India vs England 2021 Sam Curran falls short as India clinch cliffhanger to seal ODI series

India vs England 2021 Sam Curran falls short as India clinch cliffhanger to seal ODI series
England, ind vs eng, Cricket, england cricket, england vs india, Sam Curran

India vs England India vs England seal ODI to India falls Sam as short series cliffhanger Curran clinch

Sun, 28 Mar 2021 16:00:00 +0100

Shardul Thakur and Bhuvneshwar Kumar star with the ball after fifties from Shikhar Dhawan, Rishabh Pant and Hardik Pandya


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Shardul Thakur and Bhuvneshwar Kumar star with the ball after fifties from Shikhar Dhawan, Rishabh Pant and Hardik Pandya

India 329 (Pant 78, Dhawan 67, Hardik 64) beat England 322 for 9 (Curran 95*, Malan 50, Thakur 4-67, Kumar 3-42) by seven runs

Sam Curran’s gutsy innings took England to the verge of an unlikely win before T Natarajan held his nerve to ultimately deliver India victory in Pune, in a tense and fitting finale to the ODI series that went 2-1 to the hosts.

India were out of the blocks well with bat and ball, openers Rohit Sharma and Shikhar Dhawan laying the foundation before Rishabh Pant and Hardik Pandya provided middle-order muscle when captain Virat Kohli lost the toss for the third time in the series and was asked to bat first.

But it was the bowling of Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Shardul Thakur that allowed them to defend what looked like being a below-par total, especially in the face of some woeful Indian fielding, keeping England’s run chase in check for the most part until Curran’s fightback.

Curran, whose previous highest score from seven ODIs was 15, was reprieved on 22 when he was dropped by Hardik.

He made India pay – and sweat – with a stunning 95 not out off 83 balls from No.

8 under huge pressure as England went into the final over needing 14 to win.

Natarajan, known for his ability to nail his yorkers and bowl at the death, came into the side in what Kohli described at the toss as a “tactical” move to replace spinner Kuldeep Yadav.

Playing just his second ODI, Natarajan conceded just six runs when his captain threw him the ball for the final over as the hosts claimed victory by seven runs.

Half-centuries to Rishabh Pant, Dhawan and Hardik had India looking strong at times as the momentum swung more than once in their innings.

Having managed 39 for 0 and 41 for 2 in their previous two batting powerplays, India’s openers began with greater intent and aggression.

They were 16 for nought after four overs but then Curran conceded 15 runs off the fifth and they took 17 off the eighth, bowled by Reece Topley, to accelerate their cause.

The hosts lost four wickets in the first 25 overs, and four in the last 20 balls as they were bowled out with 10 balls remaining.

That left England needing seven runs fewer than they had managed to chase down with ease in levelling the series 1-1 on Friday.

But when Kumar struck in an extraordinary first over of England’s reply in which Jason Roy crashed 14 runs but fell on the last ball, bowled through the gate by a gem, and then had Jonny Bairstow out lbw, India couldn’t have hoped for better.

Kumar should have had a third wicket from as many overs when Ben Stokes, on 15, attempted a straight drive and skied the ball to mid-off, where Hardik put down a sitter.

England steadied to reach 66 for 2 after 10 overs, compared to India’s 65 for nought, but then Stokes advanced on a full toss from Natarajan that was, fortunately for the bowler, dipping from near waist-height by the time the batsman met it and swiped it straight to Dhawan at square leg.

With plenty of batting depth to come in acting captain Jos Buttler, Dawid Malan and Liam Livingstone – the latter two having come into the side after Eoin Morgan and Sam Billings were injured in the first match – it was a three-wicket run by Thakur that put India within grasp of adding an ODI series victory to their Test and T20I triumphs from England’s tour.

Thakur trapped Buttler lbw in his second over after India overturned the on-field umpire’s not-out decision on review and while Malan and Livingstone resisted with a 60-run partnership, Thakur accounted for both as England fell to 168 for 6.

Livingstone, playing only his second ODI, was particularly impressive, skipping down the pitch to whip Thakur through midwicket for a confident single on the first ball he faced and then helping himself to consecutive fours off Thakur and Prasidh Krishna, before coming down the pitch to Krunal and depositing him over long-on.

After 23 overs, England were 152 for 4 compared to India’s 151 for 3 but then Livingstone spooned a Thakur full toss tamely back for a return catch and Malan brought up his maiden ODI fifty pulling Thakur for four only to fall two balls later, pulling a Thakur short ball to Sharma at midwicket.

Still only needing a little over six an over at the halfway point, it was wickets in hand that were the worry for England, despite Moeen Ali showing some fine touch to reach 29.

But again Kumar – who had proved a vital difference when India won the fifth T20I to clinch that series 3-2 – delivered when he had Ali out driving to mid-off where Hardik made amends for his earlier blunder to take a low catch.

Thakur claimed his fourth wicket when Kohli took a spectacular catch in the covers to dismiss Adil Rashid.

Hardik was the culprit again when Curran picked him out in front of the sightscreen while lofting Prasidh down the ground and the ball went to the boundary in a costly let-off when England were 218 for 7.

Curran plundered 18 runs off the 47th over, bowled by Thakur, and Kohli threw the ball to Kumar for his 10th.

The move looked to have netted a crucial wicket when Wood was given out lbw, struck high on his front pad, but England’s review overturned the decision when the ball was shown to be going over.

Thakur dropped an easy catch at midwicket off Hardik that would have removed Wood in the penultimate over and Natarajan put Curran down next ball running to third man.

Wood was run out on the first ball of the final over, thanks to an excellent throw from Hardik at long-on to Pant.

That left England needing 13 off five balls with Topley on strike and he managed a single to get Curran facing.

Natarajan’s dot ball made it 12 needed off three but when Curran sent the next ball, a full toss, straight to Kohli at long-off for no run, his four off the next meant eight runs were still needed off the final delivery; England would need a wide or a no-ball.

Natarajan kept his cool and delivered a dot as Curran sent the ball towards long-on.

England's Stats – ODI woes in India continue, Rohit-Dhawan hit new heights

India need a little Pant-Pandya humpty in their ODI approach

Earlier it had been England’s spinners who made inroads, breaking a 103-run opening stand between Sharma and Dhawan off 91 balls and removing Kohli before Wood, who appeared to be battling illness, claimed three wickets at the end to restrict India to a total that the tourists would have regarded as attainable, given that they chased down 337 with 39 balls up their sleeves on Friday.

Rashid struck in his second over with a googly that beat Sharma’s inside edge and crashed into the top of off stump, then dismissed Dhawan with a sharp caught-and-bowled in his next over and, when Moeen Ali had Kohli out cheaply, shaping to smash him through extra cover only to miss and see the ball jag back to take out leg stump, India were 121 for 3.

