Babar Azam's 13th ODI century propelled Pakistan to a dramatic three-wicket victory over South Africa as Temba Bavuma suffered defeat in his first game as limited-overs captain.

Bavuma, who replaced Quinton de Kock as skipper, could only manage one run with the bat at Centurion, but Rassie van der Dussen's unbeaten 123 helped South Africa to 273-6.

Captain Babar (103) struck 17 fours as he went at almost a run a ball, with Pakistan 186-2 when he departed.

However, they lost five further wickets for just 85 runs from there as South Africa threatened an unlikely turnaround, with some impressive death bowling from Andile Phehlukwayo fraying the nerves.

But Faheem Ashraf got Pakistan over the line off the final ball to give them a 1-0 lead in the three-match series.

South Africa were reduced to 55-4 after being put into bat by the tourists, whose early inroads owed to a blitz from Shaheen Shah Afridi (2-61), who removed openers Aiden Markram and De Kock before then catching Bavuma at third man off Mohammad Hasnain.

Van der Dussen's 116-run stand with David Miller (50) gave South Africa's innings momentum, though, with Phehlukwayo sharing a stand of 64 as the Proteas' centurion found crucial support from the lower order.

The impact of that assistance looked to be minimal when Pakistan set about their reply, Babar and opener Imam-ul-Haq (70) combining for 177 to lay the platform.

Mohammad Rizwan and Shadab Khan appeared to have steadied the ship after Anrich Nortje (4-51) accounted for Pakistan's talismen as he ripped through the middle order.

But there was to be great drama in the closing overs. Rizwan holed out to deep midwicket off Phehlukwayo and, when Shadab fell to the same bowler going for the big shot on the first delivery of the final over needing only three off six balls, comeback hopes were very much alive.

Phehlukwayo then produced three successive dot balls but Faheem took advantage of a slower ball and a wide delivery to produce the final three runs as Pakistan survived a nervier conclusion than was necessary.

Justin Langer says there is "no captaincy position available" for Steve Smith after the former skipper expressed his desire to lead Australia again.

Smith's reign as Australia captain ended when he was banned from international cricket for a year and prevented from taking a leadership role for his country for two years due to the 2018 Newlands ball-tampering scandal.

Tim Paine took over as Test skipper and Aaron Finch white-ball captain, but Smith stated that he wants another chance to take charge again.

"I've certainly had a lot of time to think about it and I guess now I've got to a point where if the opportunity did come up again, I would be keen," the 31-year-old told News Corp.

"If it was what Cricket Australia wanted and it was what was best for the team at the time, it's certainly something I would be interested in now, that's for sure,"

He added: "Time keeps moving forward, and I've learnt so much the last few years about myself and grown as a human being.

"I feel as though I'd be in a better place if the opportunity did come up. If it doesn't, that's fine as well and I'd support whoever is in charge the same way I've supported Tim and Finchy. I haven't always felt like I wanted to do it again. That's only come in the last little bit."

Yet Australia head coach Langer says both Paine and Finch are secure in their positions.

"We have two very good captains and two important competitions coming up – an Ashes and a T20 World Cup. Our future looks good," he told the ABC.

"Despite the media chatter there is no captaincy position available."

England came up just short in the third ODI despite the best efforts of Sam Curran, meaning India secure a 2-1 series triumph to complete a clean sweep in all formats.

Shikhar Dhawan, Rishabh Pant and Hardik Pandya all hit half-centuries as India - who had rallied to win 3-1 in the Tests, then 2-1 in the Twenty20 games – were bowled out for 329 in 48.2 overs.

Bhuvneshwar Kumar struck twice in the powerplay on his way to figures of 3-42, while Shardul Thakur claimed 4-67 in an England reply that looked doomed at 257-8.

However, with Mark Wood as an able ally, Curran continued to take the fight to India, making 95 not out. His defiant hitting – which included nine fours and three sixes - reduced the equation down to 14 from the final over, yet left-arm paceman T Natarajan held his nerve to seal a seven-run victory.

