became the fourth man to go, caught behind off Anderson with the score on 25.
Suresh Raina fell when he mistimed a wild slog off Broad, edging to wicketkeeper Craig Kieswetter to leave India deep in trouble at 58-5.
But, to the relief of the massed ranks of Indian supporters, Dhoni was able to lead a revival.
Dhoni brought up his 39th one-day 50 in 69 balls and, aided by some overly defensive field settings from Cook, he was able to rebuild India’s innings in a century partnership with Jadeja.
Jadeja nudged a four to reach his fifth one-day 50 in 73 balls and the stand with Dhoni reached 112 before the skipper skied a mistimed drive to Cook off Bresnan.
India were finally letting rip now and a quick-fire 59-run partnership between Jadeja and Ravichandran Ashwin ensured India finished with a competitive total thanks to 84 runs in the final 10 overs.