Livingstone claimed a wicket with his second ball in ODIs, a hip-high full toss on leg stump which KL Rahul swiped behind square where Ali took the catch leaping to his left.

Hardik went after Ali with three sixes in the next over as he and Pant wrested back control, illustrating the fluctuating nature of the contest.

Curran ended Pant’s knock with a full delivery that found the outside edge and Buttler’s glove, thrust out to his left a lightning speed behind the stumps.

Pant had shared a 99-run stand with Hardik, who brought up his fifty off 36 balls and was eventually bowled round his legs by Stokes.

Thakur offered a neat cameo of 30 from 21 balls and Krunal, playing his third ODI after making a half-century on debut in the first match of this series, managed 25 before holing out to Jason Roy off Wood.

They were among four wickets to fall in quick succession as India managed just 11 runs off the last 20 balls of the innings but in the end, it all proved to be enough.

Valkerie Baynes is a general editor at ESPNcricinfo


India vs England India vs England

Sun, 28 Mar 2021 16:00:00 +0100

Eoin Morgan ruffled Sam Curran's hair trying to lift his spirits moments after he had just fallen short of pulling off an heroic series winning performance for 

Eoin Morgan ruffled Sam Curran’s hair trying to lift his spirits moments after he had just fallen short of pulling off an heroic series winning performance for England.

Curran smacked 95 off 83 balls, marshalling the tail like an old pro as he added 60 for the ninth wicket with Mark Wood; striking nine fours and three sixes by cleverly homing in on the short boundary on one side.

He handled the pressure and rattled India whose spooked fielders dropped two dollies in a desperate penultimate over as they sensed the game slipping through their fingers.

But T Natarajan coolly defended 14 off the last over by forgetting his own dropped catch moments earlier to produce some textbook yorkers that even Curran could not get away.

A seven-run victory gave India a clean sweep of the three series, leaving England empty-handed after all those days confined to a Covid bubble.

"This was a massive learning curve for me," said Curran, who now heads off to the IPL.

"I’m really happy with the way I played and this was a great experience for me but I love winning so it is disappointing.

"I had a few messages from the dugout to take the game deep and face the majority of balls.

It is a small boundary and the pitch was extremely good for batting but fair play to Natarajan, he nailed his six deliveries at the end."

India batted with more gusto at the top of their innings but they too could not find one batsman to build an innings around.

Their total of 329 was under par on a small ground and fine batting surface, and to be bowled out with 10 balls to spare nearly cost them the game.

With the ball zipping on under the lights, the target was not going to intimidate England’s vaunted batting line up.

But, just like India, England struggled to establish partnerships with batsmen getting themselves out when set, Kumar and Shardul sharing seven wickets.

Jason Roy and Jonny Bairstow failed for once, and Ben Stokes did not capitalise on Pandya dropping a sitter when he was on 15.

Stokes carted a waist high full toss to midwicket for 35.

Buttler’s form has fallen away, as has his head over to off side, and he was lbw on review for 15.

Livingstone and Malan propped up the innings putting on 60 for the fifth wicket.

Livingstone hit two crisp sixes and Malan made his maiden fifty in his third ODI.

But he could not play the Joe Root anchor role for long enough to make himself undroppable.

Two balls after his fifty he pulled a half volley to midwicket and Livingstone was the second to fall to a full toss, drilling a return catch to Thakur.

Curran kept England going by adding 57 with Adil Rashid for the seventh wicket, India helping him along the way when Pandya dropped his second easy catch of the day at long on when Curran was on 22.

The score was 218 for seven and the game would have been over had he held on.

It still felt an exercise in saving face for England as Curran rebuilt with Wood after Rashid’s dismissal but belief slowly started to grow with each boundary.

Curran’s previous high score in OIi cricket was just 15 but he earned an IPL deal in his first Test series by hitting India around lower down the order so Kohli’s side were aware of his threat.

He took 18 off Thakur’s last over to trim the target to 23 off the final three overs.

Suddenly England thought they could win.

That is the danger moment when batsmen chasing a miracle believe they can pull it off. 

Kohli turned to his best bowler, Kumar, and despite two wides, he conceded only four off the over.

The penultimate over by Pandya was chaotic.

Pandya bowled well and desperate heaves by England resulted in top edges.

Wood was dropped by Thakur at mid on, and next ball Curran skewed an edge over long leg where Natarajan fluffed another straightforward catch. 

England needed 14 from six balls, with Curran on strike.

Thirteen would have brought a super over, and England like those.

Curran drilled a first-ball yorker to long-on and Wood was run out after he was sent back trying to turn a single into two.

Last man Topley did his job getting Curran on strike first ball but Natarajan gave him little to work with.

England needed 12 off four and Natarajan missed a yorker but Curran could not hit the six England needed.

In the end, Curran ran out of road and India conceded only one four in the final three overs.

Remarkably Curran has still not scored a hundred in professional cricket but Buttler summed up why he is so highly valued.

“"He is a real impact player.

He still is only 22 and the scope where he can take his game to is massive.

We are all excited."

On the defeat…

On what went wrong today…

On Sam Curran…(who has been named man of the match) 

On the white-ball leg of the tour…

On the future for England…

England end their tour having lost eight matches.

Only once in their history have they lost more matches on a single tour – the Ashes tour in 2013/14, when they lost 12 games.


This is the third time in their last six matches that India have dropped 3+ catches in an ODI.


That it went to the last ball was down to one man, Sam Curran.

The left-hander played an outstanding and mature innings.

Dropped on 22 by Hardik he made the most of his good fortune and reminded everyone of what a talented cricketer he is. 

That was a lot tighter than anyone, including me, thought possible even 45 minutes ago.

Curran was outstanding and deserves a lot of credit.

But India ended up on top and have won the series 2-1. 

Just a single from Curran off the last ball and it’s all over BUT what a tight, tense, exciting finish. 

Curran ended on 95 not out and England ended on 322/9.

Natarajan  bowls full again and it’s a four for Curran – I’ve never seen someone look so disappointed with a boundary. 

Full toss from Natarajan  and Curran cannot capitalise, he again refuses the single and he has 12 to get off two. 

Topley gets a vital single to get Curran on strike. 

Curran refuses the single and there are three balls to go. 

First ball of the over and Wood just fails to make it having tried to get Curran back on strike.

Great throw from Hardik made life easy for Pant behind the stumps.

FOW ENG 317/9 chasing 330

What an eventful over – India’s fielding was a mess, two drops. 

Curran gets a single off the last and is on strike for the last over which will be bowled by Natarajan  (who has just dropped Wood)



It was an absolute dolly and THAKUR drops one of the easiest catches you’ll see, India’s catching is falling apart under pressure. 

Next ball Natarajan drops Wood! 

England need 15 from 8. 

Hardik bowls the penultimate over – can he atone for his drop off Curran when the batsman was on a mere 22? 

