Cricket Report England v India 3rd ODI 22 Jan 2017
England beat India in the third and final one day international in a pulsating game by a slender 5 runs to lose a fascinating series by 2 matches to 1.
The tourists won an absolute belter that went down to the last ball to salvage some pride against an India team high on confidence and ability. Following annihilation in the test series, the problems on this Asia tour against Bangladesh and two straight losses in the first one day internationals this game at least proved England have some spine.
On paper the England team is excellent, batting they seem superb, the fielding is adequate but the bowling is way below par. Again England batted first in Kolkata amassing a very credible 321 for 8 wickets in their allotted 50 overs. This was the third time in the three limited overs matches that England had passed 300 so without doubt England have a strong batting unit and in my view one of the top three in the world and so they proved this once again at Eden Gardens.
Their opening partnership of Jason Roy and Sam Billings put on a rejuvenating 98 for the first wicket before Billings was caught by Bumrah off the bowling of Jadeja for 35 runs. The highest English opening partnership of the series. Roy followed him 12 runs later this time clean bowled by Jadeja. Bairstow in for the injured Alex Hales looked in great form on his way to 56 and Captain Morgan chipped in with 43 off only 44 balls. Although Buttler was out cheaply for 11 one of Pandya’s three wickets on his way to a superb three for 49 off his ten overs England still had plenty more in the tank. Ben Stokes 57 off only 39 balls was crucial to putting up a decent score on the scoreboard more than ably assisted by the under rated Chris Woakes with 34 off only 19 balls with a strike rate of almost 179. Stokes innings was a gorgeous ball smash around the ground and fun to watch to boot. Pandya and Jadeja were the pick of the Indian bowlers and 321 for 8 was a third decent total on the bounce for the England batsmen. Would it be enough?
India started their innings poorly not for the first time this season as both openers were out cheaply. Ruhane was bowled by Willey for just a single and Rahul who looked like he was going to take the initiative to the England bowlers with a huge six and a four from his 11 runs but Jake Ball who bowled better in this match snared his man with Buttler taking the catch.
Kohli 55 from 63 balls and Singh 45 from 57 balls brought India right back into the game but the difference from the English bowlers was simply discipline. At times they looked to be bowling too full on and Morgan’s tactics were debatable but England hung in there. Dhoni was out for 25 when Jake Ball picked up his second wicket with Buttler taking his third catch of the game for a prize wicket. Then a Jadhav onslaught and England looked in deep trouble, his 90 off 75 balls an excellent effort but then England changed and bowled full and although it wasn’t pretty it was partially effective in keeping India just behind the run chase. Pandya’s 56 off 43 balls bought India closer to victory but India were losing wickets now.
Ben Stokes with the ball still has his failings with giving too many runs away to the opposition but he can get the wickets like today when needed and his 3 for 63 was his best return in the series and Jake Ball bowled better. Again discipline is the key for both bowlers when they give too many silly runs away with loose balls almost at will.
Ball was given the penultimate over with India requiring 23 from two overs but conceded only 7 runs in his final over to leave India needing 16 from the last over and the excitement overwhelming for some fans. Chis Woakes rather than Ben Stokes was given the responsibility for the final over and a six off the first ball followed swiftly by a four left India only requiring 6 runs from 4 balls. The tide had turned in India’s favour but Woakes however was up to the task and followed with two dot balls leaving India wanting 6 runs from 2 balls. Woakes presented Jadhav with a wide full ball and the Indian star let loose but found Sam Billings in the deep to leave India requiring 6 off the last ball. Poor Bhuveneshwar Kumar not content with having a difficult enough first name to spell had the indecent pressure of trying to smash one ball, the only ball he was going to face out and over the ropes for six. No pressure then Bhuveneshwar! Sadly for him Woakes placed a great delivery down the track and the ball was going nowhere. England won by 5 runs in another thrilling match and a real pity it wasn’t a best of five match series.
Still the 20/20 matches start later this week and if the entertainment value is anywhere near this then that will also be a humdinger of a series.