England fell agonisingly short in the third ODI against India despite a heroic innings from Sam Curran.
Curran came painfully close to etching his name into ODI history with a stunning innings of 95 not out that took England to a hair’s breath of a stunning series win.
But with 12 runs required from the final four balls of a game England had no right to win from 257-8, Curran failed to connect as he wanted, to leave India victorious by just seven runs.
It was a thrilling finish to a game that the home side had dominated throughout, until Curran was given a life on 22 and then flayed the Indian bowlers to all parts.
In just his eighth ODI the 22-year-old all rounder produced an innings worthy of winning any game of white ball cricket, but in the end it wasn’t quite enough and there was a little too much for him to do.
A partnership of 60 with Mark Wood for the ninth wicket made India feel the heat, but Thangarasu Natarajan kept his cool in the last over to get his side over the line and to a 2-1 series win.
The diminutive left hander has been asked to do much more bowling that batting of late and with a top score of 15 before this innings, he hadn’t really done anything to suggest what was coming, but this was a real treat.
Arriving in the middle to try and resurrect what appeared to be a lost cause at 168-6 he batted as well as any of the all rounders in the side.
Curran had understandably been relegated behind both Ben Stokes and Moeen Ali, two of the cleanest hitters of a cricket ball in the world.
They both got themselves in and then got themselves out with 35 and 29 respectively, which had been the tale of England’s innings overall.
For the first time in the series, neither Jason Roy nor Jonny Bairstow were able to fire, but no-one in the capable middle order that followed were able to stay in the middle long enough to do serious damage.
Indian seamer Shardul Thakur, did a brilliant impression of Liam Plunkett, bowling cross seam balls and picking up 4-67 to put the skids under England.
But just when the cause seemed lost and with Wood walking out to bat, Curran turned the match on its head.
Of course India will be kicking themselves at failing to get rid of him when they had the chance.
On 22 he smashed the ball straight down the ground for Hardik Pandya to take a running catch on the boundary and somehow he put the chance down and it went for four.
That was one of four dropped catches from India as their fielding cracked under pressure, but thankfully for them, their powerful batting display had given them enough of a buffer to remain victorious.
Earlier Rohit Sharma and Shikhar Dhawan out blasted England’s openers for the first time in the series before Rishabh Pant and Pandya kept up the tempo in the middle order.
India had clearly learnt from England and used their own style of play to great effect against them. That probably doesn’t count for too much right now though.