Curran steps away to leg first up and Hardik follows him – good dot ball.

It’s cat and mouse out there.

Curran gets a single from a misfield next up and in hindsight did they mean to run that? 

Wood is on strike four balls of the over to go

Bhuvneshwar is on and Wood cuts him for a single first ball and Curran is back on strike – just what England wanted.

India’s go-to bowler bowls a wide second ball – are the nerves getting to even him? He follows that with another wide.

I don’t want to tempt fate but I make England favourites now… The mood has changed over the past three overs. 

Remember Curran was dropped when he was on 22…

Bhuvneshwar has Wood trapped lbw it’s given out on the field – England review.


Wood survives – tense, gripping stuff. 

England need 19 off 12

Curran gets six runs off Thakur’s first two deliveries – dropped on 22 can the left-hander lead England to an improbable win? Everyone, including me, had dismissed the tourists chances of victory. 

The Indian bench are starting to look a bit nervous and well they might as Curran then hits Thakur for a six – a cutter into the pitch that the Englishman swats over the boundary.

Curran ends the over with a four to the extra cover boundary. 

18 from the over

England need 23 off 18

Hardik returns this time and starts with a good yorker.

Next up Curran picks up the well-pitched up ball and KL Rahul makes a great stop on the boundary, just two from that delivery. 

Curran has broken his bat so there’s another break in play (will ODIs soon be so long they go on for two days…?).

With the new bit of wood he plays a terrific shot, shuffling across his stumps flicking a full ball for four – wonderful.

Last ball Curran lofts a full toss high into the air, it falls short and he’s safe. 

England need 41 off 24

Thakur is back on – the 16th bowling change in the past 19 overs – Curran again doesn’t take an easy single first up (Wood was 5/6ths the way down the pitch before being sent back).

There’s another mix up next ball and Curran this time is forced to get back to his crease in double-quick time.

The much-debated single finally arrives third ball – phew.

Wood then thrashes at the ball and Kohli nearly pulls off another stunning catch at short extra cover – it goes for two.

Great over for India, just three from it. 

England need 48 off 30

That's only Sam Curran's second ever List A half-century, and his first in ODIs – the game is all but gone, but good work from the youngster.


Natarajan misses with his yorker and Curran smashes him for six down the ground first ball.

Good comeback from the bowler as he then hits the blockhole.

Curran is trying to go after Natarajan and refuses a single third ball.

He is then forced to take a run fourth ball.

Nine from the over, good comeback from the Indian left-armer

England need  51 off 36

Bhuvneshwar is back on as India search for the wicket they feel will effectively end this contest.

He opens up with four dot balls to Curran – he has immaculate control of length, a joy to watch for bowlers and annoying for batsmen.

Curran gets a single off the penultimate ball.

One from the over. 

England need 60 off 42

Half century for Curran – his first in ODIs for England.

He’s done exactly what he needed to do.

50 off 45.

Wood plays a good-looking shot – an elegant off-drive – for two.

Wood then pulls a Natarajan short ball, it is an edge for four.

The Indian bench don’t look impressed. 

England need 61 off 48

Wood may be a handy hitter but he isn’t as good as Rashid at rotating the strike.

He doesn’t need to take risks just yet – England will want to take this match deep and give themselves a chance.

Two from that Hardik over. 

England need 69 off 54

That pair were going well but with Wood now in and only two wickets to get it’s hard, if not impossible, to see England winning this now.

Wood is off the mark first ball with a single, he can bat and is a handy hitter, but can he help Curran reach 330?

That is a great one-handed catch at short extra cover from Kohli after Rashid chipped one.

Thakur has his fourth wicket of the day. 

FOW 257/8

Bhuvneshwar appeals for lbw against Curran – it’s given not out, it was very full, it looks like it might have pitched outside leg…KOHLI REVIEWS! 

It pitched a good three inches outside leg and it’s not out and India have no more reviews. 

Three from the over.

74 need off 66

Both batsmen have been rotating the strike well and picking up boundaries when they can.

The run rate isn’t overwhelming – it’s just the wicket column that’s worrying.

Two off that Prasidh over. 

77 runs needed off 72 balls. 

Hardik returns and tries to make amends for his dropped catch a moment ago.

Good bit of fielding – diving on the boundary – from Thakur prevents a Curran flick from going for four.

Curran then plays a forceful yet elegant pull that goes for four.

As long as he’s at the crease England have a chance. 

Hardik sees a replay of his drop two overs ago – he has a little smile.

He’s definitely someone who doesn’t take himself too seriously or seemingly get too stressed at events out on the field, unlike, say, his skipper…

Four singles from the first four Thakur deliveries.

Rashid then gives it a heave ho and it goes high and long over the mid on for two.

Seven from the over. 

England need 88 from 84.

Natarajan is expertly pulled for four by Rashid off the third ball.

He does look a good batsman on the odd occasion he’s out there for long enough to display the range of shits he has.

Curran then gets in on the act to power a shot down the ground. 

Curran plays a fine pull, helping it on its way – a loose ball down leg from Prasidh, the bowling coach looks aghast at that delivery.

That shot is bookended by three dot balls.

The fifth ball Curran hits down the ground, it goes very high.

Hardik tries to take it on the run but only succeeds in dropping it and ushering the ball to the boundary.

That’s his second drop of the match, neither will affect the result, though. 

What a shot from Rashid, a little whip down the ground – delightful to watch. 

6.76 an over needed from here, but England only have three wickets in hand…

Hardik drops one short and Curran gets his hands through it and it flies away for a six to cow corner.

England need plenty more of those.

 Nine from the over. 

England have struggled to time the ball today.

They've recorded a Timing Rating of 116, much lower than India's 131.

While you'd expect the ball to come on better under lights, India have bowled plenty of good cutters to disrupt England's approach.


Bringing back Bhuvneshwar worked for Kohli and it’s all uphill for the tourists now. 

Kohli is playing his major card as Bhuvneshwar comes back on.

First ball Moeen pulls him for a one-bounce four – a rare loose delivery form the Indian pace ace.  BUT two balls later Mooen tries to hit him down the ground, he doesn’t catch it and Hardik takes a good low catch diving at mid-off. 

You suspect that’s it for England’s chances of victory. 

FOW 200/7

Hardik now appears at the other end, replacing Natarajan.

Moeen and Curran attempt a quick single, taking on Rohit who has one stump to aim at on the dive.

It doesn’t hit and they survive.

That was close. 

Just four from the over. 

Moeen continues throwing bat at ball (it’s what he’s best at) and Prasidh’s first ball goes very close to the outstretched hand of Kohli after an uppish drive – he’s living dangerously but gets three from it.

Curran gets his first boundary with a well-timed cut.

Eight runs from the over. 

Liam Livingstone joins Ben Stokes in being dismissed from a full toss.

