Men in Blue reign supreme

Pune, Mar 28 (IANS): India survived a scare from England all-rounder Sam Curran (95 not out off 83 balls) as they managed to beat England by a slender 7-run margin in the third and final One-day International here at the Maharashtra Cricket Association Stadium on Sunday night to clinch the 3-match ODI series 2-1.

Curran, who got a couple of lives, including one on 22, had walked in with England looking down the barrel at 168 for the loss of six wickets. They still needed 162 runs in 146 balls and when Moeen Ali was dismissed as the seventh man with the score on 200, it seemed all over. But Curran stitched a 57-run partnership with Adil Rashid (19) for the eighth wicket and then added 60 runs with Mark Wood (14) for the ninth, to bring England within 13 runs of victory.However, England could get just six runs in the last over bowled by T. Natarajan as Curran had, by then, lost all his partners and was the lone man standing looking for boundaries which the field placements by India (most fielders on the boundary line) did not allow.Chasing 330 to win after India were bowled out for 329 in 48.2 overs in their innings, England got off to the worse possible start losing opener Jason Roy in the first over after the opener had threatened to tear Bhuvneshwar Kumar apart.

Roy hit Bhuvneshwar for three fours in the first five balls before the right-arm pacer broke through the defences to rattle the stumps.

The other opener Jonny Bairstow was dismissed on the last ball of the innings’ third over, Kumar’s second, as he moved across to glance one down to fine leg but was trapped leg-before.

However, England didn’t give up.

Just like India earlier, who had come back from 157/4 to post 329, the visitors’ long batting line-up ensured that India had to face resistance. Dawid Malan and Liam Livingstone added 60 in 8.4 overs before Shardul Thakur made double breakthrough, getting rid of both.