Monday Jan 23, 2017
Ben Stokes on Sunday said England had forgotten what winning felt like until his dominant all-around performance helped the visitors pull off a five-run consolation victory over India in the third one-day international in Kolkata.
Stokes hit an unbeaten 39-ball 57 and claimed three wickets to hand England their first win on the tour after their 4-0 Test loss last year and two successive ODI defeats.
India's Kedar Jadhav nearly pulled off the 322-run chase with his 75-ball 90 but fast bowler Chris Woakes, who bowled the final over, held his nerve to restrict the hosts to 316-9.
"We've waited a long time to get a win here. The Test series didn't go very well...we forgot how (winning) felt, to be honest," said Stokes, who received the man of the match award.
"It's been fantastic to be part of three really tight games and thankfully we ended up with a win for England," Stokes said of the three tall-scoring ODIs.
Jadhav and Hardik Pandya (56) lifted India from a precarious 173-5 to put on 104 runs for the sixth wicket as dew at Kolkata's Eden Gardens made life difficult for the England bowlers.
Stokes, who did not have pleasant memories of this ground after being hit for four consecutive sixes in the last over of the 2016 World Twenty20 final, ended with impressive figures of 3-63.
Stokes got the prized scalp of India skipper Virat Kohli (55) before sending back dangerman Pandya and Ravichandran Ashwin in his final two overs to hurt the Indian chase.
"It was a difficult time last time we came here. Put it down to good captaincy from (Eoin) Morgan getting my overs out of the way before the end," said Stokes, who finished his quota of 10 overs in the 48th over.
First match hero Jadhav, who hit a brilliant 120 in India's opening win in Pune, was awarded the man of the series for his 232 runs in three matches.
Jadhav and Pandya took the opposition attack by surprise with their powerful hitting as they struck 16 fours and three sixes between them.
Needing 16 off the final over, Jadhav hit Woakes for a six and a four before playing two dot balls and getting out on the penultimate delivery of the match.
Woakes and Jake Ball played a big part by taking two wickets each.
Bowlers make captain look good
"The bowlers make the captain look good. Giving a wicket that offered more helped them and actually rewarded them for good, disciplined line and length," said Morgan.
"India outplayed us in the first two games but this win was important. You can try hard but without wins, it damages the team's confidence," said Morgan.
Earlier, put into bat England rode on a 98-run opening stand between Roy (65) and Sam Billings (35) before the Indian bowlers came back with regular strikes.
Paceman Pandya claimed three wickets while left-arm spinner Ravindra Jadeja got two.
Morgan, who struck a valiant 102 in England's second loss on Thursday, once again looked like he would pilot the innings with some assured hitting.
The left-hander shared an 84-run third wicket partnership with Jonny Bairstow (56), who was added to the side in place of injured Alex Hales, before falling to Pandya.
Stokes ensured the efforts of the top order were not in vain as his 73-run seventh-wicket stand with Woakes (34) helped England put on 58 runs in the final five overs.
"The moment I saw the pitch I thought it was the perfect scenario for the Champions Trophy (scheduled in England in June)...The key for us will be the lengths we bowl," said Kohli, who won his first assignment as India's limited overs skipper.
The two teams now head for the three-match Twenty20 series starting January 26 in Kanpur.