This is only the third time England have lost two wickets in this manner, in a single innings, since the 2015 World Cup.


Natarajan is on for golden arm Thakur.

On Sky they’re talking about Malan’s place in the T20 side – it seems that every innings Malan has something to prove regardless on his current fine form, it seems a tad unfair, anyway…

Moeen hits a big six leg side second ball, he looks in the mood.

The first five deliveries are dot, wide, six, wide, dead ball…interesting…that’s followed up with another boundary from Moeen with a swipe down to square leg.

He’s dangerous when he counter attacks and England will want him to stay in that mindset. 

Fifteen runs from the over – just what England needed. 

Hardik replaces his brother – seam has done the damage so far and Kohli is backing his quicker bowlers to carry on that trend.

Four dot balls to start with, Moeen then gets a single before Hardik bowls a bouncer to Curran and that’s another good over for the hosts. 

India are now way ahead and in the driving seat.

England were still up with the rate, but a lot depended on Malan and Moeen.

Malan moved to 50 (off 48 balls) with a pull off a short one from Thakur.

Two balls later he was out.

England up against it now. 

It’s 50 and out for Malan – he pulls a short one straight to Rohit at short mid-wicket.

He’s livid with himself.

FOW 168/6

Moeen isn’t settling in, playing the ball around, he decides to smash Krunal for a big six with the spin the penultimate ball of the over.

He likes to hit with the spin and you suspect he fancies Krunal’s bowling. 

Moeen is off the mark first ball.

Here’s Greg Wilcox.

Kohli barking out orders, moving his fielders around tersely.

"That’s out of the Nasser Hussain captaincy book, isn’t it?" teases Stuart Broad of his commentary partner.

Virat was all smiles half an hour ago but this partnership is becoming a major irritant.

But not any longer! 

It’s a full toss from Shardul and Liam Linvingstone has just stepped forward and patted it back to the bowler.

Calamity for the England newbie.

Shardul Thakur has a second wicket with his medium pace right arm seam, the slower ball did the trick, and England are right back in the soup.

FOW 155/5


A handy over of accumulation for England.

Seven for this over with a score off every ball.

Three off the Thankur over, which brings up the 50 stand in a warm order, just 43 balls.

Still a lot of runs required but England have a lot of batting, and a lot of overs.

Livingstone with a low, flat six as he comes out of his ground to slot Krunal over long on for the maximum possible return on investment. 

England’s fightback is gathering momentum here. Prasidh is dispatched for a trio of fours in this over. Livingstone shows his range with a shot to the legside, then a nice drive to off.

Malan, who is as good a player through third man as you could ever wish to see, glides another down there.

Spin at last! It’s Krunal Pandya who will bowl his slow left armers.

Malan, playing around his pad, is hit on said protective accessory.

Umpire Menon says that’s going to turn too much and miss leg.

India are not so sure.

They call for the review but it will not go in their favour.

England land a few gloves in this over though! Malan cuts Thankur for four behind square, and now Livingstone is opening up.

Attractive on drive is followed by a crisp pull, four runs for each of those and this all contributes to a 14-run over.

Three off this over from Hardik Pandya.

Three runs off the over.

This deck looks to have freshened up.

The ball is zipping off it, not so much in terms of lateral movement but just a bit of skid and nip.

Seam seems to be the way and England cannot, if nothing else, say that they’ve been diddled by the twirlymen.

Oh no Jos.

His head falls over the ball and he is off balance as he plays across the line here, trapped in the crease.

The ball thuds into his pads and there are two noises.

I think the onfield umpire reckons, as it sounded on the TV as well, that this is inside edge onto pad.

But after thinking for a few seconds Virat Kohli asks for the review – and rightly so! There were two noises indeed, but they were the ball hitting the front pad, then the other pad, and it would have gone on to hit the top of leg stump.

India go WILD as the celebrate.

They are really feeling this and if England can win from here they will have pulled off something very special.

FOW 95/4

Hardik P will take it up after drinks.

A filthy long hop is given what it deserves from Buttler, four to the cover fence.

A short, very short ball, seems to skid onto Malan a bit quicker than he was expecting.

He flaps a pull away for one.

England’s running between the wickets is not at its best.

Jos dabs it to cover and runs, that would have been close.

Seam-up seems to be working pretty well on this surface, Shardul Thakur and his right arm medium pacers will be the next can off the rank.

A full toss IS tucked away this time by Buttler.

Four for that, coupla singles and it is time for drinks with India, one fancies, feeling that they have their noses in front.

India sticking with seam. Natarajan continues.

And just two off the over, partly because Buttler fails to cash in on a full toss.

Malan with a crunching cut for four runs.

Jos tucks the ball off his pads for a couple.

England are facing a battle now.

Jos plays out his first three balls.

Ooh big moment.

It’s a dreadful ball from Natarajan, a waist high full toss, Stokes takes a couple of paces down then pitch and he whacks it straight to deep square leg.

Stokes asks the question as to whether it was a no ball on height.

But the fact that he strode out to meet it means that it wouldn’t have been had he stayed put, if you know what I mean. FOW 68/3

Dhawan gets on one leg like a stork and then slaps his other thigh.

Not your everyday celebration but everyone is having a good time – other than Ben Stokes, that is.

Three boundaries in that over, but this does not do Prasidh much justice.

"As a bowler you feel like you have not done a lot wrong there, but you have gone for 15 an over," says Stuart Broad on comms.

A short ball, Stokes top edges it and has himself a streaky, ill-gotten six.

Then Malan produces a lovely shot, fair enough, drives through the offside on the front foot.

Then a perfectly decent ball and Malan just opens the face and glides that for four behind square.

There’s a man behind point but he cannot get anywhere near cutting it off.

Bhuvneshwar giving nothing.

Just one off this over.

The run-rate has dipped below six, and the required run rate is just making the acquaintance of seven…  6.80 now..

But England certainly have the resources and a big over or two will get them right back on track.

Prasidh Krishna, tall chap, gets some lift and that causes Stokes a problem.

Attractive shot from Stokes through the offside brings four.

But a poorly judged single now.

Stokes tonks it to the offside, but is slow setting off, and has to dive to make his ground.

Had the throw from KL Rahul hit the stumps I think he was a goner.

Tidy, skilful over from Bhuvneshwar.

There are just a couple of singles off it.

Natarajan with a legside wide, but then beats Stokes with a snorter.

England having to be quite cautious at the moment.

What a drop! Oh dear me that is a howler.

Bhuvneshwar to Stokes, Big Ben goes for the big shot down the ground but doesn’t get it right at all.

Hardik Pandya under the high ball and he has spilled it. 

Stokes sort of checked his drive and ended up lofting it prettily a few yards back over the bowler’s head.

