India win Delhi ODI, avoid whitewash
Team India held its nerve in a low-scoring third and final One-Day International to register a thrilling 10-run win over Pakistan in New Delhi and avoid a series whitewash.
The Indians were first bundled out for a paltry 167 in 43.4 overs but relied on a brilliant bowling display under pressure to stop the visitors at 157 in a nerve-wracking day-night contest.
Electing to bat, India left out Virender Sehwag, who has been struggling for runs, and Ajinkya Rahane was drafted as opener in his place.
Sehwag had scored only 238 runs in his last 10 matches, with a single half-century, at an average of 23.8.
Image: India captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni tosses the coin with Pakistan captain Misbah-ul-Haq and match referee Roshan Mahanama
Rahane departs cheaply
Pakistan's left-arm pace duo Junaid Khan and Mohammad Irfan tested the Indian openers with some short and fast deliveries and succeeded in subduing the host's top-order.
The Kotla wicket had some juice and the Pakistani duo made full use of the conditions to keep the Indians under check.
Rahane was the first wicket to fall, caught behind by wicketkeeper Kamran Akmal off lanky pacer Irfan for four.
Image: Mohammad Irfan celebrates after picking up the wicket of Ajinkya Rahane
Gambhir fails again
Irfan then dismissed Gautam Gambhir, who hit one straight to the fielder at point ater scoring just 15.
Virat Kohli also could not contribute much; he was caught at second slip off Junaid Khan for seven, leaving India reeling at 37 for three in the 10th over.
Image: Mohammad Irfan celebrates as Gautam Gambhir walks back after his dismissal
Indian top order fails again
Yuvraj Singh started off positively, hitting boundaries off the first two balls he faced from Gul, who was hit for 18 runs in his first over.
Part-timer Mohammad Hafeez proved his utility with the ball, getting the wicket of Yuvraj, who smashed a quick 23 from as many balls.
Yuvraj was done in completely by one that gripped and turned as the Indian top order failed yet again.
Image: Yuvraj Singh is bowled by Mohammad Hafeez
Dhoni, Raina save India the blushes
Captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni and Suresh Raina saved India the blushes with a 48-run partnership for the fifth wicket.
Raina battled hard for his knock of 31 from 60 balls before he was trapped leg before wicket by Saeed Ajmal, who also trapped R Ashwin LBW off the very next delivery.
After a cautious start, Dhoni went on the attack against Hafeez, whom he smashed for back-to-back sixes over mid-wicket.
Image: Mahendra Singh Dhoni hits out
Gul gets the wicket of Dhoni
Dhoni heaved Hafeez for another six over mid-wicket before being dropped by the same bowler in his follow through.
India's captain smashed one hard back down the pitch, which Hafeez tried to latch on to but only ended up hurting his left thumb.
Dhoni was batting on 29 at the time.
He could not cash in on the chance and was out to Gul when he went for a cut only to find Umar Akmal at point. His 55-ball knock was studded with four boundaries and three sixes.
Image: Umar Gul celebrates getting the wicket of Mahendra Singh Dhoni
Ajmal registers best figures in ODIs
Ajmal then spun his magic on the Indian lower order, bamboozling them with his flight and turn.
Bhuvneshwar Kumar too didn't last long; he was trapped leg before wicket for two.
Ishant Sharma was brilliantly caught and bowled by Ajmal.
The Pakistan off-spinner registered a five-wicket haul when he had Ravindra Jadeja caught at long-on that also ended the Indian innings at 167 in 43.4 overs.
Ajmal finished with five for 24 in 9.4 overs, his best figures in ODIs.
Image: MS Dhoni appeals for Nasir Jamshed's wicket
Kumar provides early breakthroughs
Kamran Akmal opened the innings in place of the injured Mohammad Hafeez. However, he didn't last long, dismissed leg before wicket by Bhuvneshwar Kumar for a duck in the third over of the innings.
Veteran Younis Khan also struggled against the young Indian pace duo of Kumar and debutant Shami Ahmed.
Younis struggled for six from 19 balls before he was bowled through the gate by Kumar as Pakistan were left reeling at 14 for two in the seventh over.
Image: Bhuvneshwar Kumar is jubilant after taking the wicket of Younis Khan
Jamshed departs cheaply
Nasir Jamshed, who hit centuries in the first two matches of the series, scored a patient 34 from 64 balls before he was dismissed LBW by R Ashwin in his first over.
The left-hander tried to play the paddle sweep but missed and was struck right in front of the stumps.
Image: Mahendra Singh Dhoni and Virat Kohli appeal successfully for the wicket of Pakistan opener Nasir Jamshed
Jadeja proves utility with the ball
All-rounder Ravindra Jadeja proved his utility with the ball as he bowled a miserly spell of one for 19 in ten overs.
Umar Akmal, who made 25 from 50 balls, looked to break the shackles against Jadeja as he gave him the charge but was beaten in the flight and was stumped by Dhoni.
Image: Ravindra Jadeja celebrates as Umar Akmal walks back
Pakistan batsmen crumble under pressure
From a comfortable 113 for three, Pakistan suddenly slumped to 125 for six to add some drama to the proceedings and raise hopes of a dramatic Indian victory.
Debutant Shami Ahmed bowled a tight spell under pressure in the death overs to bring his team back in the hunt. He also claimed his first wicket in international cricket when he had Saeed Ajmal caught behind for one.
Image: Shami Ahmed (left) celebrates with Suresh Raina after getting the wicket of Saeed Ajmal
India clinch thrilling victory
Mohammad Hafeez, who came down the order, was dropped by Rahane at leg slip off Ashwin, a costly lapse which prevented India from tightening their grip on the match.
A horrendous decision by Indian umpire Sudhir Asnani, who turned down a confident LBW shout by Ashwin, also did not help India.
With 23 required from 12 deliveries, Hafeez threatened to take the game away from India as he slammed Ishant for two boundaries in the penultimate over. But the pacer had the final laugh when he got Hafeez caught by Yuvraj at midwicket for 21 to give India victory.
The hosts finally brought some cheer for their fans with the dramatic victory, which reduced their margin of defeat to 1-2 in the three-match series.
Image: Yuvraj Singh (right) and Suresh Raina celebrate India's victory