Skipper Virat Kohli cracked a strokeful 71 before England dished out some disciplined bowling effort to restrict India to a modest 256 for 8 in the series-deciding third and final ODI at Headingley here on Tuesday.
Kohli scored 71 off 72 balls, inclusive of eight fours, but the Indian innings faltered in face of some quality spin bowling by Adil Rashid, who snapped 3 for 49 to hurt the middle order.
Kohli forged a 71-run partnership for the second wicket with Shikhar Dhawan (44) but after the duo were dismissed under-fire Mahendra Singh Dhoni scored 42 off 66 balls to shepherd the innings in the latter half.
Put into bat, India got off to a poor start as England pacers Mark Wood (1-30) and David Willey (3-40) moved the new balls around under heavy cloud cover with opener Rohit Sharma, in particular, struggling to put bat to ball.
The Mumbaikar scored 2 off 18 balls before holing out to square leg in an effort to break the shackles.
At 13/1 in the sixth over, Kohli joined Shikhar Dhawan (44) and the duo batted with renewed intent.
Together they put on 71 runs off 72 balls and dug India out of the deep hole. Dhawan broke free with three successive boundaries, while Kohli looked up for it, this being the series’ deciding contest.
Their 50-partnership came off only 53 balls. However, just when they were setting up a base for India, Dhawan was run out by Ben Stokes, who broke the stumps with a direct throw after finding the opener short of the crease in the 18th over.
Dinesh Karthik (21) became India’s newest number four batsman and chugged along nicely. Scoring almost run-a-ball, he helped India cross 100 in the 20th over and put on 41 runs with Kohli for the third wicket.
That budding partnership was broken when Karthik played on off Rashid in the 25th over. It marked the onset of spin influence on this game, and six overs later came the big moment.
Kohli played for a regular leg break, only the ball ripped off the surface and took his off-stump. The Indian skipper, who had reached his 48th ODI half-century off 55 balls, looked stunned at the turn Rashid generated.
It was the first time in 203 ODI innings that Kohli was dismissed by a leg spinner, who made it two wickets in six balls as Suresh Raina (1) was caught at leg slip.
The left-hander seemed to be giving catching practice as India slumped to 158 for 5.
Dhoni, who had walked to the crease with loud cheers from the Headingley crowd, put on 36 runs with Hardik Pandya (21) in a bid to rebuild the innings. The duo batted with caution, as they were the last recognized pair.
But just when they looked set to launch an offensive in the last 10 overs, Pandya was caught behind off Wood.
Dhoni pushed India past 200 in the 42nd over and put on 27 runs with Bhuvneshwar Kumar (21), as the English pacers kept a tight leash on the run-rate.
Dhoni was caught behind in the 46th over, and it seemed that India will fall short of 250. But Shardul Thakur’s 22-run blitz off 13 balls including two sixes brought the visitors to a defendable total on a track that is starting to take ample turn.
Earlier, India made three changes to their side after the Lord’s defeat. Dinesh Karthik came in for KL Rahul who was dropped after his two-ball duck.
The visitors also opted for a new-look pace attack as fit-again Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Shardul Thakur replaced Umesh Yadav and Siddarth Kaul.
For England, James Vince came in for the injured Jason Roy.