In a frantic finish at Lord's, the fourth one-day international was tied under the Duckworth/Lewis method to give England the series as rain swept across the ground moments after Ravi Bopara had been caught at deep midwicket for a career-best 96. Before James Anderson could join Steven Finn at the crease, the players went off and although the rain did stop there was no time to resume the game. India were left searching for their first win against England on this tour and, once again, cursing the weather, which has done them no favours throughout the series.
Scorecard | Match in Pics | Statistical highlights
England were on course for victory as Bopara, with one of his best international innings, and Swann added 50 for the seventh wicket in 6.3 overs. Swann, who batted at No. 8 because of an injury to Stuart Broad, was brilliantly run out by Munaf Patel during his follow through. Fearing that England would slip behind the D/L par score, Bopara tried to clear the midwicket boundary next ball but only found Ravindra Jadeja as the rain continued to fall.
As it transpired, with no further deliveries available, if Bopara had blocked that ball England would have won by one run. It was a difficult situation for Bopara and should not detract from an excellent innings that could prove a significant moment in a stop-start career.
There had been two brief rain stoppages previously. The first when India were marginally ahead of the D/L par score. The second an over later, after England had moved in front of the par score during the 45th over, as Swann guided a boundary to third man. On both occasions the side behind was, unsurprisingly, reluctant to leave the field and India's players remained on the outfield at one point, waiting for the rain to stop. The final decision that the game was tied was tough on the visitors because, with Finn and Anderson to face RP Singh, the odds were probably in India's favour despite a wet ball.
That England were chasing 281 was down to a partnership of 169 between Suresh Raina and MS Dhoni as 140 runs came off the last 14 overs. England's chase was always a nip-and-tuck affair after they slipped to 61 for 3 and was rebuilt by a 98-run stand between Bopara and Ian Bell, two batsmen with plenty to prove in the one-day team. Their partnership wasn't adventurous but it kept the asking-rate within range. Bell eventually chipped a catch to long-off for 54.
Ben Stokes continued to struggle against spin and chipped back to R Ashwin, the dismissal leaving the bowling allrounders to accompany Bopara, who had moved to 50 off 62 balls. Both Tim Bresnan and Swann had shown composure at The Oval two days ago and produced vital innings again. Bresnan made a brisk 27 in a stand of 47 with Bopara to take the requirement down to 60 off eight overs with a batting Powerplay to come. RP Singh, however, produced his best display of the tour and knocked back off stump to make India favourites again.
Swann played calmly between all the interruptions and calculations. He and Bopara found boundaries when they were needed, although England were in the tricky position of having one eye on the D/L target but also not letting the overall figure be forgotten in case the game went the distance.
For India, the finish summed up their series. Rain impacted each match and on three occasions at least it hasn't favoured the visitors. There will be a growing feeling that they are not meant to earn a victory on this tour, especially after they had produced one of their performances to turn the innings around from a sticky 110 for 4.
Broad had struck twice in his first two overs to remove the openers and then Swann claimed a brace in five balls, when Virat Kohli was caught behind and Rahul Dravid got a leading edge back to the bowler. For a period between the 22nd and 36th over India added only 55, but Dhoni and Raina were setting themselves for a strong assault in the closing overs. Raina, who has scored at comfortably more than a run-a-ball in the series, broke the shackles and Dhoni followed soon. Raina would have been run out on 26 if Anderson's back-hand flick from mid-off had hit the stumps.
In the second over of the batting Powerplay, Raina cut loose. Anderson was hit into the stands on the leg side after Dhoni had already taken consecutive boundaries. Broad received similar punishment, when Raina targeted the midwicket stands, and Alastair Cook was given another tough job trying to stem an onslaught. India scored 58 during the batting Powerplay and there was plenty of room for improvement in England's bowling and their captain's tactics.
In the end it still wasn't enough for India. They can take consolation that the margins of defeat are shrinking but at Cardiff there is only pride to play for.