Brief Scores: India 329 in 48.2 overs (Rishabh Pant 78, Shikhar Dhawan 67; Mark Wood 3-34) beat England 322/9 in 50 overs (Sam Curran 95*; Shardul Thakur 4-67, Bhuvneshwar Kumar 3-42) by seven runs
In a match that saw the pendulum swing both ways throughout, Team India held their nerves to get over the line by seven runs. Despite Sam Curran’s brilliant knock of an unbeaten 95 that gave England a whiff, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Hardik Pandya and T Natarajan bowled excellent overs at the death to help India win the series 2-1.
After scoring 329 all out courtesy breezy fifties from Rishabh Pant and Shikhar Dhawan, the Indian reduced England to 200 for 7, before youngster Sam Curran showed his mettle and temperament to take his team close. Helped by Adil Rashid and Mark Wood, who chipped in with crucial knocks, England looked well set to get over the line before the Indian pacers held their nerve.
Here are the talking points from the match:
Sam Curran raises his game
Sam Curran rightly won the Man of the Match on a night when Team India got over the line by seven runs. Walking in to bat at number eight, Curran, who had one List A fifty before the match to go with an ODI batting average of just 7.4, batted like a dream and took on the role of a senior partner as he looked to take his team to a series win. He steadied the ship upfront, refused singles, accelerated before the asking rate went beyond control and slowed down when his team was in danger.
Curran got under the line of the ball and picked easy singles when the boundaries were hard to come by. He benefited from a dropped catch when he was just on 22, with Hardik Pandya giving him a reprieve. The Surrey player made the most of his chance as he changed the complexion of the game, and though he failed to take England through, he showed a glimpse of what he can really do for the side – something that he displayed consistently for Chennai Super Kings in the Indian Premier League last year.
Rishabh Pant ends the season as the standout player
Ever since Rishabh Pant played the second Test match in Australia, he has been on a roll. He has thrived in tricky positions, taken his team out from deep waters and has given a real display of his talent. Aged just 23, Pant has been the standout player for Team India in the last few months, and he displayed the same in the last ODI as well.
After not finding a spot in the XI for the first game, Pant has roared back in the absence of Shreyas Iyer. Batting at number four on Sunday, the Delhi player played his natural game but was cautious as well as he turned the tide in India’s favour with the bat. He attacked both the slower bowlers and the pacers – scoop sweeping to fine leg on one knee or smashing one handed sixes down the ground.
He stitched together 99 runs with Hardik Pandya, and was instrumental in taking India to a target of 329. Pant has massively improved his wicket keeping as well, and the fact that he did not shy away from standing up to the fast bowlers who were bowling at 135 clicks an hour is a testimony to his fearless nature. He played a small role in dismissing Jonny Bairtsow as well, as he moved up to the stumps, which restricted the batters scoring shots.
When will Virat Kohli get his 71st Test ton?
Though Virat Kohli has been getting crucial fifties for his team, the one blip remains his inability to convert it and get a hundred. His last international hundred was in November 2019, and he has now gone 489 days without a hundred in any format for India – a rare record for a player who had an enviable conversion rate. On Sunday, he was pegged back by Moeen Ali, who had bowled the Indian skipper in a similar manner in the second Test at Chennai six weeks ago.
It was Ali’s first wicket in the format after 13 months – his first after the tour of South Africa in February 2020.
The Indian skipper was looking to send a good length ball through the offside off his back foot but was bowled in the process. With the Indian Premier League starting from April 9, India’s next international venture will be the Test Championships, which will take Kohli’s streak without an international ton 573.
Rohit Sharma and Shikhar Dhawan achieve feat
The duo of SAhikhar Dhawan and Rohit Sharma had been under the backburner in the ODI series, with Jonny Bairtsow and Jason Roy taking centre stage. However, all of that changed during the third ODI on Sunday, when the Indian duo stitched a quick stand, piling up 100 runs in only 14 overs. It set the foundation for the Indian middle order to attack, and take the score to well over 320.
In doing so, they also became the seventh pair in ODI cricket to score more than 5000 runs. They are the second Indian pair to achieve the feat, with the legendary duo of Sourav Ganguly and Sachin Tendulkar standing tall with 8227 ODI runs. The others who have crossed the 5000-run mark in ODI cricket are: Mahela Jayawardene and Kumar Sangakkara (5,992 runs), Tilikeratne Dilshan and Sangakkara (5,475), Marvin Atapattu and Sanath Jayasuriya (5,462), Adam Gilchrist and Matthew Hayden (5,409), and Desmond Haynes and Gordon Greenidge (5,206).