MANCHESTER: Rishabh Pant’s maiden ODI century and Hardik Pandya’s all-rounder valor propelled India to a convincing five-wicket win over England in the deciding third match of the series here on Sunday.
The visitors won the three-match rubber 2–1.
Chasing a target of 260, after India’s troubled 72 for four, Pant (125 not out off 113 balls) and Hardik (71 off 55 and 4/24) battled to outdo each other. was engaged in , as the tourists completed the task with 47 balls.
Hardik scored a career-best 4/24 as a disciplined India bowled out England for 259 with more than four overs left in the innings.
Skipper Jos Buttler hit 60 off 80 balls for England, but it was the flamboyant Gujarat all-rounder who dominated the first half of the match with his scintillating bowling, warning opponents in the year. T20 World Cup.
In Hardik’s company, Pant showed his exceptional skill with the bat as he hit 16 fours and two sixes in his scintillating innings at Old Trafford.
It was then that lucky seamer Reece Topley (3/35) proved dominant again by quickly removing the trio of Shikhar Dhawan, Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli.
Dhawan’s dominance continued in the series as he fell for one, while Rohit (17) reached a delivery that was far away to dismiss Joe Root at first slip.
Kohli gave Buttler a pat when Topley bowled a delivery that was at an angle.
As has often happened to him in recent times, Kohli looked good till he was in the middle, but a minor mistake and the maestro was walking back with a nod of his head.
England were on top as India were struggling at 38 for three in the ninth over.
Suryakumar Yadav scored 16 before Craig Overton’s ball took him off awkwardly to dismiss Buttler. India could have been in a big hole had Buttler not missed the stumping of Moeen Ali to give life to Pant for 17.
Pant and Hardik then stabilized the innings by mixing caution with aggression. The duo quickly made a half-century stand to slowly take control of the proceedings, keeping India in the game.
With a wide range of strokes at their disposal, both Pant and Hardik handled their job in a professional manner, rarely spotting any sort of trouble.
Hardik was dismissed on a brilliant catch by Ben Stokes, but a flurry of boundaries by Pant meant it was easy for India in the end.
Earlier, playing in place of injured Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammad Siraj built up massive confidence early on, dismissing Jonny Bairstow on his third ball of the day. As the England opener shaped it into play on the leg-side, the bat turned into his hand and the ball went ahead to Shreyas Iyer with an edge over mid-off.
With his tail up, Siraj then ran to bowl Vipul Root, got the ball to take off, and at second slip, skipper Rohit took the outside edge well. Siraj actually stuns Root up with his late movement.
With two of their batsmen back in the shack for ducks, England were in trouble at 12 for two.
This happened when Jason Roy (41) hit three fours off Mohammed Shami, which included a boundary through mid-off off the very first ball of the match.
Rohit made a bold move to field first, noting that eight of the last nine matches at Old Trafford have been won by teams batting first.
His English counterpart Buttler was happy to bat first and Bumrah was not resting for the hosts. But little did he know that a replacement for the world-class bowler for the day would rock his boat so early in his innings, that too on a batting-friendly wicket.
Stokes showed what a fine pitch to bat on when he offered the face of the blade to push the ball through the off-side for a boundary.
Roy and Stokes stabilized the innings, but when their counterattack partnership reached 54 runs, Hardik caught them behind by tying them down by bowling a tight line and length.
The ball was on the short side but there was hardly any room for Roy to free his arms, and the result was that England lost their third wicket with 66 runs on the board.
In the middle of a fine spell, Hardik kept the pressure on his side and soon he got the English Test captain caught and bowled. It was a reward for some brilliant bowling from Hardik, who saw the disheartened Stokes walk out, after which the all-rounder got his second wicket.
India’s bowling was so tight that since Roy’s departure, England could score only 16 runs in seven overs.
Returning to the attack, Siraj hit Butler on the helmet twice in the span of three balls. On both the occasions, the physio looked at him as per the concussion protocol, but the batsman seemed fine.