Another fielder, in fact his brother Krunal Pandya (!) is lurking a few yards away – did that put him off? Mike Atherton also wonders if the spider cam got in his eyeline.

We may never know, but what is certain is that he dropped the in-form Durham man.

Hello, Tyers here, and I slip (wheeze) into the blogging hot seat as Jonny Bairstow exits the stage.

Both he and J Roy back in the sheds with little score for once.

Over then to Stokes and Malan to drive England forwards.

The former smacks this delivery from Natarajan behind point for four, there are seven runs off the over in total.

Stokes is kept in his crease by Pant standing up for three balls which he defends well then plays an extraordinary shot off a respectable inswinging good length ball, pumping it over mid-on for four.

A cut stroke earns him a single and Jonny falls to the inswinger, lured across his stumps.  I will hand you over to Alan Tyers.

Bairstow lbw b Kumar 1 Gone.

Umpire’s call on hitting leg stump.  FOW 28/2 

Bairstow lbw b Kumar Walked across.

Was it missing leg? Too high? 

Natarajan takes the other new ball, left-arm over, angling it in to Bairstow.

He has a slip, which he brings into play by slanting it across Bairstow but twice gets his shape wrong and concedes two wides off booming inswingers.

Jonny B is off the mark with a tuck off his pads for a single. 

Stokes chisels out the yorker and then cuts hard for four.

Had a long way to reach to fetch that and hence the connection on the bottom third of his bat.

Somewhere below where the meat used to be located, though the meat seems to be plentiful on these modern bats. 

Jason Roy, who has played viola to Jonny’s lead violin, starts in thrilling style with a pair of fours off the first two balls, the outswinger creamed through the covers, the inswinger drilled through mid-off. 

An on-drive brings him two more.

He just eased that away.

Kumar then whangs one into his pads and he flicks it Ranji-fashion through square leg for four.

And then he was gone. 

Roy b Kumar 14 After a five-ball onslaught, Roy falls to the last which sneaks in through the gate.

Done by the length, I think and some nibble, he is caught on the back foot.

It hits the top of off.  FOW 14/1

India fell well short of the kind of score they should have reached.

England bowled well on a belter of a pitch, using pace off, top speed, astute spin until Pant and Hardik teed off.

Though India are capable of bowling as well as England, Jos Buttler and his men look delighted by their efforts, and rightly so. Back after the break. 


Kumar c Curran b Topley 3 One more sliced drive as the batsman groped for length and tried to slog a ball that wasn’t in the slot.

Curran runs in from mid-off and takes a routine catch.  FOW 329 all out 

Where’s your WinViz now?               

Special spells from an ailing Wood who has 7-1-34-3.      

Prasidh b Wood 0  Two yorkers to the No10 followed by a third in succession at 90mph that he can’t chisel out and middle stump is knocked back.  FOW 329/9 

Krunal Pandya c Roy b Wood 25 Unusual boundary-free innings as England protected the square boundaries superbly with their line and length.  Roy takes a stunning, running catch turning backwards at point to grab it one-handed on his knees.

Pandya K sliced his drive having been forced to reach too far to keep his bottom-hand grip on the handle.  FOW 328/8

Krunal hasn’t managed a boundary before this over and he seemed happy to play second fiddle to Thakur during that 45-ball partnership.

Topley mixes up his length and pace in the Surrey death style effectively to restrict them to five singles.

Eighteen balls left.

India may finish up to 30 runs short of even par on this pitch. 

Mark Wood returns for his third spell.

His sunny disposition shines through the grimaces.

He maintains his blistering pace and, at this stage of the innings while feeling Tom and Dick, to go for three off the first five balls and take a wicket off the sixth shows his skill and bottle. 

Thakur c Buttler b Wood 30 Throws his hands at a big whoosh at one on an off-stump line and nicked off to the keeper.  FOW 321/7

Krunal short-arm pulls the short slower ball from Stokes for a single but Thakur dances down to the fuller slower ball and smacks it over long-off for six, the bat wobbling in his hand on connection.

Stokes smiles and inspects his bat, then bumps fists with  Thakur. 

Four singles, the last to third man where Livingstone’s fine stop and throw almost catch Ktunal short of his ground as he was sent back after inching down on the call of ‘two’.

But Buttler’s shy missed the non-striker’s stumos. 

Thakur has been the more expansive, the right-hander finding it easier than the left-hander to find the rope let alone go over it.

But unlike his first six, which thundered off the middle of his bat, this one off Topley is top-edged for six over deep fine leg.

The fielder was in line but it went too high.

As Stuart Broad says, that was a wicket-taking delivery from Topley and drew the error.

The fact that it went for a streaky six should not discourage him. 

Although I want @englandcricket to win I didn’t want @RishabhPant17 to get out , he’s so good to watch 👏🏼@robkey612 @SkyCricket


Difficult chance for Rashid who drops a catch off Krunal in the deep, diving to his left in the deep after being forced to turn as the ball steepled over his shoulder.

They run two but only one more single comes off Stokes’ sixth over.

England have clawed it back here.

They should be able to put a lid on this at 350. 

Mark Wood cannot manage a three-over spell but has stayed on the field.

Topley returns for a seventh over.

Krunal drives two wide of mid-off and pulls a single to midwicket.

Topley stymies Thakur with the slower ball but the No8 lines up the next slow ball and whips it through midwicket for four.

Lovely stroke. 

Moeen misses a run out chance with a shy at the non-striker’s after Thakur is sent back.

He could have underarmed that back to Stokes.

Only three singles off the over, though, which is remarkable at this point  of the innings.

Poor Mark Wood looks as sick as the proverbial pig/parrot/dog. 

Developing into grim tussle for advantage.

England have for ed their way back every time it seemed India were running away with the match


Thakur swings and misses at a drive but hammers the shorter ball, pulling it hard and flat for six off Wood.

Just the single off the other five balls.  Dinesh Karthik says the reason Nos8, 9, 10 and 11 are more adept at six-hitting than their predecessors is because of the quality and ubiquity of bowling machines. 


Stokes gives England the chance of making this very chase-able indeed.

Krunal Pandya is a devastating hitter but he hasn’t looked comfortable so far against pace. 

Hardik b Stokes 64 Golden arm takes his mantle back from the young pretender Livingstone.

The younger Pandya walked across his stumps and he is bowled round his legs as he loses his balance trying to tickle it fine.   FOW 276/6

Mark Wood, who was cooked at the end of his first three-over spell and had to pour an entire bottle of water on his head, returns and is unyielding in his effort.

Big shout when he traps Krunal but it pitched outside leg.

Only two singles off Wood’s rapid, skiddy, comeback over and there’s a second appeal when he nicks Hardik’s thighpad outside off and the noise deludes them into thinking he might have nicked it.

Wood looks unwell and has another long drink. 