For the first time in the series, England had failed to build a foundation in a run chase. Openers Jason Roy and Jonny Bairstow had put on 135 and 110 in the previous two games, only to both fall cheaply to the impressive Kumar in the finale.

Ben Stokes made 35 and Dawid Malan (50) hit a maiden ODI half-century – during which he added 60 with Liam Livingstone (36) - but wickets continued to fall regularly, leaving India in control.

Curran capitalised on some poor fielding to keep his side afloat – the hosts dropped four catches – but England were unable to end their tour on a winning note.

Having seen their opponents chase down a target of 337 with more than six overs to spare last time out, India adopted a more aggressive approach with the bat at the start of the day.

Openers Rohit Sharma (37) and Shikhar Dhawan zipped along at faster than a run-a-ball rate in a century stand that was eventually ended by a superb delivery from Adil Rashid, who bowled the former with a googly.

Rashid also dismissed Dhawan for 67 two overs later, while fellow spinner Moeen Ali cleaned up Virat Kohli cheaply with one that turned sharply to surprise India's captain, who saw his team slip from 103 without loss to 157-4.

However, Pant and Pandya went on the offensive in a 99-run stand that was eventually ended when wicketkeeper Jos Buttler reacted quickly to take an edge from Pant, who fell to Curran for 78 off just 62 deliveries. Pandya followed not long after for 64, bowled by Stokes.

Wood claimed three late wickets as India were bowled out with 10 deliveries to spare. It turned out they still had enough runs, despite Curran's heroics providing a thrilling finish to England's tour.

England confirmed Jofra Archer will undergo hand surgery while he recovers from an elbow injury, as his team-mates prepared for an ODI decider against India.

Archer was ruled out of the ODI series due to a worsening elbow issue and travelled home to the United Kingdom.

The fast bowler has since had a scan and a consultant review, which has prompted the decision to have a procedure on his right hand, while he has also had a further injection for his right elbow.

"The procedure on Jofra's hand will take place on Monday 29 March so he can recover during the planned break following his elbow injection," a statement from the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) read on Saturday.

"Jofra suffered a cut to his hand while cleaning at his home in January shortly before flying to India to prepare for the Test series.

"The injury was managed by the ECB's medical team through the tour and it did not impact on his availability.

"Further investigation and a specialist opinion was sought upon his return to the UK and, in conjunction with the ECB medical panel, it has been decided that surgery is the best option to manage his injury in the longer term."

As well as dealing with Archer's absence, England have been without captain Eoin Morgan since the first ODI after sustaining his own hand injury.

But stand-in skipper Jos Buttler was still waiting on news of the fitness of Sam Billings, who missed the second ODI with a bruised collarbone, and Mark Wood, who was rested.

England lost their four-match Test series against India 3-1 and were then beaten in a Twenty20 International decider to go down 3-2.

Tied at 1-1 ahead of the third and final ODI, Buttler is hoping for better luck as he targets a third successive win as captain for the first time. He has five victories from seven matches so far.

"We want to win all the games we play," he said. "It's great to be in another final, as such. Obviously the T20s went to a decider and this series will do the same.

"They're great games to be involved in, we're all very much looking forward to it. It was an excellent performance [on Friday], so we take lots of confidence into the game on Sunday."

Friday saw England claim a six-wicket win thanks to a superb chase led by Jonny Bairstow and Ben Stokes.

Bairstow (124), who has now hit an England record 26 sixes against India, had 100-run stands with both fellow opener Jason Roy and Stokes, as the tourists had two century partnerships in the same ODI for the first time since the 2019 Cricket World Cup.

Bairstow and Roy reached the hundred mark for the 13th time in ODIs, the most ever recorded by an England duo, while they have the highest average (61.6) of any opening partnership in the history of the format (20-plus innings).

Led by the pair, England have outscored India 148 to 80 in the powerplays in this series.

