Hardik Pandya star with bat and ball as India beat England in series decider
Hardik Pandya’s all-around glory and Rishabh Pant’s 125 not from 113 carried balls India to a five-wicket win in their one-day international series decider against England.
Pandya dismissed Jason Roy and Ben Stokes in a superb opening jab before returning to take the wickets from Liam Livingstone and If butler in the same over to end with an ODI-best foursome for 24.
Buttler was best with 60 of 80 balls in England’s 259 All Out in 45.5 overs, but that was eclipsed by Hardik’s 71 of 55 deliveries in a crucial 133 run stand with pant at Emirates Old Trafford.
While Reece Topley continued his England record of 6-24 on Thursday with the price scalps of Rohit Sharma, Shikhar Dhawan and Virat Kohli, Pant and Pandya expertly led the 72-4 recovery.
The pair created chances but grew more confident in temperatures soaring to 30 degrees Celsius and while Hardik left with 55 points required, Pant’s undefeated ton of 16 fours and two sixes put India across the line with 7.5 overs to go.
A carnival-like atmosphere greeted Pant’s first ODI century, during which he accelerated after exceeding 50. Mixing orthodox punches with his own unique brilliance, he taught England a lesson after they failed to hit their 50 overs for the third straight game and lost 2-1.
After being asked to hit first, Roy decided with an authoritative hit, the first of three fours in Mohammed Shami’s opening.
But if England were relieved at Jasprit Bumrah’s absence, it was quickly put into perspective when his replacement Mohammed Siraj took advantage of some early moves to find the crosses from Jonny Bairstow and then Joe Root.
Roy continued to hold his own and Stokes was optimistic in a 54-run, 47-ball union, but Pandya hit the brakes with a terrific opening spell of 4-3-2-2. Roy drove an upper edge to leave for 41 while an attacking Stokes got caught in a tangle after Pandya pulled his length back and offered a return catch on 27.
Buttler was lucky that a couple of uppish drives landed just short of fielders while he was twice late on the hook and clattered in the helmet by Siraj. He performed better in the next over, drawing with confidence before lofting Yuzvendra Chahal for the first of his two sixes.
Moeen Ali shone briefly but was caught on the legside for 34 after a 75-run stand with Buttler going to a 65-ball fifty shortly after, not his slowest effort but one of his quieter ones and his first since Successor to Eoin Morgan as full-time England white-ball captain.
Livingstone was punchy but died at depth at 27 looking for his third six ahead of the returning Pandya, with Buttler potting three balls later before England’s 200 was up.
David Willey (18) and Craig Overton (32) made useful contributions in the run and although 25 balls went unused in England’s innings, their hopes grew as Topley picked up where he left off at Lord’s.
Dhawan’s racquet spun in his hands as he flipped onto the back tip, Rohit nibbled on a throw that angled away from him, as did Kohli, whose hapless run across formats was extended after another low result.
Suryakumar Yadav grabbed Overton, who then erased his textbook by straying too far from his fine leg in the field, and watched Pandya’s train hop inside the rope just after Pant was pardoned on the 18th. As he advanced to Moeen, Pant was hit by a wasteful spin, but Buttler was unable to take the chance.
They were costly mistakes and the India pair unleashed some glorious shots across the floor against England’s rotating cast of bowlers. Hardik, comfortable on the forefoot and rearfoot, was particularly safe, hitting a 43 ball in first place before Pant got to his 71 deliveries.
No batter took undue risk and it was not until Pant was in his 70s that he beat Overton for India’s top six. Meanwhile England were bleeding at borders but they at least won out Pandya when Stokes made a sensational low catch diving forward from Midwicket.
The wicket failed to dampen Pant’s enthusiasm, who headed into the 90s with a slog sweep high over the deep midwicket, although he missed at 97, the ball just dodging the bouncing David Willey in the midwicket.
After hitting his 106-ball ton — his back fifty was only making 35 deliveries — Pant wasn’t in the mood to hang around. Willey vanished in all parts as he conceded five fours in as many balls before Pant ended proceedings with a reverse sweep for fours from Root.