A fantastic century from opener Rohit Sharma and an all round performance from Hardik Pandya saw India beat England in the third and final T20 at Bristol.
After having been comprehensively beaten by India in the first T20, England had staged a magnificent comeback by winning the second T20, thereby setting up the stage for a mouth watering final clash between the two sides in Bristol.
India sprung a surprise by dropping wrist spinner Kuldeep Yadav, England’s tormentor in the first T20, and replaced him with Deepak Chahar, who was making his T-20 debut.
With the ever reliable Bhuvneshwar Kumar also out due to a dodgy back, in came Siddarth Kaul, who was rewarded for his fine performances in the IPL earlier this year, meaning that the visitors went in with a four pronged pace attack.
In order to accommodate the returning Ben Stokes, England chose to omit Joe Root- something that would’ve been unthinkable a couple of years ago.
After being sent into bat by Indian skipper Virat Kohli, England got of to a rollicking start, as the opening pair of Jason Roy and Jos Butler added 94 runs for the first wicket in just 7.5 overs. The two added 73 in the powerplay alone- a record in English conditions and the second best for England in their history.
Just when it looked like the opening duo would be taking the game away from India, Kaul provided the much needed breakthrough, by getting rid of the dangerous looking Buttler for 34
Roy looked set for a big score, but he followed Buttler soon after to the pavillion, giving debutant Chahar his maiden wicket after being caught behind for a quickfire 67 runs.
The home side failed to capitalise on the platform laid by Roy and Buttler as they lost wickets in clusters in the middle stages. All rounder Pandya turned things around for India, finishing with figures of 4 for 38 runs in his quota of four, after being smashed for 22 in his first over.
England eventually finished at 198/9 in their allotted 20 years- competitive, but far less than they would’ve been expecting after the start provided by their openers.
India’s recent record in 3 game bilateral T20 series had been fantastic, and their strength in chasing meant that they were strong favourites to win, according to the odds from the bookies at AZBookmakers.com
In their chase of 199, India suffered a early jolt when the lost Shikhar Dhawan early.
Dhawan’s dismissal brought the in-form KL Rahul to the crease, and Karnataka star added 41 for the second wicket with Rohit Sharms, before falling to a brilliant catch by Chris Jordan off the bowling of Jake Ball.
Sharma along with skipper Virat Kohli shared an 89 run stand that put India firmly in control going into the final overs.
When Kohli was dismissed, again from a fantastic bit of English fielding, the visitors opted to send Pandya in ahead of Suresh Raina and MS Dhoni, and the Mumbai Indians all rounded clobbered Ball for 20 runs in the 18th over to put the game out of England’s reach.
Sharma eventually finished unbeaten on 100, making him only the second batsman after New Zealand’s Colin Munro to hit three hundreds in T20 internationals.
The three match ODI series starts on Thursday at Trent Bridge.