Cricket - Bell ton hands England consolation win in India

Fifth ODI, Himachal Pradesh Cricket Association Stadium, Dharamsala - India (226 all out from 49.4 overs, Raina 83, Bresnan 4-45, Tredwell 2-25, Finn 2-27) lost to England (227-3 from 47.2 overs, Bell 113*) by seven wickets. India win the five-match series 3-2.

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Cricket - Bell ton hands England consolation win in India
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Ian Bell, England (Reuters)

Ian Bell's unbeaten 113 took England to a seven-wicket victory over India in the picturesque setting of Dharamsala.

Fine bowling by the tourists saw England restrict their hosts to 226 all out, despite a fighting 83 from Suresh Raina.

Tim Bresnan finished with the best figures of four for 45, but Steven Finn (two for 27) and James Tredwell (two for 25) also weighed in with contributions on a day when the weather and the conditions resembled England in May.

England batted steadily towards their target, with Bell taking plenty of time to play himself in and riding his luck in the early stages.

But he finished strongly, aided by Joe Root (31) and Eoin Morgan (40 not out) as England cantered home with 16 balls to spare.

The tourists still lose the series 3-2, but the result marks a considerable improvement on the 5-0 loss they suffered on the same tour back in late 2011.

England head off next to New Zealand, with the first T20 of the series just 13 days away.

There were doubts about whether the game could take place at one stage, with Dharamsala at the foot of the Himalayas and temperatures 1500m above sea level wintry, despite the waxy sunshine.

England won a crucial toss, and made the only change of either team, with the out-of-form Jade Dernbach cast aside for Chris Woakes.

It was Bresnan who struck first in swinging conditions, removing Rohit Sharma (4) and Virat Kohli (0) in successive balls, Tredwell taking the catch each time.

It did not get better for India - Yuvraj Singh (0) was next to depart, edging to Morgan at point off the bowling of Finn.

And try as they might, the home side could not get a foothold in the mountains - Gautam Gambhir (24) gave his wicket away softly to Tredwell to leave India 49 for four, while MS Dhoni (16) followed lbw to Finn at 79 for five.

Raina could have followed too - Tredwell almost clung on to a spectacular catch in the slips when he had just five to his name, while Root saw an appeal for lbw turned down that would have been given had DRS been available.

But Raina ploughed on, assisted by Ravi Jadeja, and scored a fourth half-century in the series in four innings.

Jadeja (39) gave his wicket away trying to attack Tredwell and holing out, while Woakes then accounted for Raina with a slower ball, Bell catching each time.

Cameos from Ravi Ashwin (19) and Bhuvneshwar Kumar (31) gave India a chance, but the damage was done.

Cook and Bell began steadily - both married some streaky strokes with some beautiful, crisp shots, but India kept themselves in touch by removing the skipper for 22 during an inspired spell from Ishant Sharma, then seeing Kevin Pietersen fall for six as he attempted to slog Shami Ahmed and offered a catch in the deep.

Bell slowed to a crawl at one point, but Root kept things ticking over and eventually Bell began to rediscover his rhythm.

The pair were patient against the spinners, but accumulated where they could.

It came as something of a surprise when Root, who has been so mature in his fledgling international career, gifted his wicket to Jadeja - but he attempted a slog through midwicket in the powerplay and was clean-bowled.

Morgan came to the middle in poor form, but played the foil to Bell and blossomed as the target came into sight. The left-hander blasted three sixes to up the tempo, while there was time for Bell's century, brought up with a deft flick into the leg side.

His 143-ball knock turned out to be supremely-judged, and it was fitting that he struck the winning runs as England completed a largely successful three months in India.

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