IND vs ENG: Sam Curran’s top show in vain as hosts clinch thrilling win in series decider

Sam Curran displayed unmatched resilience on the pitch on Sunday but in the end it proved a little short for England to script an epic comeback against Virat Kohli’s India in the third and final ODI in Pune on Sunday. The hosts eventually went on to win the contest by seven runs and also the series 2-1, but Curran certainly hogged all the limelight from the time he arrived in the middle. 

Curran, who came out to bat when England were struggling at 200/7, finish the contest unbeaten on 95 from 83 balls and made sure the visitors remain in contention until the final delivery of the contest. He first stitched a crucial 57-run stand with Adil Rashid for the eighth wicket, before the spinner was caught by Virat Kohli at short cover on 19(22).  

Following Rashid’s dismissal, Curran continued to lead England’s late fightback and added another 60 runs for the ninth wicket with tailender Mark Wood. Sam’s knock included nine fours and three sixes.  

Meanwhile, this was England’s third series defeat against Kohli’s India in their two-month long tour to the country, where they played four Tests, five T20Is, and three ODIs.

The contest kicked-off with Jos Buttler iniviting the Indians to bat first, a move that didn’t reap any dividens for the visitors as the opening pair of Rohit Sharma and Shikhar Dhawan added 103 runs for the first wicket inside 15 overs, before Rohit was cleaned up by Adil Rashid on 37 from the same number of balls. 

Rashid then went on to dismiss Dhawan shortly after Rohit’s departure and brought hosts back in the contest. Meanwhile, skipper Kohli and KL Rahul failed to get going but a crucial 99-run partnership between Rishabh Pant and Hardik Pandya got the hosts back on track as India breached the 200-run mark inside 30 overs.

However, the visitors bounced back in the contest as they dismissed both the settled batsmen – Pant and Pandya – in quick succession. 

Following their dismissal Shardul Thakur took charge and went on to play a cameo of 30 from 21 balls, which included three massive sixes. Krunal Pandya, who had a rousing ODI debut, felt lacklustre on Sunday as the batsman struggled to get his timing right, which eventually led to his dismissal. 

Mark Wood then led England’s recovery as he first dismissed Shardul Thakur and went on to remove Krunal on 25 off 34 balls, Prasidh Krishna (0) in quick succession. Reece Topley then completed the formalities as he picked up the final Indian wicket in the form of Bhuvneshwar Kumar to restrict India to a fighting 329 in 48.2 overs.

In response, England got off to a lose start as Bhuvneshwar Kumar got rid of Jonny Bairstow and Jason Roy cheaply. The visitors kept losing wickets in regular intervals but made sure they remain well intact within the required run-rate. 

However, apart from Curran’s 95 and Dawid Malan’s fifty, no other England batsman raise to the occasion as they fell short by seven runs from scripting an epic comeback in Pune.  

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Sagar Biswas

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