On a hot day in Manchester, it was Rishabh Pant who boiled things over, his masterful first century ODI leading India to a five-wicket win and seeing Jos Buttler reign as ball captain white England start with defeats in both formats.
Set 260 to claim this decider, the tourists had suffered some early flashbacks to last Thursday’s 100 run defeat at Lord’s when Reece Topley overturned the form seen in that six-wicket performance and wiped out the top three with the new ball. England, level with the bat, suddenly believed a repeat was in sight.
But from 72 for four in the 17th, once Craig Overton knocked out Suryakumar Yadav with an extra rebound, Pant and Hardik Pandya began to brutalize Buttler’s offense in a 133-point stand that broke the back of the pursuit and had the Indian majority. crowd in ecstasy; not for the first time, England were playing an away game at home.
After earlier delivering four wickets with seven right-arm overs despite, Pandya fell for a 55-ball 71 with 55 runs required. But Pant plowed on 15 fours and two sixes in total, unflappable and brawny, to complete 121 steps on 112 balls and finish the job with eight overs to spare. It was a vintage round, his first century in 27 one-day appearances, and the type who could easily unlock more of that special talent.
Pant and Pandya provided chances. Buttler missed a chance when the former was on the 18, while the latter saw a four sail over Overton’s head on the six after the Somerset man misjudged his trajectory. Neither looked back, however, Pandya lasering drives with precision and Pant punches like a left-handed Asterix after a sip of magic potion.
It was Buttler who had earlier provided the ballast for England’s 259 from 45.4 overs, the best score with an 80 ball 60 from the No. 5. It represented his side’s one and only half-century in a series that has seen the roads of the recent past replaced by locations that offer a touch more for designers.
After losing the coin toss, the England captain arrived with one power play ball remaining at 66 for three. Mohammed Siraj had entered India’s XI following a late back spasm for Jasprit Bumrah and saw low-key runs from early summer Test stars Jonny Bairstow and Joe Root end with a pair of ducks .
Bairstow had a leading edge midway through the second set, Root was a real gash for the second slide three balls later. Jason Roy added an early drive with a 41-30 but saw it end in a spoon grab behind Pandya trying to whip a square-length ball with a snap of the wrists.
Ben Stokes was already there and continuing his summer of outright aggression, but on the 27th he tried to charge Pandya, only to have his versatile companion spot him, hit the ball short and claim a simple return. Moeen Ali came in at 74 for four, the quieter partner with 34 in a stand of 75 alongside Buttler who steadied a listed ship.
Moeen was calmed down – his first three balls from 20 were the slowest start by an England batter since the 2015 World Cup – but soon he and Buttler began to drive into Yuzvendra Chahal with three uphill sixes. This prompted a smart switch from Rohit Sharma, with Ravindra Jadeja replacing the leg spinner and, ball three, putting Moeen on the sweep.
Jadeja wasn’t done there though, with two wonderful holds to send Liam Livingstone and Buttler packing in the space of three deliveries.
The first had just fired two stunning sixes from Pandya into the wicket construction site square – the first bursting through the fence like a torpedo – but a third attempt from 27 spotted Jadeja on the rope. The follow up to take Buttler down was even better, with Jadeja diving deep and earning the applause.
Pandya’s pace and rebound had won that battle of egos, but from 199 for seven in the 37th, England’s tail wagged Willey (18) and Overton (32). The reintroduction of Chahal reduced the innings by 25 balls, however, with the pair trying to clear the rope and Topley reading a googly like it was Esperanto.
Topley at least got the new ball to speak his language, Shikhar Dhawan cutting back, Sharma pushing to slide over 17 and Kohli took his international innings streak without a century at 79 by similarly dabbing a ball that swerved. is leaning on him.
Overall, however, England failed to match Pandya’s sting with the ball and so couldn’t stop a breathtaking run from Pant.
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