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Rishabh Pant's 78, Hardik Pandya and Shikhar Dhawan's 60s take India to 329

Rishabh Pant. Pic: BCCI
Rishabh Pant. Pic: BCCI
ANALYST
Modified 28 Mar 2021
News

An attacking fifth-wicket partnership of 99 between Rishabh Pant (78 from 62) and Hardik Pandya (64 from 44) lifted Team India to 329. This came after the hosts lost their way following a good start.

Hardik walked in to join Rishabh Pant with Team India at 157 for 4, approaching the halfway stage. It did not take long for Rishabh Pant to get into his groove. In Liam Livingstone’s second over, the left-hander managed a one-handed six for the second game in a row. He crashed the next ball through covers.

Hardik then hammered Moeen Ali for three sixes in an over, as Team India ensured they did not get bogged down. The first was a stand-and-deliver stroke, slapped down the ground. The second six was deposited over cow corner and the third launched over midwicket. The spinners that were troubling India earlier were not quite as effective in the wake of Rishabh Pant and Hardik’s onslaught.

The boundaries kept flowing and Rishabh Pant brought up his fifty in style, launching a flighted delivery from Adil Rashid into the stands. Rishabh Pant again fell in the 70s, caught behind off Sam Curran for 78 as Jos Buttler took a sharp one-handed catch.

Hardik brought up a 36-ball fifty and celebrated by whacking Rashid for a maximum over midwicket. However, he was dismissed for 64 as he shuffled across his stumps and Ben Stokes hit the leg-stump.

Shardul Thakur then swung his bat around and hit three sixes in his 21-ball 30. Krunal Pandya, though, struggled, failing to hit a single boundary in his 34-ball 25.

Prasidh Krishna (0) and Bhuvneshwar Kumar (3) perished quickly as India were all out for 329 in 48.2 overs. The hosts suffered another collapse at the end, losing four wickets for eight runs. Mark Wood ran through India's lower-order to finish with 3 for 34.

Adil Rashid celebrates a wicket with teammates. Pic: BCCI
Adil Rashid celebrates a wicket with teammates. Pic: BCCI

Earlier, Team India went from 103 for no loss to 157 for 4 in a 10-over period where England’s spinners dominated. Rohit Sharma (37 from 37) was completely beaten by a googly from Rashid (2 for 81) to be clean bowled.

Shikhar Dhawan (67 from 56) looked in fine form out in the middle. However, he too failed to read the variation from Rashid and chipped one straight back to the bowler, getting the leading edge.

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Virat Kohli (7) played a rare poor shot to put Team India in further trouble. He rocked back to a good-length delivery from Moeen (1 for 39) and was cleaned up as the ball spun back in sharply.

Last match's centurion KL Rahul (7) then perished to a full toss from Liam Livingstone, losing his grip on the bat. He went for a sweep but only managed to get it as far as short fine leg, where Moeen pouched a diving catch. India were in trouble before Rishabh Pant swung the momentum.

Shikhar Dhawan shines before Rishabh Pant-Hardik Pandya blitz

Having lost the toss and been sent into bat, India got off to a good start as Dhawan and Rohit featured in another century stand. The left-hander was the aggressor as Rohit was content playing the supporting role.

Dhawan looked in fine form out in the middle, hitting 10 fours. After India managed only 16 runs in their first four overs, Rohit broke the shackles with back-to-back fours off Curran.

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In the eighth over of the innings, Dhawan hit three fours off pacer Reece Topley, the highlight being a punched drive between mid-off and short cover.

The left-hander brought up his second half-century of the series by clobbering a half-tracker from Rashid to midwicket for a boundary.

Dhawan and Rohit brought up their 17th century stand in ODIs, going past Adam Gilchrist-Matthew Hayden's record of 16. Rohit’s dismissal though was followed by three more wickets.

Rishabh Pant and Hardik then featured in another impressive rescue act but India failed to get the final flourish.

Published 28 Mar 2021, 17:35 IST
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