"They're right up there, aren't they? Everyone will have their opinions on who's the best, but those two have been fantastic," Buttler said.

"The way they play, the pressure their put on an opposition, and the consistency... the way they do that, the fashion they play, it's quite remarkable really.

"They've created some fantastic stands. I don't know the exact numbers, but I know they're pretty impressive. We're all delighted to have them at the top of the order.

"People talk about the numbers a lot of the time, but for us it's more about the fashion we play in, committing to that and the numbers will always look after themselves."

Stokes certainly plays in the same fashion, his rapid innings seeing 50 runs off the first 40 balls and 49 off the next 11.

Asked how the display ranked among the white-ball efforts of an all-rounder who has averaged 56.4 in ODIs since the start of 2017, Buttler had a cheery response.

"It was certainly pretty impressive, wasn't it? He's had a few," the captain said. "His World Cup final one was pretty good. I enjoyed that one."

Virat Kohli had few complaints about India's performance against England on Friday, acknowledging Ben Stokes and Jonny Bairstow "blew us away".

India set England 337 to win and level the three-match ODI series, a total the tourists sped to carried by Stokes and Bairstow.

While opener Bairstow contributed 124, Stokes stole the show with 99 off just 52 balls - including 49 off the next 11 after reaching his half-century. He has averaged 56.4 over 42 ODI innings since the start of 2017.

The stand of 175 - after Bairstow and Jason Roy had put on 110 for the first wicket - saw England have two hundred partnerships in the same ODI for the first time since the Cricket World Cup in June 2019.

Although Stokes and Bairstow fell in consecutive overs and briefly gave India hope, Dawid Malan and Liam Livingstone completed a six-wicket triumph with 39 balls to spare.

"I think we set up quite a decent total on the board," said captain Kohli, who scored 66 and remains one century shy of Sachin Tendulkar's record of 20 in men's ODIs in India.

"But England found a way to get that 100-run partnership and we hardly had any chances come our way.

"I thought they batted brilliantly well tonight. Yes, we did not execute some things as well as we wanted to, but that was some of the most amazing batting that you're going to see while chasing a total.

"You have to give credit where it's due and tonight they totally blew us away with that partnership of Jonny and Ben Stokes.

"We didn't even have a chance, that's how good they were together and they thoroughly deserved to win."

Bairstow has 20 sixes over his past three ODI innings against India and no England batsman has more maximums against them in this format than his 26.

The Yorkshire wicketkeeper was enthused by Kohli's praise, responding: "I'll take that! It's very kind of him to say that.

"He's been one of the best players around the world for a period of time. I'm very pleased, and likewise, pleased to be striking the ball the way I am at the moment."

Bairstow and Roy now have 13 century stands together, the most by an England pairing, while no opening partnership in men's ODIs can top their average of 61.6 (from 20 innings or more).

It is certainly a role Bairstow is enjoying, as he added: "I'm happy. Since opening the batting, I've got 11 [centuries], I think I've only opened 56, 57 times.

"I'm happy with those figures but those figures mean nothing if you don't keep converting them in the future. I'm happy with how I'm playing my cricket at the moment, really enjoying it."

Ben Stokes was proud that England stuck to their values as they roared back from a series-opening defeat to thrash India on Friday.

Moved up to bat at three in the absence of Joe Root, Stokes thrilled with a 52-ball 99 in Pune as the tourists won by six wickets with 39 deliveries to spare, Jonny Bairstow having scored a century as England comfortably chased down India's 336-6.

The result came on the heels of Tuesday's chastening 66-run loss, when England collapsed to 251 all out as Stokes scored just one run from 11 balls, and means the series will go to a decider on Sunday.

Stokes was delighted to see England produce such a classy response to that setback, even in the absence of injured captain Eoin Morgan, as his side stayed true to their attacking principles.

"I think the most pleasing thing for us as a team is we didn't go away from our values," he said, having built on the platform laid by Bairstow and Jason Roy's 110-run opening stand. "We were bitterly disappointed after the first ODI.