That’s the end for Rashid who took two vital wickets with two rippers but has also taken some tap, including a six off his drag down – they have crept back in today – pulversised over nmidwicket by the younger Pandya. 

Rashid ends with 10-0-81-2. 

Curran is penalised for a wide that climbs over leg stump when Pandya dances down to him.

Seems a bit draconian.

And he follows it with a couple more, one on height, another that passes under Pandya’s armpit.

Hardik laces four with a late cut off an off-cutter  for four bisecting third man and point, both of whom are in the circle.

After Hardik pushes a single to cover, Pant slashes four through third man.

But Curran ends the over with the vital breakthrough (one of those wickets that should go in the fielder’s credit column rather than the bowlers.)

Bumble was fearing 400 before Pant fell.

Now it’s the Pandya brothers in tandem or ‘the Pandya Division’ as Scyld calls them.

Pant c Buttler b Curran 78 Sensational one-handed catch low to his left.

He had to change direction because Pant was trying to whip it through square leg but it took the bottom outside edge of the toe and Buttler pulled it out of the air.  FOW 256/5

Pant takes the bus down town, charging down the pitch to flog Rashid’s well-flighted leg break for six back over his head.

The left-hander uses the turn in to him to work a couple of hard-run twos that Rashid thinks should have been kept down to one. 

WinViz after 30 overs of India's innings:

India – 70%
England – 30%#INDvENG

I think If England can contain them to 340 they’re still favourites and I’d even back them given India’s attack to chase 355.   

One left-armer replaces the other.

Sam Curran to Pant, who takes a stride towards the offside and whips him from outside off with those slick wrists through midwicket with venomous force.

Curran responds with a pair of cutters.

Point stops a single off the first, Pant works the second into the onside for a single.

Curran stays with the cutter tactic from round the wicket to Pandya but his first attempt is too close to the right-hander’s hip and he tickles it between keeper and short fine leg for four. 

Excellent from Rashid to Hardik P after the break, bowling quickly and using the googly.

After three dot balls, Hardik skelps the shorter wrong un round the corner for a single.

Two balls left at the assassin Pant and Adil comes round the wicket to him.

Good strategy.

He is forced to defend the big-turning leg break d works a single through midwicket off the final ball.


Much better from Topley now he’s had a chance to limber up.

The brakes go on with astute slower balls and variations of angle from over and round the wicket to the right-handed Hardik Pandya.

Three singles are the only damage. 

Time for a drink. 

Tight over from the returning Rashid who varies his pace and flight until the fifth ball, which is tossed up and Pant thrashes it on one knee over deep midwicket for six. 

Pant’s array of legside strokes is quite astounding.

His wrists are so supple and strong he can fetch just about any delivery and put in anywhere from long one to fine leg. 

Topley sprays one onto Pant’s pads and the left-hander flicks a single.

The next ball is too wide to Hardik Pandya and he cleaves it through point for four more.

Topley wasn’t given an early sign that he would be bowling that over and had to try to get loose in 30 seconds.

Little wonder it wasn’t consistent but he does end with a fine delivery from round the wicket, a leg-spinner out of the back of the hand that leaps up at Pandya Jnr and strikes him on the gloves. 

Buttler persists with Livingstone, who is bowling offies to Pant and leggies to Hardik.

The latter chops a leg-break behind point for four.

Pant almost succumbs off the final ball of the over, an off-break, which is flicked off a leading edge up the pitch but Livingstone’s momentum took him towards the legside as he anticipated fielding it.

He thrust out his right leg but couldn’t flick it up before it bounced. 

Reece Topley is coming back on as Buttler turns back to pace. 

Hardik has had enough of pushing and prodding, stands stock still and thrashes a drive over long off for six.

I regret that ‘miserly’ now as Hardik mows across the line, smashing the off-break with the turn over midwicket for another Dorothy Dix.

Make it three off the over.

Hardik takes Moeen down town with a steepling six off a slog sweep over deep square leg.

Might be time for a couple of overs from Mark Wood. 

This ground is tiny #INDvsENG


Pant decides to give Livingstone some tap.

He slaps a one-handed drive on the charge over long-off for six.

That was an off-break.

The next ball is also an offie and Pant flat bats it through cover.

But Livingstone fights back with three dot balls to end the over before handing back to the miserly Moeen. 

Pant and Hardik, India’s finishers usually, are in unfamiliar territory after Pant’s promotion up the order in this series.

Just the two singles off Moeen’s sixth over and his figures of 6-0-19-1 show his value to the team.

Ed Smith, take note. 

Livingstone bowls all sorts – offies, leggies and quite a few pies.

And it’s the pie that is the bait for Rahul to pop a catch round the corner with a one-handed flick off a legside full toss.

Sharp, one-handed catch from Moeen diving to his left, too.

Wickets have done the trick for England and wickets in the Powerplay and middle overs, all taken by the spinners.  

India have lost the plot here.

Getting frenetic.


Rahul c Ali b Livingstone 7  Bags a wicket with his second ball in ODIs.

Utter filth, too, a full toss that Rahul spatulas round the corner to short fine leg.

Hail Golden Arm!  FOW 157/4

Pant can’t line Moeen up.

I think it’s the dip.

He does attempt a cow corner mow but cloths it and Curran makes a valiant attempt to catch it but it was always falling short.

Five singles off Moeen’s fifth over as they take the ones on offer for flicks and pushes rather than using their feet. 

Liam Livingstone is going to have a bowl. 

Pant plays a remarkable stroke, he puts his front foot forward, withdraws it and then flicks the ball for a one-bounce four behind square.

Purely using his wrists as if bringing in the sheaves. 

And now he scoops Rashid for four with an ungainly, falling flick over Buttler’s head.

He is a truly remarkable player.

One of the five Wisden Cricketers of the Year in the 2022 Almanack if Booth hasn’t anointed him in 2021. 

Moeen carries on in his bustling way, hustling two dot balls with drift and dip.

The fourth-wicket partnership adds four singles but Moeen, who has 4-0-12-1, will be delighted by that. 

Barnsley salutes Bradford:

Adil is class 🏏 very good operator


Pant sweeps Rashid fine for two as Stokes pelts round from deep backward square.

England’s all-rounder can’t do anything to save a boundary off the final ball as Pant slog sweeps hard for a sky-scraper six. 

Moeen cleverly rattles through the over, turning on his heel after the four dot balls to bowl again and give the batsmen no time to think.

Rahul cottons on to this and tries to walk away from his crease but can only manage a head-clearing single off the last ball of the over. 

The man who calls himself  ‘King Legend’ Rahul gets off the mark with a defensive push to cover that is misfielded.

Pant plays the shot Kohli was trying to play against Ali, slashing two off the back foot through cover.

Malan dawdles with his throw and Rashid gives him an earful.

