India's batting unit displayed a change of approach in the third ODI against England here at the Maharashtra Cricket Association Stadium in Pune on Sunday and this ensured that despite losing wickets at regular intervals, the hosts posted a total of 329 in the allotted fifty overs.
Rishabh Pant, Hardik Pandya, and Shikhar Dhawan registered fifty-plus scores as India set a 330-run target for the visitors. From the very start, every Indian batter came out playing aggressively and this saw the hosts scoring runs at seven runs per over for the major part of the innings.
Put into bat, openers Rohit Sharma and Shikhar Dhawan started right from the word go and played with more intent, compared to the previous two games. The duo put on 100 runs for the first wicket inside 14 overs, but as the partnership started looking ominous, Rohit (37) ended up losing his wicket to Adil Rashid in the 15th over of the innings. Soon after, Dhawan (67) and skipper Virat Kohli (7) were also sent back to the dressing room, reducing the hosts to 121/3 in the 18th over.
Dhawan was dismissed by Rashid while Kohli was clean bowled by Moeen Ali. This brought Pant and KL Rahul together at the crease and the duo put on 36 runs for the fourth wicket. However, the partnership was cut short by Liam Livingstone in the 25th over as he dismissed Rahul (7), reducing India to 157/4. Hardik Pandya then joined Pant in the middle and both batters took a special liking to the England spinners.
The 99-run stand for the fifth wicket between Pandya and Pant saw both batters hammering the England bowlers and India looked set for a mammoth total. However, the visitors got the wicket of Pant (78) in the 36th over. The left-handed batsman tried to work the ball to the on-side, but ended up getting an edge, and skipper Buttler took a one-handed blinder.
Soon after, Hardik (64) was bowled around his stumps, and India was reduced to 276/6 in the 39th over and the major workload relied upon his brother Krunal. In the final overs, Shardul Thakur provided support to Krunal and the duo took India's score past the 300-run mark. Shardul was dismissed after contributing with a valuable 30 and the hosts were not able to score runs freely after that, eventually getting bowled out for 329.
Brief Scores: India 329 all out (Rishabh Pant 78, Shikhar Dhawan 67, Mark Wood 3-34) vs England.
( With inputs from ANI )
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