"It was a great chase and I'm happy we were able to go over the line fairly easily despite India putting up a big total.

"It was a better wicket but we don't really fear any totals to be honest. It would have been easy to rein ourselves in after the last game but from a personal and team point of view, it was important to play as we do.

"We speak about match-ups in our changing room and my match-up was with the spinners to take the risk, just let Jonny keep going on with his business. He's in unbelievable form.

"The amount of runs they [Roy and Bairstow] have scored is obviously amazing, but if you look at the way they have scored it's even better – best in the world in my opinion."

Pune will again play host to the third and final match this weekend.

England's victory on Friday also ensured that a 3-0 series defeat will be avoided, meaning India cannot leapfrog into top spot in the ODI rankings.

Ben Stokes' stunning innings and a century from Jonny Bairstow led England to a dominant six-wicket ODI victory over India in Pune on Friday.

While Bairstow was unquestionably impressive in compiling his 124, Stokes' 99 came at a blistering pace, requiring just 52 balls as he bludgeoned 10 sixes.

India had set England 337 to win and level the three-match series, with the tourists – deprived of the injured Eoin Morgan's services – wasting little time, getting the job done with 39 balls to spare.

Bairstow and Jason Roy put on 110 for the first wicket to lay the foundations, with the former then enjoying a front-row seat for the Stokes show as they combined for 175 runs.

It meant that, by the time Stokes and Bairstow fell in consecutive overs, England only required another 50 to seal the win, with Dawid Malan and Liam Livingstone finishing things off.

All the fireworks in England's innings eclipsed what had been a solid 50 overs from the hosts, for whom KL Rahul top-scored on 108, with Rishabh Pant providing eye-catching entertainment in the form of a 40-ball 77 to help India to 336-6.

Having put themselves in a strong position to chase down 318 in the first match before collapsing to 251 all out, England made sure they had an even firmer footing this time to ensure a late-innings wobble would not prove pivotal.

Bairstow's 18 boundaries included seven maximums, with Roy's 55 coming at roughly a run a ball to further cement England's excellent start.

Stokes, having survived an early run-out scare, escalated things drastically with a display of explosive hitting that had India chasing their tails.

Krunal Pandya, who enjoyed such a fine debut in the opening clash, came in for particularly harsh punishment as he posted figures of 0-72 off six overs, while Kuldeep Yadav (0-84 off 10) conceded eight sixes, including three in a row at the hands of Stokes in a punishing 33rd over.

England's procession was slowed but not halted by a flurry of wickets across the 36th and 37th overs, with Stokes agonisingly falling short of a deserved century before Bairstow and Jos Buttler also had to go.

But it only delayed the inevitable, Malan and Livingstone steadying the ship and getting England across the line to set up a series decider on Sunday.

 

STOKES CAPITALISES ON LET-OFF

There was a mightily close run-out call against Stokes in the 26th over, when he was on 33.

He soon accelerated his knock at break-neck speed, having brought up his 50 off 40 deliveries before adding another 49 from only 12.

Stokes' dismissal, caught behind by Pant off Bhuvneshwar Kumar, saw him denied the third-fastest century in ODIs for England.

SERIES SET FOR FINALE IT DESERVES

This was a mouthwatering series on paper, pitting the world's best two one-day teams against one another, and it has delivered on the field across the first two matches.

World champions England flexed their muscles on Friday, having been chastened by an opening loss in which India showed why they are so highly fancied.

A winner will be crowned this weekend and, having seen the best of both sides, how fitting it would be if they could each bring their 'A' game on Sunday.

England captain Eoin Morgan has been ruled out of the remainder of the ODI series against India due to injury. 

Morgan required four stitches in his right hand after the batsman split the webbing between his thumb and index finger in an opening match that was won by India on Tuesday. 

England's white-ball captain took part in a fielding drill at the MCA Stadium on Thursday but declared himself unfit to feature in the two remaining contests in Pune. 