If you ever wanted an image of Morgan’s impact as captain on his players, it’s there: Rashid digging out a team-mate for dilatory fielding. 


India, having picked only one spinner, have been pegged back by England’s twins.

And England have dismissed the top three for 21 runs. 

Kohli b Moeen 7  England’s hitherto wicketless offie comes to the party.

Kohli can be credited with the assist as that was a rotten shot. The ball turned in as Kohli shaped to slap it through extra-cover but cramped him, scooted under his edge and knocked by leg stump.

He departs cursing his luck.

Big turn from Moeen.  FOW 121/3

One brings two for Rashid who has been expensive by his recent standards but effective.

He bags both openers with the googly and took a smart, diving catch. 

Dhawan c&b Rashid 67  He closed the face on the previous ball to work two behind square and is late doing the same again, chipping it back up the pitch off the toe.

Rashid  catches it low to his left in his followthrough.  FOW 117/2

India just let Moeen bowl on Friday without trying to knock him off his stride with aggressive strokes.

The off-spinner went for only one boundary off his 60 balls.

And only three come off his first over here. 

Excellent from Rashid to diddle Dhawan and come so close but then to come back and gull Rohit with the googly.

The players take drinks at the fall of the wicket and Rashid resumes with some filth, a drag down that Kohli pulls hard for four.

Adil is seething with himself and is again when he sprays the next ball down the lgside and they run two off a wide. 

Rohit b Rashid 38 Superb from the leg-spinner, beating the right hander with a googly that fizzes through an open gate to knock back middle and off.  FOW 103/1

Pitched outside leg.

England lose a review. 

Dhawan lbw b Rashid  Did it pitch in line? 

Stokes continues to do the hard yards for England, altering his length with alternate balls.

Dhawan, the best left-hand cutter in the game IMHO, butchers another four behind point and they move to a hundred by piercing England’s infield ring with four milked singles. 

Rashid pins Dhawan with the first ball, appeals loudly but the ball pitched outside leg and Buttler ponders the possibility of a review for less than a second.

Dhawan plays the googly late and against the turn, cuffing it through square leg for a single and, after Rohit taps a single down to the cover sweeper, Dhawan brings up another half-century, this one off 44 balls, by pulling Rashid’s drag down for four. 

Excellent start for India, and in particular Shikhar Dhawan.

38 runs in the first 10 overs – only once since July 2018 has he scored more in Powerplay 1.



Stokes, who is also crimson, grimaces when his bouncer is called wide by the square leg umpire.

Dhawan tucks a single off his hip and Rohit ends the over with a punishing cut when Stokes goes too wide and short.

On comes a bottle of peach-coloured liquid and Stokes drains it, pushing back his billowing curtains of rusty hair. 

Time for spin.

Rashid has the ball. 

Clever batting from Dhawan who is as good as anyone with a horizontal bat.

He glides two down to third man, short-arm pulls for four, cramped by the round the wicket angle but improvising anyway and ducking Wood’s ferocious 93mph bouncer.

After swatting a single with another controlled pull, he watches from the non-striker’s as Sharma uses Wood’s pace to open the face and dab four through third man off a thick edge.  

Wood is sweating cobs, glistening in perspiration.

It’s hard yakka bowling 90mph in the midday sun and on such an unforgiving pitch.  

It is Ben Stokes and he does give Buttler more control, tying India’s openers down to four singles, three of them chopped down to third man. 

Make that five fours off seven balls as Dhawan plays a cracking stroke, a front foot drive with no footwork but marvellous bat speed, carving it with an angled bat through point.

Wood decides to come round the wicket to the left-hander and angle the ball into his body, which earns him two dot balls. 

Dhawan pushes a single to mid-off and sprints a tight single, Rohit, who played and missed while attempting to dab Wood down to third man in the last over, now connects and jogs a single.

Livingstone ends the over with a terrific diving stop at deep midwicket that stops four …

no’ but just.

They check to see if he touched the boundary advertising boards.

He didn’t and India have to settle for two. 

Don’s lad continues.

Dhawan climbs into Reece Topley’s width, reaching the ball with the toe on the drive and spearing it over short extra cover for four.

Definite change of strategy from India, abandoning their tendency to dawdle in the Powerplay.

Topley’s precision on Friday is  absent so far and Dhawan whips four off one sprayed on to middle and leg, smears a drive for four through cover off a gimme in the slot and Rohit brings up India’s fifty with a fourth four of the over, again flicked off middle through  square leg. 

Buttler has some thinking to do.

Stokes imminent, one would think. 

First change: Mark Wood, who took the new ball in the first ODI and sat out the second, begins at a fair lick – 87mph – and hits 90 during his opening maiden.

Two plays and misses from Rohit as the ball zips away outside off, one good leave and a couple of defensives.

His only attacking stroke, a sliced drive, falls tantalisingly short of cover. 

Now Topley opts for a short ball outside off to Dhawan.

It’s like throwing fish to a seal, he gorges on it a nd scythes it for four over point.

Good comeback from Topley after a wide to deliver five dot balls.

The movement of India’s openers across the crease and down the pitch is messing with the left-armer’s line and length. 

England: brilliant tossers.

England have now won 10 tosses on this tour, across all formats.

Partly a consequence of the schedule, but that is the second most tosses they have ever won in a tour, either home or away – they won 11 against Australia, in 2009.



Rohit livelies up himself with a withering assault on Curran, launching the first ball over mid-off for four then, when Curran overcorrects by overpitching, the right-hander whisks it off his pads.

Curran tries the bouncer but it climbs too high and is called wide and Sharma works a single through square leg.

Curran keeps his eyes on Dhawan’s feet, sees him stepping put to the offside and bangs it in way outside off.

‘Lousy delivery,’ says Bumble and Dhawan goes up on to tip toes to reach it, carving it off the toe of the bat high over point for the third boundary of the over. 

Too much swing for Reece Topley and Shikhar gives it the faintest of tickles to divert it wide of Buttler’s dive for four.

Good comeback next ball, however, when he persuades one to straighten past Dhawan’s hesitant push. 

Very good over from Sam Curran who is a waste of a place unless given the new ball, I think.

Swing and a good length earn him a couple of dot balls and, when Rohit tucks a single off his hip, uses the short ball judiciouslywhen Dhwan tries to charge him. 

Left-arm seam from both ends for England.

There’s quite a delay as they inspect the ball, which seem strange as it’s brand new.

They use a new ball from each end.

At last he goes to the end of his mark and starts with two very full inswingers, the second flicking the pad on its way through to Buttler.

Topley pushes the next one too wide and Rohit creams it through cover for four, allowing his bottom hand to come off the bat to open the face. 

Swing for Sam Curran, hooping in to Rohit who uses it to work the ball to midwicket and hare a single.

Had Jonny Bairstow thrown down the stumps at the striker’s Dhawan would have been sweating.

