KOLKATA: England narrowly avoided an Indian sweep of the one-day international series, winning the third and final cricket match by five runs as Ben Stokes took 3-63 and Kedar Jadhav’s fighting 90 went in vain yesterday.
India fell short on 316-9 in reply to England’s 321-8 in 50 overs. Stokes blasted an undefeated 57 off 39 balls to propel the tourists’ innings late on, after Jason Roy (65) and Jonny Bairstow (56) both scored half-centuries.
India won the first two ODIs to take the series 2-1.
India started badly as its openers’ poor form continued. David Willey (1-8), who went off with an injured shoulder later in the innings, bowled Ajinkya Rahne (1) in the second over. Lokesh Rahul (11) skied a catch while attempting a wild pull off Jake Ball (2-56) in the sixth over.
Virat Kohli (55) then put on 65 runs for the third wicket with Yuvraj Singh (45) but they didn’t look in control of the chase against England’s pacers.
Dropped on 35 by Ball at fine leg, Indian skipper Kohli reached his 39th ODI half-century off 54 balls, as India’s 100 came in the 19th over. Stokes got the big breakthrough in the next over with Kohli caught behind.
After adding 31 runs with MS Dhoni (25) for the fourth wicket, Singh holed out to Sam Billings in the deep off Liam Plunkett (1-65). England continued to claim regular wickets as Dhoni too departed in the 32nd over, caught behind off Ball.
India was 173-5 at that stage, but Jadhav put on 104 runs for the sixth wicket with Hardik Pandya (56). The duo started off slowly but, with the run-rate rising, they played some attacking strokes to change the complexion of the chase.
They put on 50 off only 45 balls, as India’s 200 came up in the 36th over. Jadhav reached his maiden ODI half-century off 46 balls, while Pandya scored his first half-century in international cricket too, off only 38 deliveries.
Stokes bowled Pandya in the 46th over, and India needed 43 runs off the last 24 balls. Ravindra Jadeja (10) and Ravichandran Ashwin (1) couldn’t do much, but Jadhav, who hit 12 fours and 1 six in all, took his side close.
With 16 needed off the last over, Jadhav smacked the first two balls for 10 runs, before holing out to Billings in the deep. Chris Woakes (2-75) then held his nerve as England registered its first win on the tour, stretching back to the test series in November and December.
India won the first ODI in Pune by three wickets, and the second ODI in Cuttack by 15 runs. The three-match Twenty20 series starts in Kanpur on Thursday. – AP