KOLKATA: It was almost floodlight robbery at Eden Gardens. Kedar Jadhav’s pyrotechnics appeared to have snatched India victory from the jaws of defeat. But it was not to be, as the hosts fell five short and in the process, failed to make it a clean sweep in the ODI series.
Jadhav's brilliant 90 off just 75 balls with Hardik Pandya's career-best score of 56 off 43 balls, and their 104-run sixth wicket stand off just 83 balls, almost took Men in Blue home.
With 16 needed in the last over, Jadhav hit a six and a four off the first two balls to give the 66,000 hope, but fell to Chris Woakes eventually. Bhuvneshwar Kumar then failed to clear the ropes off the last ball to help England keep some pride intact going into the three-match T20 series. It was their first win of the tour, after losing the Test series 4-0.
Woakes managed to hold his nerves at the same venue where teammate Ben Stokes failed to deliver in last year's World T20 final. It was also redemption of sorts for Stokes, as he scored 57 and took 3/63 to set up the win. This was Virat Kohli's first defeat as captain at home — in his 20th international match (12 Tests, 8 ODIs).
It was a familiar beginning for India as Ajinkya Rahane failed to click despite getting the nod ahead of southpaw Shikhar Dhawan. KL Rahul was also found wanting with the middle order again tasked with taking the team past the target. England pacer David Willey had to withdraw from the attack with a shoulder injury after two overs.
The skipper and second ODI hero Yuvraj Singh tried to consolidate and played safely as the two added 65 for the third wicket in 13.4 overs. Kohli also reached 1000 ODI runs as captain and it took him only 17 innings, the fastest ever.
He got a reprieve on 35, when Ball at deep square leg dropped a sitter off a Liam Plunkett bouncer. After Kohli and Yuvraj departed, Jadhav, who scored a career-best 120 in the first ODI in Pune, kept India in the hunt in the company of MS Dhoni and Pandya. Both hammered the English bowlers to all parts of the ground, as even edges seemed to find the boundary.
Jadhav smashed Woakes for back-to-back fours in his eighth over before bringing up his fifty off 46 balls. Pandya was ferocious in his shot making and brought up a maiden ODI fifty from 38 balls.
It was another 300-plus affair as the three-match series went into the record books with a total of 2090 runs that eclipsed 1892 scored in the Afro-Asia Cup in 2007.
Stokes and Woakes combined to ensure England crossed the 300-run mark for the third time in as many matches. The duo combined to put on 73 runs from 40 balls for the seventh wicket. Earlier, Jason Roy and Jonny Bairstow scored half-centuries under testing conditions to lay the foundation of England's innings.