India captain Rohit Sharma dismissed concerns about his side’s top order after overcoming England by five wickets in the third One-Day International to clinch a 2-1 series win.
The tourists slumped to 38-3 in pursuit of England’s 259 in Manchester, before Rishabh Pant combined with Hardik Pandya to save the day and secure the series victory.
Pant scored an unbeaten 125no from 113 balls with 16 fours and two sixes, while Hardik made 71 from 55 balls, with the pair’s fifth-wicket stand worth 133 runs.
India won the match with 47 balls to spare, although there were some worrying moments with Shikhar Dhawan (1), Rohit (17) and Virat Kohli (17) out inside the first 10 overs.
“Not really,” Rohit said when asked about the top-order batting order concerns. “But we do understand that it is something we need to look into.
“We played some not-so-good shots and that’s what cost us wickets. But I still back those guys to come out good because they’ve done it for a long time.
“I’ve got nothing more to say since I understand the quality they bring to the team.”
India’s bowlers dd the trick in the first ODI, bowling out England for 110 before their openers chased down the small target. However, India were skittled for 146 in the second ODI chasing 246, collapsing to 31-4.
Rohit was full of praise for Pant and Hardik for their heroics.
“We knew it won’t be easy if we lost wickets early,” Rohit said. “It happened, but the positive is that these guys haven’t batted a long period in the middle overs and we got to see that from Rishabh and Hardik.
“Both of them were clinical. At no point did we feel they were panicking. They played great cricketing shots.”
England skipper Jos Buttler conceded the duo were the difference, with Hardik also taking 24-4 with the ball.
“We needed a good start with the ball so that was fantastic,” he said. “We created chances but two guys took the game away from us, that’s where we lost the game.
“Not concerned about batting. All summer, in T20s and ODIs we haven’t batted our best. We just need to bat longer.”
England take on South Africa later in the week, while India are back in action away to the West Indies next.
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