MANCHESTER, England: Hardik Pandya’s all-round brilliance and Rishabh Pant’s 125 not out off 113 balls carried India to a five-wicket win in the one-day international series decider against England on Sunday.
India won the series 2-1.
Pandya dismissed Jason Roy and Ben Stokes in an outstanding opening burst in the third and final ODI before returning to take the wickets of Liam Livingstone and Jos Buttler in the same over to finish with an ODI-best 4-24.
“For the team this win means a lot,” Pandya said.
Buttler top-scored with 60 off 80 balls in England’s 259 all out in 45.5 overs, but that was put in the shade by Pandya's 71 off 55 deliveries in a decisive 133-run stand for the fifth wicket with Pant at Old Trafford.
While pacer Reece Topley (3-35) followed up his England record 6-24 on Thursday with the prize wickets of Rohit Sharma (17), Shikhar Dhawan (1) and Virat Kohli (17), Pant and Pandya expertly led the recovery after India appeared in real trouble at 72-4.
The pair offered chances but grew in confidence with temperatures reaching 30 degrees Celsius.
Pandya departed with 55 required but Pant’s unbeaten ton — with 16 fours and two sixes — got India over the line with some 7.5 overs to spare.
A carnival-style atmosphere greeted Pant’s first ODI century, in which he accelerated after going past 50. He mixed orthodox strokes to give England a lesson after it failed to bat out its 50 overs for the third time in the series.
After being asked to bat first, Roy settled with an authoritative punch, the first of three fours in Mohammed Shami’s opening over. But if an unchanged England was relieved at Jasprit Bumrah’s absence, it was quickly put into perspective as his replacement Mohammed Siraj exploited some early movement to find the edges of Jonny Bairstow and then Joe Root, both for three-ball ducks.
Roy continued to assert himself and Stokes was bullish but Pandya put the brakes on. Roy skied a top edge to depart for 41, while a charging Stokes got in a tangle after Pandya dragged his length back and offered a return catch on 27.
David Willey (18) and Craig Overton (32) made useful contributions down the order and, though 25 balls went unused in England’s innings, the hosts' hopes grew as Topley picked up where he left off at Lord’s.
Dhawan’s bat turned in his hands as he skewed to backward point, Rohit nibbled at a delivery angling away from him, as did Kohli, whose luckless run across formats was extended after another low score.
Suryakumar Yadav nicked off to Overton, who then strayed too far in-field from fine leg and watched Pandya’s pull bounce inside the rope, just after Pant had been reprieved on 18. Advancing to Moeen Ali, Pant was beaten by lavish turn, but Buttler failed to take the stumping chance.
They were costly misses, with the India pair unfurling some glorious drives down the ground against England’s rotating cast of bowlers.
Hardik reached a 43-ball fifty first before Pant got to his off 71 deliveries.
Neither batter took any undue risks and it was only when Pant was in his 70s that he thumped Overton for India’s first six. England at least claimed Pandya as Stokes took a sensational low catch diving forward from midwicket.
After reaching his 106-ball ton — his second fifty came off just 35 deliveries — Pant was in no mood to hang around. Willey disappeared to all parts as he conceded five fours in as many balls before Pant ended proceedings with a reverse sweep for four off Root.
Buttler said he was still “a young captain” and needed more time.
“I feel like a really experienced cricketer, but in terms of captaincy I’m quite a young captain with lots of opportunity to grow and learn about the role,” Buttler said. “I think it will take a bit of time, I want to try and walk before I can run, I’ve just got to work out, be myself and use the people around me to help me."
India won the first ODI at the Oval by 10 wickets before England responded with a 100-run victory at Lord's in the second match.