England managed a consolation victory in their T20 international series against India after a stunning century from Suryakumar Yadav threatened to lead the tourists to a remarkable win at Trent Bridge on Sunday.
India had already made sure of a series success after taking an unassailable 2-0 lead in a three-match campaign with victories at Southampton and Edgbaston.
They were in trouble, however at 13/2 inside three overs on Sunday as they chased a target of 216.
But Yadav, who made a blistering 117 off just 55 balls, including 14 fours and six sixes, kept them in the hunt.
India’s hopes of a clean sweep, however, effectively ended when he fell in the penultimate over to leave Rohit Sharma’s men 191/7.
England all-rounder Chris Jordan then closed down the game after recalled left-arm quick Reece Topley, the player of the match, had taken 3-22 in four overs.
Earlier, Dawid Malan top-scored with 77 in England’s 215/7, a total boosted by Liam Livingstone’s 42 not out off 29 balls.
Victory gave Jos Buttler his first win as England’s full-time white-ball captain since succeeding Eoin Morgan following the 2019 50-over World Cup-winning skipper’s retirement.
“It was some innings from Suryakumar Yadav,” said Buttler, one of the world’s leading white-ball batsmen. “It was one of the best hundreds that I’ve seen and he put us under a lot of pressure.”
India captain Rohit Sharma added: “It was a fantastic chase and we are proud of our fight.
“Suryakumar Yadav was magnificent to watch. I have been watching him for a while and he loves this format, he is unorthodox and has a wide range of shots. He has grown from strength to strength since we got him into the squad. He never lets the tempo go.”
When India slumped to 31/3 after five overs, including the latest failure for struggling star batsman Virat Kohli, out for 11, they were on course for a heavy defeat.
But Yadav, having steadied the ship with a relatively calm 32-ball fifty, then accelerated in remarkable fashion, with the 31-year-old right-hander facing just 16 more deliveries to go to his hundred.
Livingstone’s spin was smashed for two soaring sixes, with Richard Gleeson, arguably England’s ‘find’ of the series, also sent clear over the rope.
Moeen Ali was next to suffer, Yadav hitting him for two sixes and a four.
The off-spinner then had his revenge in the 19th over when a wider delivery led to Yadav to-ending a drive to Phil Salt at long-off.
Malan’s 10 previous T20 innings had failed to yield a half-century, prompting renewed criticism of a batsman who has often been accused of scoring too slowly in an otherwise dynamic England top-order.
The 34-year-old left-hander was in aggressive form Sunday during a 39-ball innings featuring six fours and five sixes, albeit India had rested frontline quicks Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Jasprit Bumrah ahead of next week’s three-match One-Day International series against England.
Inputs from AFP