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28-Mar-2021 16:58:00 GMT
Ind vs Eng - 3rd ODI, Pune

India hold nerve to complete series win despite Curran heroics

India 329 (Pant 78, Dhawan 67, Hardik 64, Wood 3-34) beat England 322 for 9 (Curran 95*, Malan 50, Thakur 4-67, Bhuvneshwar 3-42) by 7 runs

Pune: Sam Curran scores 95 not out but England fall seven runs short against India in series-deciding third ODI at Maharashtra Cricket Association Stadium, Pune on Sunday.

Chasing 330, England looked beaten at 200-7 in the 31st over, only for Curran to keep them afloat by adding 57 with Adil Rashid and 60 with Mark Wood.

In an incredible five-ball spell from the end of the 48th over, Wood overturned being given out lbw, was dropped, before Curran also being put down.

Fourteen were needed from the final over in Pune. After Wood was run out, last man Reece Topley got the single that left Curran to get 12 from four balls.

As left-arm seamer T Natarajan held his nerve, Curran could only find the boundary once, leaving England seven runs short on 322-9 and India 2-1 series winners.

Wood had earlier played his part in bowling India out for 329, battling the heat to take 3-6 in two overs as the hosts lost their last four wickets for eight runs.

For once, England's powerful top order failed to ignite the chase, with the tourists slipping to 95-4 against some skilful India pace bowling.

They were kept afloat by Dawid Malan, Liam Livingstone and Moeen Ali, before Curran set up the grandstand finale.

In seven previous one-day internationals, Curran's previous highest score was 15.

Here, he was calculated, composed and brave in playing one of the great lower-order knocks, one that carried England to the verge of a first ODI series victory in India for 36 years.

In reality, he should not have had the opportunity - he offered a simple chance to long-on on 22 that Hardik Pandya somehow spilled.

Curran targeted the leg side, his only sign of confusion coming when Wood arrived in the 40th over with 73 still required. The 22-year-old did not know whether to protect Wood or allow the number 10 to take the strike.

The indecision saw the required rate climb to more than 10 an over, only for Curran to take 18 from Shardul Thakur in the 47th to leave the game on a knife-edge.

What followed was barely believable. First Wood overturned being given out lbw to Bhuvneshwar Kumar from the final ball of the ball 48th over, then, from the next ball he faced, skied a chance to mid-wicket that Thakur inexplicably shelled.

Incredibly, Curran sent the next ball high into the night sky, with a diving Natarajan dropping a very hard chance on the boundary behind the wicketkeeper.

When Wood turned for a second run at the beginning of the final over, he was sent back too late to make his ground.

Topley did his part, but there was little Curran could do in the face of Natarajan's yorkers. That Curran equalled Chris Woakes' record for the highest score by a batsman coming in at eight or lower in an ODI will be scant consolation.

Earlier, a 99-run partnership between Rishabh Pant (78 off 62 balls) and Hardik Pandya (64 off 44 balls) that came in just under 12 overs, India made 329 (in 48.2 overs).

The hosts had begun well with openers Rohit Sharma (37 off 37 balls) and Shikhar Dhawan (67 off 56 balls) adding 103 in just under 15 overs. The two began sedately before taking 15 runs off a Sam Curran over, the innings' fifth. They then took 17 off the eighth over bowled by left-armer Reece Topley.

However, the introduction of Adil Rashid brought England back in. The England leg-spinner, who has made a habit of getting Virat Kohli out in this series, removed Sharma in his second over with a googly that beat the India vice-captain. Rashid picked Dhawan in the next over, having him caught and bowled.

Soon Moeen Ali, who was introduced from the other end, got rid of skipper Kohli (7 off 10 balls). The India No. 3 tried to play the off-spinner off the back-foot. However, the ball turned in and hit the leg-stump.

Suddenly, from a strong 103 without loss in the 15th over, India were 121/3 in the 18th over.

In the five overs between 15-20, India had scored 18 runs for the loss of three wickets.

England's other leg-spinner Liam Livingstone then removed K.L. Rahul (7 off 18 balls) and India were 157/4 in the 25th over with backs to the wall.

From there on, Pant and Hardik took the attack to the England spinners. Pant hit Livingstone for a six and four to take 10 off his one over and then Hardik hammered Moeen Ali for three sixes in an over.

Pant and Hardik then kept milking runs before the India wicketkeeper was caught behind off Curran. Hardik was bowled down the leg-side by Ben Stokes but by the time the Indian batting duo was dismissed India were 276/6 in 39 overs.

Shardul Thakur (30 off 21) and Krunal Pandya (25 off 34) added 45 runs in seven overs. However, after Thakur's dismissal India could make a further eight runs.

Mark Wood picked three wickets for 34 runs.

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