Pant and Pandya lead India to ODI series win over England
Rishabh Pant and Hardik Pandya carried India to a five-wicket victory over England in the deciding one-day international at Old Trafford.
Pant made a wonderful unbeaten century, while Hardik’s 71 came after he took 4-24 with the ball, as the tourists claimed a 2-1 series win in sweltering conditions in Manchester.
Chasing 260, India were reduced to 72-4, only for Pant and Hardik to share a stand of 133.
Pant could have been stumped on 18, while Craig Overton misjudged a chance to catch Hardik when he had only six.
Though Hardik was out with 55 still needed, Pant went on to complete his maiden ODI century and hit the winning runs with 47 balls to spare to end 125 not out.
Hardik’s effort with the ball was earlier the primary reason why England were bowled out for 259, despite 60 from captain Jos Buttler.
Buttler suffers a defeat in his first ODI series since replacing Eoin Morgan as skipper, the scoreline replicating India’s success in the T20s.
India prevail in see-saw struggle
This was a fascinating tussle, the most competitive match in a series where the two sides had previously claimed a one-sided victory apiece.
In the end, India triumphed to the delight of a noisy and partisan crowd thanks to Hardik, one of the form white-ball cricketers in the world, and wicketkeeper Pant, who has had a fine tour in all three formats.
It was India’s greater ability to adapt to the two-paced pitch that saw them prevail. Hardik led an attack that intelligently used the short ball. Later, he produced a match-winning stand with Pant, who delivered a memorable hundred.
England will rue their missed chances in the field, but will also know that their top-order batting has not fired once across the three matches.
England are a team in transition. New captain Buttler and coach Matthew Mott are rebuilding a pace attack ravaged by injuries, while they were also without key leg-spinner Adil Rashid, missing this series after undertaking the Hajj pilgrimage.
They will be contenders at the World Cup next year, but the biggest threat to the defence of their trophy will be India, who are building a team capable of replicating their 2011 triumph on home soil.
Pant and Hardik lead chase
India were rocking when Reece Topley, England’s find of the summer in white-ball cricket, took the edge of all of Shikhar Dhawan, Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli, with Overton following up by removing Suryakumar Yadav.
If Buttler had taken the simple stumping chance when Moeen Ali deceived Pant, the game could have been done, while Overton got nowhere near Hardik’s miscue off Brydon Carse that would have been a straightforward catch at long leg.
Reprieved, the fifth-wicket pair steadily rebuilt. Left-hander Pant pounced on anything short, while Hardik stood tall to play handsome strokes through the off side.
England exhausted all of their options and the game was hurtling away from them when Hardik failed to get on top of a Carse bouncer, allowing Ben Stokes to take a fine diving catch at mid-wicket.
Pant, though, sprinted on, audaciously sweeping David Willey for six. There was a nervy moment when he chipped Overton over Willey at mid-on to move to 99, but after he completed his hundred, he exploded, taking Willey for five consecutive fours.
The winning runs came with a reverse-sweep off Joe Root’s off-spin, one final moment of magic in a spectacular knock. (BBC Sport)