Jos Buttler will lead the team in the absence of Morgan, while Liam Livingstone is to make his ODI debut in the second match of the series on Friday. 

Morgan said: "I had the hand re-dressed before the start of training today [Thursday] but it quickly became apparent that I found myself protecting the injury and getting into the wrong positions to catch the ball. 

"There's nowhere to hide on the field in international cricket these days, especially in limited-over formats so it didn't require any great thought to make myself unavailable. 

"It was a freak injury and it's extremely frustrating but there's nothing I can do about it. It's now just a case of letting the cut heal. I have every confidence in Jos and the rest of the squad coping without me." 

Sam Billings will not feature in the second ODI and the batsman will be checked again ahead of the final encounter on Sunday, having bruised his left collarbone in a 66-run defeat on Tuesday. 

Dawid Malan, already in the touring party as cover, has been added to the squad.

Virat Kohli hailed "one of our sweetest victories" after India fought hard to overcome England by 66 runs in the opening ODI in Pune.

Man-of-the-match Shikhar Dhawan laid a solid foundation for India with an assured 98, missing out on three figures when he miscued a pull off Ben Stokes to Eoin Morgan at midwicket.

Kohli made a similarly fluent half-century but the hosts had stumbled to 202-5 when debutant Krunal Pandya joined KL Rahul in the 41st over.

Krunal (58 not out) laid waste to an otherwise impressive England bowling performance, his 26-ball fifty the fastest ever in a maiden ODI, while wicketkeeper Rahul similarly impressed with an unbeaten 62 as India posted 317-5.

England threatened to make short work of that total as Jonny Bairstow (94) and Jason Roy (46) motored to 135 without loss inside 15 overs, before India's seamers turned the contest on its head.

Prasidh Krishna, also on debut, was the pick with 4-54, while Shardul Thakur's 3-37 accounted for the dangerous trio of Bairstow, Morgan (22) and Jos Buttler (2), and the excellent Bhuvneshwar Kumar took 2-30.

"That's one of our sweetest victories in the recent past. We haven't won many good games in ODIs," India skipper Kohli said at the post-match presentation.

"It was a great comeback from all our bowlers after going for few runs early on. Prasidh was amazing, Krunal as well. Shardul, Bhuvi were amazing. I am a really proud man right now.

"The team showed great character and intensity. As I've mentioned in the past as well, we promote players who have intent and back their skills.

"A special mention to Shikhar's innings as well and KL was back among the runs. We want to back people who will do a selfless job.

"It's a healthy competition between everyone for every slot. We have two or three players available for every slot."

Perhaps not to quite the same extent, but world champions England have their own enviable depth of talent.

Nevertheless, the steadying hand of Joe Root at number three, where Stokes stepped up to be dismissed for one, and Jofra Archer's death bowling were certainly missed as both players undertake a period of rest.

As in the recent 3-2 reverse in the T20I series, captain Morgan was left to rue middle-order failings, with the plummet form 135-0 to 176-5 key in England's challenge fading to 251 all out with 47 deliveries unused.

Nevertheless, he stood by the aggressive approach that has brought his side so much recent success.

"I thought the bowlers were outstanding and there was a bit more on offer for their seamers," he said.

"The two openers were outstanding, but we failed to build on from that. We need to execute better than we did. India did really well and deserved to win.

"Being able to take the attack to the opposition is something that we pride ourselves on. We want to continue to push the envelope in that regard. It's better for us to lose like this than losing by 20 runs.

"The game is always moving forward, technology and fitness are moving forward, so we need to push hard as we can. It's important for us to dictate the way we play."

A magnificent and emotional ODI debut from all-rounder Krunal Pandya helped to give India an authoritative 66-run win in the series opener against England.

The tourists twice looked to have taken control of the contest – initially when India squandered the platform laid by Shikhar Dhawan (98) and stumbled to 202-5, before Jonny Bairstow (94) and Jason Roy (46) tore after the eventual target of 317-5 with a 135-run opening stand inside 15 overs.

