Sukhpal Singh Khaira, the Congress legislator, whose arrest in a drug case has put the two Indian National Developmental Inclusive Alliance (INDIA) partners
Hardik Pandya’s impressive all-round show (71 runs and 4 wickets) along with Rishabh Pant’s fantastic maiden century (125 not out) in the 50-over cricket guided India to a convincing five-wicket win over England in the third and final ODI and 2-1 win in the three-match series at Old Trafford, here on Sunday.
Pandya first starred with the ball before joining forces with Pant at a crucial juncture in the run chase as the two batters added 133 for the fifth wicket to set up India’s five-wicket win.
All-rounder Hardik (4/24) and leg-spinner Chahal’s (3/60) superb bowling efforts helped India bowl out England for 259 in 45.5 overs. Skipper Jos Buttler played a vital knock (60 off 80) for England, who were invited to bat first by India captain Rohit Sharma.
Apart from Buttler, Jason Roy (41), Moeen Ali (34), and Craig Overton (32) were the other main contributors with the bat for the hosts. Besides Pandya and Chahal, Mohammed Siraj (2/66), and Ravindra Jadeja (1/21) were the other wicket-takers for India.
Chasing a challenging total, India were off to a bad start as Reece Topley removed Shikhar Dhawan early. Dhawan drove a full delivery but couldn’t keep it down and Roy took the catch at backward point.
Skipper Rohit Sharma looked in fine touch before Topley dismissed him. The ball was just outside off and Rohit (17) pushed and edged behind to the lone slip fielder Joe Root.
As has been the case in recent matches, Virat Kohli looked good once again but flattered to deceive again as Topley bowled just outside off and the star batter nicked it behind again and walked back for 17, leaving India in trouble. Suryakumar Yadav scored 16 before he was sent back to the hut by Craig Overton.
India were now reeling at 72/4, needing a big partnership and they got it with Rishabh Pant and Hardik Pandya, who launched a brilliant counter-attack. The pair embarked on a partnership of 133 runs, which came in only 115 deliveries.
Their crucial partnership had some audacious shots, coupled with sensible defending. They found it easy to pierce the field at ease, as the England bowlers did not have any answers to their brilliance. Both Hardik and Pant brought up their half-centuries and started to up the ante, which brought Pandya’s wicket courtesy of a brilliant catch by Carse.
When Pandya got out in the 36th over of the innings, there was still a lot to be done as India needed 55 runs to win. And, Pant became even more aggressive and went on to hit his first ODI century.
The wicket-keeper batter treated the England bowlers with disdain, smashing David Willey for five fours in an over. In the end, Pant remained not out with 125 off 113 and along with Ravindra Jadeja (7 not out off 15) helped India to a thumping five-wicket victory in 42.1 overs and a 2-1 series win.
Reece Topley (3/35) was England’s most successful bowler while Brydon Carse (1/45) and Craig Overton (1/54) also chipped in with one wicket each.
Earlier, opener Jason Roy showed aggressive intent and fetched three fours right in the very first over but India struck at the other end just nine balls into the game.
Siraj, who returned to the playing XI in place of an unfit Jasprit Bumrah, made an impact straight away by getting rid of Jonny Bairstow (0), who got a leading edge while attempting to work one on the leg side and the substitute Shreyas Iyer took an easy catch.
Joe Root (0), who came to bat next, couldn’t do anything as Siraj forced him to give an easy catch to the slip fielder, leaving England in trouble at 12/2 at the end of two overs. However, unfazed by the double strike, Roy and Ben Stokes decided to counterattack and struck a flurry of boundaries. And in no time, they raced to their 50-run partnership.
With main bowlers not controlling the flow of runs, skipper Rohit Sharma introduced Hardik Pandya into the attack. The all-rounder kept denying Roy the room, which the batter usually craves and that resulted in the wicket. On a short ball, Roy got a top edge in his attempt to smash it as Rishabh Pant took the catch and India got their third wicket.
After a few overs, Pandya struck again to remove Stokes, who came down the track but couldn’t play the short ball with authority and the bowler himself took the catch, putting England in deep trouble at 74-4 after 13.2 overs.
From there on, the onus was on skipper Jos Buttler and Moeen Ali to bail England out of trouble. They bided their time but eventually got into their groove, stitching a crucial partnership and putting a bit of pressure back on the Indian bowlers.
Just when it looked like their partnership was flourishing and leading England towards a decent total, Ravindra Jadeja struck in his very first over and gave India the much-needed wicket of Moeen, who edged the ball down the leg side and Pant took a brilliant catch.
However, skipper Buttler held the England innings together and hit a crucial fifty. With more than 17 overs left in the innings and England already half down, Buttler along with Liam Livingstone needed to bat deep but Pandya once again changed the course of the game in a matter of three deliveries.
In the 37th over of the innings, both Livingstone and Buttler looked to take on Pandya on the short ball but were caught brilliantly by Jadeja in the deep on both occasions. David Willey, who had scored crucial runs for England in the previous game, looked in fine touch again and was beginning to find a boundary an over but Chahal returned to the attack and put an end to the cameo (18) with a slower one.
The lower-order batters hit the leg-spinner for a few boundaries but Chahal picked up the final two wickets in the same over to polish off the tail and end England’s innings at 259 in 45.5 overs.
(Inputs from IANS)