// LIVE BLOGGING // GLOBALSIGN SSL
The tourists successfully chased their 199-run target with eight balls to spare at Bristol as Rohit Sharma produced a bruising, brutal, brilliant century - his third in IT20 cricket - in the dazzling West Country sunshine
Rohit Sharma's century helped India beat England
Bristol: England 198-9, India 201-3 - India won by seven wickets
India’s batsmen made light work of a challenging total to make sure of a seven-wicket victory in the third T20 international against England, and with it a series win.
The tourists successfully chased their 199-run target with eight balls to spare at Bristol as Rohit Sharma produced a bruising, brutal, brilliant century - his third in IT20 cricket - in the dazzling West Country sunshine.
In truth, England should have had more to defend after a blitzkrieg start to the match, during which Jason Roy’s ballistic approach to batting put a potential score of over 220 well within the realms of the possible.
India had opted for just one spinner on a green-tinted pitch which gave a superficial indication that it may favour the seamers and Roy took a liking to the extra dollop of pace afforded to him as a result.
His 67, alongside 34 from Jos Buttler, had the home side sitting pretty on 120 for two after 12 overs but the innings stagnated somewhat - partly through India’s clever variations, partly through some unwise shot selection from their opponents - and 198 for nine represented something close to par.
Jason Roy was excellent with the bat for England
Against this Indian top order, though, the par really needs to be raised.
This time, it was all about Sharma. The opener took on the short ball angrily and picked space elsewhere intelligently. Ably supported by his captain, Virat Kohli, he quickly took the game away from England, much to the satisfaction of a boisterous element of Indian support inside the County Ground.
Morgan and his bowlers did not stand much of a chance. The plans were there, and executed well, at least until the final throes of the innings when the hosts began to look a little shell-shocked, but even the good balls seemed destined for supporters’ laps and the walls of the flats that overlook the ground.
Sharma went to his century in the 19th over, off 56 balls, just before Hardik Pandya struck a six to win the game, and a pulsating series, for India.
Earlier, Buttler and Roy took a liking to India’s seam attack during the powerplay, bludgeoning 73 runs from the first six overs - the second best return by an England side in T20 cricket.
Roy reached his half-century with his fifth six of a positively furious innings, making Bristol’s small boundaries look as if they had been set up for under-12 cricket.
When he lost Buttler, bowled by Siddarth Kaul for 34, he continued his assault on the Indians, his knock only coming to an end after he swapped power-hitting for something a little more fancy and edging Deepak Chahar to Dhoni for 67.
Morgan never looked comfortable at the crease and, the ball after being dropped by Yuzvendra Chahal, whose embarrassment was made the more painful by a nasty blow to the head as he landed, the England captain offered a near-identical chance to Dhoni, who took it despite walking straight through the stumps at the striker’s end.
Siddarth Kaul appeals for an lbw decision
Given the platform they had been given by Roy, the home side should have comfortably reached 200 but India bowled intelligently in the second half of the innings and wickets arriving at regular intervals stifled the hosts’ momentum.
Ben Stokes pinged a simple catch to Kohli at mid-off, Alex Hales, Liam Plunkett and Jonny Bairstow were caught behind by Dhoni - his five catches is a record for IT20 matches, and Chris Jordan was run out off the final ball.
Shikhar Dhawan’s frustrating series continued as he made just five at the top of the order before being dismissed by an excellent diving catch at short fine leg by Jake Ball but KL Rahul and Sharma soon found the afterburners.
Each of England’s seamers found themselves disappearing to various parts of the ground, with the Indian batsmen mixing fierce power-hitting with classical strokeplay. It took a sensational catch from Jordan, diving full length at wide long-on, to send Rahul on his way for 19 but the visitors made 70 from their powerplay and Sharma soon reached 50.
Kohli ticked nicely, picking up boundaries at the right time - including a simply ludicrous six over the offside from a wide Plunkett delivery which he had no right to even get to.
There was a glimmer of hope for England when Jordan successfully held onto a return catch from the India skipper and for two overs, as the required rate began to climb, there was a suggestion that the home team could pin their guests down.
Those ideas were proven to be nothing more than daydreams, though, as Pandya and Sharma took Jake Ball’s third over of the afternoon to task. Soon it became wildly apparent that 199 was not enough.