But Krunal clattered an unbeaten 58 form 31 deliveries, featuring seven fours and two sixes, as he and KL Rahul climbed into some sub-par death bowling from England.

In a curtailed mid-innings interview following his knock, Krunal broke down in tears as he dedicated his format debut to his father, who passed away in January.

Having seen his left-arm spin disappear under Roy and Bairstow's early assault, Krunal returned to claim the important wicket of Sam Curran (12) as England subsided meekly – seamers Prasidh Krishna (4-54), Bhuveneshwar Kumar (2-30) and Shardul Thakur (3-37) doing the bulk of the damage to dismiss Eoin Morgan's side for 251 in 42.1 overs.

 

Pune will be the venue as England round out their tour to India with a three-match one-day series, starting on Tuesday. 

While the Test leg of the trip was won convincingly by the hosts, the two nations played out a high-quality Twenty20 battle that saw India rally from 2-1 down to prevail 3-2 in a decider.

Virat Kohli opened the innings in Saturday's fifth and final T20 fixture, but the India captain has confirmed he will be moving back down the order now the focus switches over quickly to the 50-over format.

"As far as the opening combination is concerned, Shikhar (Dhawan) and Rohit (Sharma) will definitely start. They have been amazing for us in the past few years," Kohli said ahead of the series. 

England used only 12 players during the T20 games, a decision taken with the focus on gaining experience in Indian conditions ahead of the World Cup in the same country later this year. 

However, white-ball skipper Eoin Morgan revealed the tourists will use the one-day fixtures to take a look at those players who have not featured too much on the trip so far. 

"Throughout the one-day series, we will see guys given opportunities, more so than we did in the T20 series," Morgan told the media. 

"It's going to be exciting, playing three games at the same ground against a very, very strong India side is a huge opportunity for everybody to go out there and get back into the frame of mind and the pace of 50-over cricket, but also for guys who haven't had an opportunity to really put their case forward. 

"Given there is a (T20) World Cup around the corner, playing any international cricket at all is a huge opportunity for guys who have been here, on the fringes, and not made selection so far."

Jofra Archer will not be involved after returning home for treatment on a persistent elbow injury, while Joe Root and Chris Woakes – two key players in the side that secured World Cup glory on home soil in 2019 – are not involved, England choosing to rest and rotate amid a hectic schedule while staying in bio-secure bubbles. 

Moeen Ali, Sam Billings and Liam Livingstone provide options to come into a batting order that will see Root missing from his usual position at number three. As for the bowling, leg-spinner Matt Parkinson will hope for a chance to impress, while Reece Topley could be the one to benefit the most from Archer's absence.

Jasprit Bumrah is a notable absentee from an India squad that does include Suryakumar Yadav - an exciting batsman yet to make his ODI debut - and left-arm wrist spinner Kuldeep Yadav.  


Kohli close to matching Tendulkar

Having finished as leading run-scorer in the T20 series, Kohli is one away from equalling the record for most centuries for India in one-day cricket, the great Sachin Tendulkar sitting top of the pile with 20. The India captain is also one three-figure score shy of posting the joint-most hundreds for India in 50-games against England, as he stands on the brink of matching Yuvraj Singh's tally of four.

England aim to keep streak alive

England have put together a run of three successive victories versus India in the one-day format; another triumph in the opener on Tuesday would see them equal their longest winning streak against their opponents in the format (four in a row was achieved in games between 1974 and 1981).

Key series facts

- India are set to face off against England for the first time in an ODI since losing a Cricket World Cup group game by a margin of 31 runs against the eventual champions, back in June 2019.

- The hosts have been involved in only one completed ODI against England at the Maharashtra Cricket Association Stadium in Pune, beating them by three wickets there in January 2017.

- Both sides have only managed to win 50 per cent of their completed one-day games since the end of the Cricket World Cup. India have recorded seven victories, while their opponents have four wins across the same time period.

