India wrapped up the ODI series against England with a thrilling 7-run win in the third and final encounter at the MCA Stadium in Pune.
With the T20I and Test trophies also in their cabinet, Virat Kohli's men ended a hard-fought home series on a positive note. The team's all-round performance was exemplified by the number of players who had a case to be named the Man of the Series, although the award eventually went to the opposition's Jonny Bairstow.
The T20 World Cup and the World Test Championship final are set to take place soon after the 14th edition of the Indian Premier League, and India will take heart from their displays. Here are 3 positives for India from the 3rd ODI against England.
#3 Hardik Pandya bowls in an ODI for India
Technically, Hardik Pandya had already bowled in an ODI since returning from injury. But in that game against Australia, he sent down only 4 overs with a remodelled action he was clearly not completely comfortable with.
In the 3rd ODI against England, we saw Hardik bowl the most he has done for the Indian team in the recent past. The all-rounder sent down 9 impressive overs, and although he didn't pick up a wicket, he conceded only 48 runs and bowled well at the death.
Hardik's bowling display was a major positive for India, who've struggled to play with only five frontline bowlers in the XI. If he can bat at No. 6 and give his captain 7-8 overs on a regular basis, he will be a valuable addition like no other to the team.
#2 Bhuvneshwar Kumar well and truly back to his best
Another player who recently returned from injury, Bhuvneshwar Kumar was one of the standout performers over the white-ball leg of the England series.
The experienced quick generated appreciable swing both ways with the new ball, and although he didn't provide early breakthroughs as often as he'd have liked, he was by far the best pacer on display across both teams.
Bhuvneshwar's role as the lead pacer may change once Jasprit Bumrah and Mohammed Shami return, but he's still a vital component of the Indian team heading into the T20 World Cup.
Speaking about his spearhead's performance, Indian captain Virat Kohli claimed in the post-match presentation that Bhuvneshwar should've won the Man of the Series award:
"I am surprised Shardul Thakur wasn't the Man of the Match. Four wickets and scored 30 runs. And Bhuvi was another contender for the Man of the series. A lot of credit to them for bowling so well in adverse conditions. These guys were the difference in the middle overs and the Powerplay,"
#1 India score 300-plus despite losing Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli and KL Rahul cheaply
While Kohli isn't anywhere near the best form of his career, he's been in decent nick. He claimed the Man of the Series award on the T20I leg of the tour and scored fifties in each of the first two ODIs.
But in the 3rd and final ODI, Kohli was castled for just 7 by Moeen Ali. His wicket came shortly after that of vice-captain Rohit Sharma, who also saw his timber disturbed by an England spinner. And to further worsen matters, KL Rahul spooned a full-toss straight to short fine-leg.
Kohli, Rohit and Rahul have been India's best white-ball players over the last year or two. A significant portion of the team's runs have come from their blades, and India have sometimes been over-reliant on them to come up with the goods.
However, the 3rd ODI was a promising indication of the sheer wealth of resources at India's disposal. Rishabh Pant, Hardik Pandya and Shikhar Dhawan scored fifties to take the hosts to an above-par total, indicating that the top 6 is as solid as any.
India will only become stronger when Ravindra Jadeja returns, and if they fix their spin woes, we could see them win a plethora of trophies.