Ian Bell scores unbeaten century as England beat India by seven wickets in final ODI
Last Updated: 28/01/13 7:27am
Ian Bell scored a superb unbeaten century to guide England to a morale-boosting seven-wicket victory over India in the fifth and final one-day international in Dharamsala.
Bell finished on 113 not out, becoming the tenth Englishman to record a one-day hundred on Indian soil, to ensure the tourists ended on a high despite India ultimately claiming a 3-2 series win.
Earlier Tim Bresnan had led the way for England with the ball on his final appearance before being sent for treatment on a nagging elbow injury, taking 4-45 as the hosts struggled to 226 all out.
Suresh Raina held the India innings together as he made a tenacious, if at times fortunate, 83 to help his side recover from 49-4 early on.
But things could and perhaps should have been better for England who put down a total of five catches, including two tough ones in three balls off Raina.
Bresnan quickly proved he was still fit enough to cause India problems when he sent back Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli with successive balls in the fourth over; Sharma was first to go for four as he edged to James Tredwell at second slip and the dangerous Kohli bagged a golden duck next up, following a wider one and offering Tredwell a second catch which he clung on to after a spot of juggling.
Yuvraj Singh survived the hat-trick ball but was soon gone for nought, squared up by Steven Finn and floating a catch to Eoin Morgan at point and, when Gautam Gambhir (24) was caught by Ian Bell off Tredwell, India had still not reached 50.
Raina and Mahendra Singh Dhoni set about rebuilding the innings and added 30 - including a straight six from Raina off Tredwell - before Finn returned to trap the home captain lbw for 15.
It was a huge scalp but Raina had not given up the fight and found a willing ally in Ravindra Jadeja (39), who helped accelerate the run-rate with two straight sixes of his own and taking the score to 136-5 with 15 overs left.
England put down Raina twice in the space of three balls, on 61 and 63, Cook diving at square leg and Tredwell getting finger tips to a return chance, but Tredwell (2-25) continued his memorable series by breaking the 78-run partnership when a Jadeja mis-hit looped into Bell's hands.
Raina was now playing a lone hand and reached 83 before pulling Woakes straight to Bell at mid-wicket, but the Indian tail then wagged as Ravichandran Ashwin (19) and Bhuvneshwar Kumar (31) both had fun towards the end to push India on towards respectability.
But the total always looked below-par, and even more so after Alastair Cook and Bell had given England a solid start to their reply by reaching 50 without loss.
Cook did depart soon after as Ishant Sharma snuck one through his defences to bowl him for 22, while Kevin Pietersen managed just six before he was well caught on the boundary rope by a running Jadeja off the bowling of Shami Ahmed.
But Joe Root joined Bell to put England back on track, the Yorkshireman contributing 31 in a stand of 79 before succumbing to Jadeja, bowled as he attempted a rather ambitious sweep.
That would be India's last success, though, as Eoin Morgan produced an impressive cameo of 40 from 40 balls to get England over the line alongside the majestic Bell.
The Warwickshire right-hander's innings contained 13 fours and a single six, while Morgan blazed four maximums during his stay to ensure the tourists got home with 16 balls to spare.