Another series defeat for England in India, but that bare fact does not reveal anything of the drama that unfolded in Pune on Sunday when Sam Curran came painfully close to one of the biggest and most unlikely chases.
England looked dead and buried in the one-day decider when they crashed to 200 for seven, then 257 for eight in the chase of 330 to win this decisive 50-over international and their first one-day series triumph in India since 1984. seal.
But with only the tail for company, Curran conceived an astonishing No. 8 counterattack that slowly but surely led him England to a glorious end to a tour of so much red and white ball frustration.
Sam Curran (right) hit a brilliant 95 *, but that wasn’t enough as England lost third ODI
India kept the courage to win the third ODI and ended the tour with series wins in all formats
It looked like Curran would do it too when Mark Wood helped him reduce the target to 14 from the last time, but Thangarasu Natarajan held his nerve when England fell short of eight and Curran was left behind in his first century in one of the five. professional cricket. And to think that his highest one-day score for yesterday was 15.
What tension there was at the end of a long final day of this long and eventful tour and how England was aided by the most disastrous fieldwork when pressure was applied, four catches went down as India nearly lost the plot.
But in the end a chase that should have been within reach of England, but then became near impossible, ended in a blood-curdling and close failure, and they were forced to think about a defeat in Series Test, Twenty20 and 50 over.
Curran showed excellent maturity during his knock but was unable to win over England
It seemed to be much worse for them when Curran, who has had a quiet time in India, came in at 168 for six after England’s stand-ins in Dawid Malan and Liam Livingstone hunted them after the failure of the big guns. to fire.
And it would all be over if the younger Curran was gone when Hardik Pandya, who had previously dropped a dolly to grant Ben Stokes a respite at 15, spilled him on the 22 mark.
How he took advantage of that happiness. Curran had seen both Moeen Ali and Adil Rashid leave before he was joined by Wood, who had previously fought his way through seven heartfelt overs despite suffering from illness.
Together they preyed on India’s nerves and made England a favorite when they took off 18 of the last over bowled by Shardul Thakur, who had taken four wickets with his cutters.
That left them with 23 to pick up three overs and they kept trying their luck, Wood was handed out at 13 pounds but was granted a reprieve by technology and then both batsmen were dropped in a 49th over that saw India visibly wilt.
England captain Jos Buttler fell to 15 when England appeared to be facing a much tougher defeat
But inexperienced yorker specialist Natarajan, one of the culpable fielders who dropped Curran at 87, gave him little to hit in a final where Wood was exhausted. The series, pretty much, belonged to Virat Kohli again.
India looked poised for a huge score as they raced to 100 in the 14th without a loss, but the introduction of spin in the form of the tried-and-true Rashid and Moeen and a newcomer to Livingstone checked their progress.
First, Rashid took two wickets with his googly, produced a beauty to bowl Rohit Sharma, and claimed a return from Shikhar Dhawan.
Then Moeen threw Kohli and was rewarded with the same baffled look from the Indian captain who hailed an identical dismissal in the second Test at Chennai. He was Moeen’s first ODI victim in over a year, after six wicketless matches.
Moeen Ali looked good looking at the crease, but he couldn’t stay with Sam Curran
Their success encouraged stand-in captain Jos Buttler to give Livingstone the opportunity to prove he could take wickets internationally with his mix of leg and off spin. But it was a full throw with only his second ball that saw KL Rahul well caught by Moeen with a short fine leg.
Any hope England had of facing a humble target was then dashed by Rishabh Pant, this tour’s hottest batsman in all formats, and Hardik in a stand of 99 in 70 balls that once again took India to the dizzying heights. of 400-plus. .
It took a sharp one-handed response from Buttler at Curran to get rid of Pant and Hardik was thrown around his legs by Ben Stokes before Wood, seemingly struggling in the heat and humidity of Pune, stepped up to make one last big effort .
Wood, who had spent much of the India innings off the field and was constantly picking up fights, returned to take three wickets and prevented India from using their 50 overs, and was fired for 329 with 10 wasted balls.
Rohit Sharma and Shikhar Dhawan took India to a century standard flyer within 15 overs
Those lost deliveries looked like they were going to prove expensive for India as Curran was enjoying the innings of his life, but it shouldn’t be for an England squad that would at least have their status as the No.1 50-over side of the world with this 2. -1 series defeat.
It was a cathartic tour for them, but this Indian side is a formidable force that just about deserved this latest example of their superiority in all three formats.
But England will be sure to get their revenge when it hosts India in a run of five tests this summer – and is one of the strongest contenders in the T20 and 50-over World Cups later this year and in. 2023 will take place in India.
Rishabh Pant and Hardik Pandya entered into a thrilling 99-run partnership for India’s fifth wicket