ENGLAND captain Alastair Cook believes his side are ready to be considered a genuine force in the one-day game after they clinched the NatWest Series against India with a rain-affected tie in the fourth ODI at Lord’s.
The tourists looked primed to gain a belated first win of their tour after posting 280-5, but Ravi Bopara struck a magnificent 96 to guide England to the brink of victory.
With the rain falling, however, and England needing 11 to win from seven balls under the Duckworth/Lewis method, a third downpour ended the match, and after a slight delay, the match was declared a tie.
“I’m delighted. We have played two very good sides this summer,” said Cook, who also masterminded a series win over Sri Lanka earlier this summer.
“To win the two series in fantastic. It is all about winning no matter how you get there. It’s also been impressive to see the strength of character to get over the line in these games.”
After an early collapse of wickets in response to India’s total, which was dominated by the 169-run stand between MS Dhoni and Suresh Raina, England relied heavily on another mature knock from Bopara.
The late rain hindered the Essex right-hander’s progress to a century, with England forced to ensure they remained ahead of the Duckworth-Lewis score instead of focusing on India’s target.
In the end Bopara’s dismissal from the final ball before the rain set in cost England, when he was caught in the deep, but Cook only had praise for the 26-year-old, after he also set-up Friday’s win at The Oval.
“He played an outstanding knock to get us back into the game,” said Bopara’s county colleague, Cook.
“It is great to see him delivering on the international stage and to get that tie for us.
“We ended up batting for Duckworth-Lewis because we didn’t know when the rain would take us off. The tie was fair in the end.”