Never rains but it pours for India as Bopara helps England to a tie

India 280-5 England 270-8

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The Independent Online

Conspiracy theories can usually be debunked. This one will be harder than most. India are clearly the victims of a plot to ensure that they do not win a single international match on this wretched tour.

As in all high-level machinations, it involves several strands – their own ineptitude, bad planning, fatigue, dreadful luck with injuries and, most ludicrously, a combination of Ravi Bopara playing an innings of improbable control and the darned English weather.

The tourists seemed to have done enough to win the fourth one-day international having lost seven times to England this trip without reply. But it was not to be and they must, deep down, have known it was not meant to be. They had to settle for a tie with England in a contest that was eventually as engrossing as it was fated to end in disappointing fashion. England have thus won the series 2-0 and it will be a long week for the tourists until the final match in Cardiff on Friday.

Rain intervened for the third and final time after clouds had scudded over Lord's for most of the afternoon. The tourists had just dismissed Bopara, caught on the boundary, to end a wonderfully authoritative innings of 96 with seven balls left.

England were then on 270 for eight, chasing India's unexpectedly high score of 280 for five. Had the over been completed without them scoring they would have lost under the Duckworth-Lewis system by one run; had Bopara blocked the ball with the dark cloud about to open, instead of trying to clip a six over wide mid-wicket, England would have won by one run.

As it was, his dismissal meant that England were level under Duckworth-Lewis, and a tie it was. In terms of the match it was a reasonable result but in terms of the tour it was yet another twist of the knife for India.

Whatever happens in Cardiff, how they must be looking to entertaining England in a return five-match series at home next month. They will be ready then all right.

If it was deeply unfortunate for India, it was a justified outcome for Bopara. Part of the ritual of an English summer is to reaffirm the prodigiousness of Ravi Bopara's talent. Large mountains are usually needed to convey some idea of its size.

This has too often been in the theory rather than the practice but in his 59th one-day international innings yesterday he was perfectly serene. His innings was measured and precise, deliberately bereft of big shots.

Bopara hit well into gaps and ran for his life, regularly turning singles into twos. He put on 98 with Ian Bell and while they were together England might have won in a canter. Bell, however, misjudged a chipped drive down to long off soon after he had passed 50, putting just too much pace on the ball.

Ben Stokes then came and went but Tim Bresnan and Graeme Swann played splendidly-judged hands, allowing Bopara to accrue while they played more expansively. It was clearly going to go the wire. At the first rain break, India were ahead, at the second only an over later, England had nudged in front.

That England were chasing quite so many was because of a grand fifth-wicket partnership between Suresh Raina and MS Dhoni.

At the start of it they hardly played an attacking stroke, by the end they could hardly stop playing them. Raina played his familiar pick-up shot time and again between long on and mid-wicket, Dhoni, the most expert judge of a one-day innings around, hardly needs his left hand on the bat when he starts attacking.

The pair came together in the 26th over at 110 for 4 and had only taken the score to 136 in the 35th. By the 40th it was 171 and then 109 runs flowed in the last 10 overs. It was a mite worrying for England that they seemed powerless to stem the flow and they played grumpy cricket from then on.

Late in the innings Stuart Broad injured an arm while bowling and it looked serious enough for concern to be expressed about his involvement in the late season Twenty20 internationals. Normally, this might not matter too much but he is the captain.

It turned out to be a riveting contest at last. On a steamy Asian night five months ago, the streets of Mumbai rocked with elation. India had won the World Cup after a gap of 28 years and among the merry thousands it was almost possible to touch the joy.

It is doubtful whether those scenes would have been replicated last night had they hung on to win, but they are due a tiny jog down Marine Drive before the internet was buzzing with stories of the plot.

Scoreboard

Lord's (One Day): England tied with India (D/L Method)

England won toss

INDIA

P A Patel c Bopara b Broad 27

32 balls 1 six 3 fours

A M Rahane lbw b Broad 38

53 balls 1 six 5 fours

R Dravid c & b Swann 19

33 balls 3 fours

V Kohli c Kieswetter b Swann 16

36 balls 1 four

S K Raina c Stokes b Finn 84

75 balls 2 sixes 7 fours

*†M S Dhoni not out 78

71 balls 3 sixes 6 fours

R A Jadeja not out 0

0 balls

Extras (lb5 w13) 18

Total (for 5, 50 overs) 280

Fall: 1-65, 2-70, 3-109, 4-110, 5-279.

Did Not Bat: R Ashwin, P S Kumar, R P Singh, M M Patel.

Bowling: J M Anderson 10-2-57-0, S T Finn 9.4-0-54-1, T T Bresnan 10-1-51-0, S C J Broad 9.2-0-52-2, R S Bopara 2-0-12-0, G P Swann 9-1-49-2.

ENGLAND

*A N Cook c Kohli b Singh 12

18 balls 2 fours

†C Kieswetter c Jadeja b Singh 12

9 balls 1 four

I J L Trott b Kumar 23

27 balls 4 fours

I R Bell c Sub b Jadeja 54

73 balls 3 fours

R S Bopara c Jadeja b M M Patel 96

111 balls 6 fours

B A Stokes c & b Ashwin 7

11 balls 1 four

T T Bresnan b Singh 27

22 balls 1 six 2 fours

G P Swann run out 31

23 balls 3 fours

S T Finn not out 0

0 balls

Extras (lb5 w2 nb1) 8

Total (for 8, 48.5 overs) 270

Fall: 1-21, 2-27, 3-61, 4-159, 5-173, 6-220, 7-270, 8-270.

Did Not Bat: S C J Broad, J M Anderson.

Bowling: P S Kumar 9-0-35-1, R P Singh 9-0-59-3, M M Patel 9.5-0-54-1, R Ashwin 10-0-44-1, R A Jadeja 9-0-60-1, S K Raina 2-0-13-0.

Umpires: M Erasmus and R K Illingworth.

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