Ajinkya Rahane smashed his maiden ODI century as India clinched their first 50-over series win on English soil in 24 years after thrashing the hosts by nine wickets in the fourth one-dayer to take an invincible 3-0 lead in the five-match series, in Birmingham on Tuesday.
India last won a bilateral ODI series in England in 1990. Back then, the tourists won both the matches in the two-match series -- at Leeds (by six wickets) and Nottingham (by five wickets). Opting to bowl today, the visitors first restricted England to a modest 206 and then overwhelmed the target in 30.3 overs to record their third consecutive victory in the ODI series at the the Edgbaston, in what turned out to be yet another lopsided contest.
While Rahane destroyed the pedestrian English attack with a 100-ball 106 with the help of 10 fours and four sixes, an woefully out-of-form Shikhar Dhawan (97 not out; 11x4s, 4x6s) also re-discovered his touch as the opening duo put on 183-run partnership off 28.4 overs to lay the foundation for the comfortable win.
It was a dramatic turnaround for India after the shambolic 1-3 drubbing in the recent Test series, in which the batsmen struggled to cope up with the swinging ball. Earlier electing to bowl, Indian bowlers produced a disciplined effort to bundle out England for a below-par 206 with Moeen Ali's 67 being the top-score for the hosts.
Ali's second ODI fifty guided England to a score of respectability as the hosts were bowled out in 49.3 overs as they wasted a perfect first-use of a good batting surface with only three batsmen crossing the 20-run mark.
Ali faced 50 balls, hitting four boundaries and three sixes, while Mohammad Shami (3-28) ended up as India's best bowler on the day. He was ably supported by Bhuvneshwar Kumar (2-14) and Ravindra Jadeja (2-40), while R Ashwin (1-48) and Suresh Raina (1-36) were the other wicket-takers. Playing his first ODI, Dhawal Kulkarni (0-35) went wicket-less in his seven overs.