Curran moves it the other way to the left-handed Shikhar, who also clips a single through the onside, this one behind square.

Curran has one slip.

Looks a belter of a pitch, lovely straw colour.

Rohit fiddles a single off a leading edge as he pushed to square leg, racing down when the ball squirts to cover.

Dhawan runs two off nothing more than a defensive push.

Testament to his batmaker, that. 

Sam Curran has the new ball and Rohit is on strike. 

The start of the white-ball series, Dinesh Karthik, is wearing a blue shirt with white polka dots.

Very conservative today for once but he has been a wonderful addition to Sky’s team.

He has been marvellously insightful and, though he still hopes for a recall despite having not played since the defeat in the World Cup semi-final, has been nothing like as one-eyed as the team on the BCCI international feed to whom we were subjected during the Tests on C4.


Mark Wood replaces Tom Curran.

India, too have made one change, the left-arm seamer Natarajan replaces the under-fire Kuldeep. 

England  Jason Roy, Jonny Bairstow, Ben Stokes, Jos Buttler, Dawid Malan, Liam Livingstone, Moeen Ali, Sam Curran, Adil Rashid, Reece Topley, Mark Wood. 

India (possible) Rohit Sharma, Shikhar Dhawan, Virat Kohli, Rishabh Pant, KL Rahul, Hardik Pandya, Krunal Pandya, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Shadul Thakur, Thangarasu Natarajan, Prasidh Krishna.

England have won the toss and have put India in to bat. 

When the teams will also be announced.

England did win batting first in the final match of their last tour of India at Eden Gardens in 2017 in  an all-round team performance, six players scoring 30 or more in their 321 for eight.

Ben Stokes took three for 63 and Jake Ball two for 56 to wrap up a victory by four runs, not quite the barest of margins but pretty squeaky. 

Since the 2015 World Cup is mixed – four times they have gone into the final game with the result still in the balance and lost the final match in South Africa and West Indies, winning in Bangladesh and New Zealand. 

An England Asian winter that started in Hambantota on Jan 3 with men in hazmat suits greeting the squad off the plane in Sri Lanka ends on Sunday in Pune, where victory in the final ODI would land a first series win in India since 1984 to put some sort of gloss on a disappointing tour.

It has been a long trip and while only Chris Silverwood, the head coach, and Matt Parkinson, who hasn’t played, have been present for all of it, the players have spent too long in each other’s company locked up in biobubbles and must be desperate for a change of scenery.

England were pretty much unstoppable on their rise to the 2019 World Cup but they did lose a series in India 2-1.

In 10 series going back to 1981, England have beaten India only on their home soil once, when David Gower’s team won 4-1 in 1984-85.

Winning an otherwise meaningless ODI series would at least provide some consolation because this will not go down as a memorable winter.  

The young batsmen made no progress in Test cricket and while rotation was essential, it did cast a light on modern priorities. 

Jos Buttler and Moeen Ali will both play in the decider having been picked for full white-ball duty and IPL seasons but missed Test matches they could have influenced.

The issue of rotation is nuanced and difficult in Covid times but essentially Test cricket came second this winter, playing in the IPL seemingly non-negotiable.

This week Telegraph Sport revealed that the ECB is willing to offer IPL franchises stakes in the Hundred in return for Indian players adding stardust to the competition. 

The two aspects may not be directly linked but England have allowed their best players to play full IPLs and even said they can miss a home Test series to do so and had nothing back in return, so far.

The Twenty20 series was less about the result, more towards building to the World Cup which is why the lack of experimentation with the team was strange.

A penny for the thoughts of Root sitting at home in Sheffield watching Moeen carry the drinks for those five games.

England are on firmer ground in the ODI series, their run chase on Friday was a splendid six-hitting exhibition that provided a reminder of their brilliance at batting in the 50-over format. 

Ben Stokes’ 52-ball 99 was so explosive it took the focus away from Jonny Bairstow’s 11th ODI hundred, partly because it was a performance with potential longer term ramifications.

Stokes is wasted down the order in the Twenty20 side, and he showed he could bat at three instead but the difficulty for England is that position is filled by Dawid Malan, who has been superb over the last 18 months.

Buttler, who captains again today in the absence of the injured Eoin Morgan, believes Stokes could bat at three in the T20 side.

“Yeah absolutely.

It was impressive to watch, Ben always wants to be as involved in the game as much as he can.

It’s no surprise he played so well in that position,” he said.

“Dawid Malan is the No1 T20 batsman in the world and it’s no fluke, he’s been outstanding for us in that position for us.

The same question comes when people talk about where I should bat or Jonny should bat, we have a wealth of talent in white-ball cricket and lots of guys who want to face as many balls as possible.”

England have dominated the spinners, hitting India’s slower bowlers at eight an over in two games and their batting skills run deep.

They are confident and stick to their all-out attack mantra.

But the “way we play” message does wear thin when England lose like they did in the opening ODI, a game they had in the bag but continued at full throttle when they could have coasted home. 

Pune is a good batting pitch with little turn so not an ideal venue for India to drag England into a different game, which is the best way of beating them.

Instead India need to be a little less cautious in the first half of their innings and bat with the zeal they showed in the T20 series.

“T20s and ODIs are as close as they’ve ever been,” said Buttler.  “T20 has given people a greater understanding of risk and reward, and that’s coming into the 50-overs games, especially six-hitting capability and boundary-hitting capability, the guys’ attitude to risk is probably quite different compared to how it was a number of years ago.

T20 has made people realise they can operate at a level above what they used to be able to do, for longer periods of time, and bringing that into 50-over cricket.”

Mark Wood should come back in the side, ideally for Tom Curran whose slower ball variations have been decoded by opponents.

He now faces the challenge of his career to work on his tricks and conceal his intentions better.

Wood will add pace and bounce, and provide England with a right arm, left-arm opening combination with Reece Topley, who is quicker and gets more bounce than Sam Curran.

Wicket-taking is England’s problem.

Moeen averages 51 in ODI cricket with the ball, Tom Curran 40.40, his brother 44.00, and Ben Stokes 41.

But with so much batting England can never be written off, regardless of the totals they are set. 

England (possible) Jason Roy, Jonny Bairstow, Ben Stokes, Jos Buttler, Dawid Malan, Liam Livingstone, Moeen Ali, Sam Curran, Adil Rashid, Reece Topley, Mark Wood. 

India (possible) Rohit Sharma, Shikhar Dhawan, Virat Kohli, Rishabh Pant, KL Rahul, Hardik Pandya, Krunal Pandya, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Shadul Thakur, Yuzvendra Chahal, Prasidh Krishna.


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– March 28, 2021
India vs England 2021 Sam Curran falls short as India clinch cliffhanger to seal ODI series
England, ind vs eng, Cricket, england cricket, england vs india, Sam Curran

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