India pacer Bhuvneshwar Kumar struck in the very first over to hand England an early blow in the third and final ODI on Sunday. Bhuvneshwar, who has returned from multiple injury setbacks, bowled opener Jason Roy with an in-swinger on the last delivery of the over.
Roy left a massive gap between his bat and pad, allowing Bhuvneshwar’s delivery to clip the top of off-stump. Roy, who had built a 110-run partnership with partner Jonny Bairstow in the second ODI, had to walk back on 14.
Bhuvneshwar also dismissed Jonny Bairstow in the third over, adding another wicket under his belt. He removed both the openers to put India in a commanding position at the Maharashtra Cricket Association Stadium.
Earlier, Rishabh Pant and Hardik Pandya hit stroke-filled half-centuries, taking India’s total to 329 after being put to bat first. Pant’s sparkling knock of 78 off 62 balls was well supported by Hardik (64 off 44 balls) but India lost their last four wickets for a mere eight runs to finish at least 30 runs short on another batting belter.
Pant, during his career-best knock, plundered four maximums and five boundaries, while Hardik had five fours and four sixes during their 99-run stand for the fifth wicket. Pant brought up his third ODI fifty with a towering six and was in his elements as he took on both the pacers and spinners and so was Hardik.
When it looked like the duo would go berserk, Curran removed Pant as Jos Buttler took a stunning reflex catch to his left with his body balance tilted towards right. And then Ben Stokes cleaned up Hardik as the hosts again slipped to 276/6.
A quick-fire 30 off 21 balls by Shardul Thakur was the only consolation in an otherwise poor show by lower order.
(With PTI Inputs)