Even though England deserve credit for the win, under the smart leadership of Eoin Morgan, Kedar Jadhav definitely won hearts with his calm and composed knock of 90 off just 75 balls.
India vs England, 3rd ODI at Eden Gardens: As It Happened
He might have failed at the final hurdle, after hitting a six and a boundary off the first two balls of the 50th over, with the team needing 16 off the last over, but the coolness he displayed when the heat was on, clearly shows that he is a man for the future.
Chasing 322 under lights at the Eden Gardens is never easy. And when the likes of Virat Kohli (55), Yuvraj Singh (45) and MS Dhoni (25) walk back to the hut with the team still needing 149, the writing is on the wall.
But Kedar and Pandya showed great character as they took India to the brink of a come-from-behind win. Maturity was writ large on the duo’s face as they put on 104 for the sixth wicket at 7.51 runs per over. They kept picking the singles and waited for the loose deliveries.
At times, it looked like they were holding back a bit too much and it would be a little too late in the day for them, but the duo showed great character as they waited till the 40th over to finally launch into the English bowlers.
Needing 93 off the last 10 overs, they broke loose and showed they have what it takes to take the team home. But Pandya’s untimely dismissal in the 46th over changed the complexion of the match and England romped home.
But, the nervousness was clearly visible on the face of the Englishmen as India needed just six runs off four deliveries after Kedar hit a six and a boundary off the first two balls from Woakes’s final over of the innings.
Yet, it was so close yet so far for the team as Kedar perished off the second last ball of the innings, with India still needing six runs.
It wasn’t the most auspicious start for India as they lost Ajinkya Rahane (1) and KL Rahul (11) by the sixth over. But Kohli and Yuvraj looked to steady the ship and the two put on 65 for the third wicket as Kohli played another classy knock in a chase.
Yet, he was out looking to up the ante as Stokes sent him back for a well-made 55. Yuvraj opened up after Kohli’s dismissal as Dhoni took his sweet time to settle down with the early singles.
The two picked the singles and doubles and hit the timely boundaries before a flick from Yuvraj landed in the lap of Sam Billings at the deep mid-wicket fence.
Dhoni was then joined by Kedar and even though the latter looked out of sorts on a wicket that was clearly helping the bowlers, the former skipper looked to release the pressure with timely boundaries. But the ever-increasing asking rate finally got the better of Dhoni and he perished trying to up the ante.
Earlier, it was a brilliant effort by the English batsmen as they made a solid start, despite the seaming conditions. The Indian bowlers kept beating the edge of England openers Jason Roy and Sam Billings, but they didn’t lose focus and put on 98 for the opening wicket before Ravindra Jadeja sent Billings (35) packing.
Roy was still there and just when he looked good to score the first century of the series, Jadeja returned to dismiss Roy (65) for the third time in the series. The ball was not short enough for Roy to go back and that led to his downfall as he missed the line completely.
But Jonny Bairstow and Eoin Morgan looked to stitch a good partnership. While Bairstow looked like he was carrying on from where he had left in the Test series, Morgan showed the touch he regained in the last ODI in Cuttack. But Pandya dismissed Morgan (43) against the run of play.
With Jasprit Bumrah standing at short fine-leg, Morgan hit Pandya straight to Bumrah. England’s score read 194/3 in the 34th over. With a good platform set, Jos Buttler walked in to join an in-form Bairstow. But Pandya was quick to dismiss Buttler (11), caught by KL Rahul at short extra-cover.
Yet, in walked the dangerous Ben Stokes. And while Bairstow looked to pick the quick singles, Stokes made his intention clear as he went on the attack. Even though Stokes lost Bairstow (56) to Pandya — caught beautifully by Jadeja at backward point — and Moeen Ali to Bumrah, he found good company in Woakes.
The two made hay in the death overs as England finished with 321/8 in their allotted 50 overs. The visitors picked 97 runs off the last 10 overs as Stokes finished with an unbeaten 57 off just 39 balls and Woakes picked 34 off 19 before being run-out by Dhoni in the 50th over.
LISTEN: Captain Virat Kohli speaks after 2-1 series win against England.
3rd odiBen Stokeschris woakescricketeden gardenseoin morganHardik PandyaIndia vs EnglandIndia vs England 2016-17Kedar JadhavMS Dhonivirat kohliyuvraj singh
First Published: January 22, 2017, 9:55 PM IST