Jadhav's 90 in vain as England wins third ODI by 5 runs
KOLKATA: England narrowly avoided an Indian sweep of the one-day international series, winning the third and final cricket match by five runs as Ben Stokes took 3-63 and Kedar Jadhav's fighting 90 went in vain on Sunday.
India fell short on 316-9 in reply to England's 321-8 after the hosts won the toss and opted to field
Stokes blasted an undefeated 57 off 39 balls to propel the tourists' innings late on, after Jason Roy (65) and Jonny Bairstow (56) both scored half-centuries.
India won the first two ODIs to take the series 2-1.
India started badly as its openers' poor form continued. David Willey (1-8), who went off with an injured shoulder later in the innings, bowled Ajinkya Rahne (1) in the second over.
Lokesh Rahul (11) skied a catch while attempting a wild pull off Jake Ball (2-56) in the sixth over.
Virat Kohli (55) then put on 65 runs for the third wicket with Yuvraj Singh (45) but they didn't look in control of the chase against England's pacers.
Dropped on 35 by Ball at fine leg, Indian skipper Kohli reached his 39th ODI half-century off 54 balls, as India's 100 came in the 19th over. Stokes got the big breakthrough in the next over with Kohli caught behind.
After adding 31 runs with MS Dhoni (25) for the fourth wicket, Singh holed out to Sam Billings in the deep off Liam Plunkett (1-65). England continued to claim regular wickets as Dhoni too departed in the 32nd over, caught behind off Ball.
India was 173-5 at that stage, but Jadhav put on 104 runs for the sixth wicket with Hardik Pandya (56). The duo started off slowly but, with the run-rate rising, they played some attacking strokes to change the complexion of the chase.
They put on 50 off only 45 balls, as India's 200 came up in the 36th over. Jadhav reached his maiden ODI half-century off 46 balls, while Pandya scored his first half-century in international cricket too, off only 38 deliveries.
Stokes bowled Pandya in the 46th over, and India needed 43 runs off the last 24 balls. Ravindra Jadeja (10) and Ravichandran Ashwin (1) couldn't do much, but Jadhav, who hit 12 fours and 1 six in all, took his side close.
With 16 needed off the last over, Jadhav smacked the first two balls for 10 runs, before holing out to Billings in the deep. Chris Woakes (2-75) then held his nerve as England registered its first win on the tour, stretching back to its 4-0 defeat in the test series in November and December.
India won the first ODI in Pune by three wickets, and the second ODI in Cuttack by 15 runs. The three-match Twenty20 series starts in Kanpur on Thursday.
Jadhav was declared man-of-the-series for scoring 232 runs in three matches. He has finally put India's search for a no.6 batsman to an end.
"Since I came into the team, I've been spending a lot of time with Dhoni and it has helped me deal with situations calmly," Jadhav said. "I am satisfied with what I have done in this series. I can still improve."
The green-top wicket reduced India's advantage, which the England captain acknowledged.
"Today we were rewarded for our persistent drive to win. It was similar to an English wicket ... and actually rewarded them (bowlers) for good discipline, line and length," Eoin Morgan said.
Earlier, put into bat, England got off to a slow start as the new ball proved lively, prompting several miscues and close calls, as Roy and Billings (35) brought up their 50-stand in 66 balls.
Roy scored his eighth ODI half-century off 41 balls, and put on 98 runs for the opening wicket with Billings. He hit 10 fours and a six. Billings was caught at short fine leg off Ravindra Jadeja (2-62) in the 18th over.
Two overs later he bowled Roy too, for a third time in three matches. But Bairstow and Morgan (43) put on 84 runs for the third wicket to steady the innings.
Despite the slow start, England crossed 150 in the 28th over and looked set for another big score. Morgan survived an lbw shout in the next over off Jasprit Bumrah, via DRS review, and Bairstow also survived in the same 29th over as he was caught at third man off a no ball.
They put on 50 runs off 59 balls, before Morgan was out caught at fine leg off Pandya (3-49) in the 34th over to stall England's progress.
England crossed 200 in the 35th over, while Bairstow scored his third ODI half-century off 58 balls. But it lost Jos Buttler (11) immediately afterward when he was caught at cover off Pandya. He also accounted for Bairstow, who was caught at backward point.
The tourists were reduced to 246-6 in the 43rd over, when Bumrah dismissed Moeen Ali (2) cheaply. Stokes and Chris Woakes (34) then added 73 runs off just 40 balls, as some late hitting helped England cross 300 in the penultimate over.
Stokes scored his eighth ODI half-century off 34 balls, hitting four fours and two sixes. Woakes hit four fours and a six in his 19-ball stay. Both Woakes and Liam Plunkett (1) were run out in the final over as England reached a competitive total.
India seems to have found answers to its middle-order issues, even if the openers' form remains a worry.
"It has been a series of positives," Kohli said. "Jadhav is a brilliant find for us. He gives Yuvraj and Dhoni a chance to bat higher up. Hardik is coming into his own as an all-rounder."