Rishabh Pant’s sensational ton and Hardik Pandya’s all-round display helped India to a 2-1 series victory against England in Manchester.
India start strong
Winning the toss, India skipper Rohit Sharma had no hesitation in putting England in to bat. The decision paid rich dividends as the Indian pacers struck at regular intervals. Mohammed Siraj, who replaced Jasprit Bumrah, would scalp the wickets of Jonny Bairstow and Joe Root, with both walking back for a duck.
Jason Roy and Ben Stokes would then take the attack to India, establishing a 54-run stand. But the pair would walk back to the pavilion in relatively quick succession. Roy would be dismissed for 41 by Hardik Pandya and the all-rounder would strike again to send Stokes packing for 27. England now found themselves struggling at 74/4.
Buttler, lower-order help England to a competitive total
England would then fight hard, with skipper Jos Buttler leading the way. A stand with Moeen Ali of 75 runs would steady the ship for England. The pair played some glorious shots to put the pressure back on the Indians.
Moeen Ali would finally depart for 34, with Ravindra Jadeja getting his scalp. Liam Livingstone would chip in with 27 runs, with Pandya again doing the damage. Pandya would get his fourth of the match, with Buttler walking back after a well-made 60. David Willey (18) and Craig Overton (32) would score vital runs to ensure that England had a total to defend.
India would finally bowl out England for 259 in the 46th over.
England would again have the Indian top-order struggling again, striking early. Shikhar Dhawan could only score 1 before Reece Topley dismissed him. Rohit Sharma would be the next to depart, with Topley striking again.
Topley would have his third as Virat Kohli edged one to the keeper after scoring only 17. Suryakumar Yadav scored 16 before he was sent back to the hut by Craig Overton. India were now reeling at 72/4.
Pant, Pandya take India close
A big partnership was of paramount importance for the visitors. And they got just that, with Rishabh Pant and Hardik Pandya launching a brilliant counter-attack. The pair embarked on a partnership of 133 runs, which came in only 115 deliveries.
There were some audacious shots, coupled with sensible defending. The pair found it easy to pierce the field at ease, as the England bowlers did not have any answers against their brilliance.
Both Pandya and Pant would bring up their half-centuries and start to up the ante. This would bring about Pandya’s downfall as a brilliant catch by Stokes would bring an end to his incredible knock of 71.
There was still a job remaining to be done, as India needed 55 runs to win. But there was no stopping Rishabh Pant as guided India home, notching up his first ODI ton in the process. He treated the Englandbowlers with disdain, smashing David Willey for five fours in an over.
India would chase down the target in only 42.1 overs to win the series 2-1. It was another feather in the cap of the young wicketkeeper-batter, who is quickly carving out a reputation of thriving under pressure.
India 261 for 5 (Pant 125*, Hardik 71, Topley 3-35) beat England 259 (Buttler 60, Roy 41, Hardik 4-24, Chahal 3-60) by five wickets
Rohit Sharma, India captain: Very pleased. Came here, wanted to achieve something as a group in white ball. We were here last time and were beaten, I remember that. Not an easy place to come and win games. It was a good pitch, but we do understand it’s not going to be easy if we lose wickets upfront.
Positive side of it, these guys haven’t batted much in the middle overs. Today we got to see that with Hardik and Rishabh. At no point we felt they were panicking. They backed themselves and played cricketing shots. He’s a critical member for us (Chahal). Has got so much experience bowling in all formats. Pretty pleased with how he’s come back after the WC. Hardik as well. One side boundary was long, he kept bowling the bouncers and got rewards for it.
Not really (Worried about top-order?). To be honest, the wicket didn’t have much. We played some not so good shots. Still back those guys to come out good. One of those series where top order hasn’t come to the party. Have got nothing more to say because I know the quality they bring to the team. We’ve got some solid guys sitting on the bench who’ve been waiting to get a game.
Want to create that bench strength. Injuries are bound to happen, have to manage workload, so need to build bench strength. Have got some solid guys who will get their opportunity in West Indies.
Jos Buttler, England captain: I thought we were short (of runs). Needed a good start which we got actually (with the ball). Throughout the whole summer so far we haven’t batted our best. He (Topley) has been brilliant for us, put in a man of the match performance in the T20s as well.
He was just creaking a bit, it’s been a tough schedule and will probably have to look after him (Topley bowling 7 overs). If you give good players a chance they hurt you, half-chance with Pandya, along with the stumping. If we took our chances, with India’s tail, could’ve got hold of the game. I’ve found it (captaincy) absolutely fine to be honest.
Missed a chance but don’t think it’s got anything to do with captaincy. I’m an experienced cricketer but a young captain. Rash (Rashid) has probably been the most important player in our team for a long time. Look forward to welcome him back.
Hardik Pandya, Player of the Series: White ball is something close to me. We all know how good a team England is. For us as a team it was important to come here, set out the plans what we’ll bowl and execute it. Important for me to stop the runs, bowl as many dot balls. They were cruising at one point. I love short balls. Don’t fancy people taking me on. Gets me into the game.
Don’t mind getting hit for six sixes also if I can get a wicket. That’s his (Livingstone) game as well, he takes his chances. I always feel I’m shameless as a bowler. Don’t care how far I get hit. We all know what talent he (Pant) has. Finally today he was playing the situation. The partnership changed the game for us. The way he finished the game was also special.
Rishabh Pant, Player of the Match: Hopefully I remember (this knock) for the rest of my life. I was focusing on one ball at a time when I was batting. When your team is under pressure and you bat like that .. something I aspire to do.
I always enjoy playing in England, at the same time enjoy the atmosphere and the situation. The more you play the more experience you gain. Nothing to take away from the bowlers, it was a good wicket to bat on and the bowlers did a commendable job to restrict them, they were brilliant not only today but for the entire series.