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Captain Cook stars as England cruise

NatWest Series

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Captain Alastair Cook led by example with a rapid unbeaten 80 as England heaped further misery on India by winning the second match of the NatWest Series.

He batted with near total authority in steering his side to a comfortable seven-wicket victory under the Rose Bowl floodlights, achieved with the luxury of five deliveries of their allocated 23 overs to spare.

Cook built superbly on a destructive 25-ball 46 from Craig Kieswetter, with whom he shared an opening stand of 67 in little more than six overs that did so much to propel England to a target of 188 on a reliable surface.

Ian Bell and Ravi Bopara made breezy contributions before Samit Patel - as he did in the Twenty20 international - wrapped up another resounding triumph over a side who surely cannot wait for this most miserable of tours to end.

Alastair Cook & Vinay Kumar

Alastair Cook does as he pleases to lead England to a target of 188 at the Rose Bowl tonight - and a comprehensive seven-wicket victory

For injury-ravaged India, the wait for a first competitive win goes on. They were whitewashed 4-0 in the npower Test series and beaten in the Twenty20 international and, judging by the manner in which they leaked runs tonight, may come to look back on the washed out opening ODI as the closest they came to breaking that duck.

If the tourists, who are missing eight players through injury, had reason to be satisfied with posting 187 for seven, they were made to think again during a brutal yet stylish assault from Kieswetter, who stuck four fours and three sixes.

Cook was more measured by comparison - he faced 63 deliveries - but the flip over the shoulder while on one knee, as well as the reverse-sweep, underlined his growing confidence and stature as a one-day batsman.

Earlier, Ajinkya Rahane’s impressive 54 formed the centrepiece of a seemingly imposing India total that was bookended by rapid contributions from Parthiv Patel and Suresh Raina.

Parthiv went a considerable way to making up for a five-hour rain delay by flaying 28 off 18 balls at the top of the order, while fellow left-hander Raina was even more destructive as he smote 40 off just 19.

Raina was one of three wickets to fall in the final over as Tim Bresnan finished with 3-43, a return bettered only by Graeme Swann, who defied conditions hardly conducive to spin to claim 3-33.

Mahendra Singh Dhoni & Craig Kieswetter

Craig Kieswetter, with 46 off 25 balls, makes rapid inroads into India's total of 187 for seven. It proved to be wholly inadequate

Bresnan came in for the harshest treatment from Parthiv after England won the toss and play got under way at 7pm - his second over contained two meaty leg-side sixes - and the hosts were therefore thankful when James Anderson located his edge via a back-footed slash.

With the exception of a couple of exquisite strokes over the off-side field, Rahul Dravid was content to let the impressively mature Rahane do the bulk of the scoring in a 79-run stand for the second wicket that was broken only when Dravid swept Swann powerfully to Anderson at short midwicket.

Rahane combined power, placement and astute shot selection en route to a 40-ball half-century - to go with scores of 61 in the Twenty20 international and 40 in the opening ODI - only to give Swann a smart return catch above his head after Virat Kohli was easily taken by Bell at long-on.

Although Mahendra Singh Dhoni failed to clear Bell off Jade Dernbach despite his trademark ‘helicopter’ follow-through, Raina helped plunder 16 off one Dernbach over during the batting powerplay and continued to free his arms to good effect before India again faltered late on.

Raina, whose six over point off the front foot was the most memorable shot of the innings, swung Bresnan to Ben Stokes at deep square-leg; Manoj Tiwary fell three balls later to a brilliant diving catch from the busy Bell at his customary long-on; and Ravichandran Ashwin was run out chasing a bye off the final delivery.

Kieswetter’s initial assault, which featured three wonderful sixes over log-on and a couple of trademark drives in the arc between cover and mid-off, was largely responsible for getting England ahead of the required rate in reply.

Ajinkya Rahane

Ajinkya Rahane leads the way for India with a stylish 54, his third score of 40 or above in three innings against England in the space of a week

By the time he was trapped in front on the move by Vinay Kumar, India were reeling, and Bell maintained the momentum before, on 25, he picked out the only man in the off-side ring when driving at Ashwin.

While Cook knew a large part of his task was to occupy the crease, he nevertheless wasted few opportunities to score, most notably hoisting Ashwin for six over midwicket.

Bopara, having batted sensibly, needlessly gave Ashwin the charge to gift Kohli a simple catch at cover, but it said much for the efforts of Kieswetter and Cook that the result had long since ceased to be in doubt.

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