- Virat Kohli has registered 30 ODI knocks versus England, with his highest score against them in the format coming in Pune, posting 122 off 105 balls there in January 2017.

- Bhuvneshwar Kumar managed to get Jos Buttler out on three occasions during the T20 series, the most instances of any bowler dismissing a batsman across those five fixtures (conceding just 26 runs).

England paceman Jofra Archer has been ruled out of the ODI series against India due to a worsening elbow injury.

After a 3-1 Test series defeat and a 3-2 setback in their T20I clashes with India, world champions England will look to end their tour on a high in three ODIs to be played in Pune over the next week.

Archer will be flying back home for checks on his injury, however, and the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) said he must also miss the start of the Indian Premier League (IPL).

That deals a blow to Rajasthan Royals ahead of the tournament that begins on April 9, with Archer having impressed against India in the T20 games.

The ECB said on Sunday: "Jofra Archer is returning to the UK for further management and investigation of his right elbow injury.

"Archer's elbow issue has deteriorated over the course of the Twenty20 International series and made it increasingly challenging for him to maintain performance levels. He has been deemed unfit for selection for the ODI series that features matches on 23, 26 and 28 March.

"The ECB medical team will assess the player and, together with Jofra, develop a treatment plan and a return-to-play schedule in due course. As a consequence, Jofra will miss the start of this year’s Indian Premier League."

England's ODI squad, aside from the obvious loss of Archer, is comprised of players selected for the T20 series and the reserves for those games.

 

England squad: Eoin Morgan (captain), Moeen Ali, Jonny Bairstow, Sam Billings, Jos Buttler, Sam Curran, Tom Curran, Liam Livingstone, Matt Parkinson, Adil Rashid, Jason Roy, Ben Stokes, Reece Topley, Mark Wood.

Also travelling with the squad: Jake Ball, Chris Jordan, Dawid Malan.

A century from Darren Bravo and half-centuries from Shai Hope and Kieron Pollard led the West Indies to a five-wicket win with nine balls to spare, and a sweep of Sri Lanka in the CG Insurance ODI series that concluded at the Sir Vivian Richards Stadium in Antigua today.

Man of the Match Bravo scored 102 and shared in two crucial partnerships - a 109-run third-wicket partnership with Hope, who made 64, and a fourth-wicket partnership with Pollard that set up the West Indies for a third consecutive victory. The captain remained unbeaten on 53 at the end.

Chasing 275, after Sri Lanka made 274 for 6, their best score of the series, the West Indies had their worse start of the series. After stands of 143 and 192, respectively, in the first two matches, Evin Lewis and Hope managed only 24 runs on this occasion.

Lewis, who has been in ominous form with scores of 65 and 103 in the two previous matches, was bowled by Suranga Lakmal for 13 at the end of the fifth over. The West Indies crawled to 39 for 1 in the 10th over when Jason Mohammed was bowled by Wanindu Hasaranga de Silva, who was getting his first wicket of the ODI series.

His dismissal brought Hope and Bravo together for the first of the two instrumental partnerships of the West Indies innings. However, after keeping the scoreboard ticking over at close to five runs an over, the pair got bogged down by the tight bowling. By the start of the 32nd over the pair had taken the score to 148 when Hope got out trying to slog Thisara Perera first ball only be caught by Suranga Lakmal running in from long-on.

Hope had made 64, his third consecutive score of 50 or more in the series and on the sixth consecutive occasion overall. Nicholas Pooran came intending to push the score along hitting two sixes in what was to be a brief stay at the crease. Three overs later he was back in the pavilion out lbw to Danuska Gunathilaka for 15 to leave the West Indies in a spot of bother at 169 for 3, still needing 106 from 78 balls.

Pollard arrived at the crease intent on pushing the scoring rate without unnecessary risk. He knocked balls into the gaps, running singles and twos, sprinkling four fours in between. Bravo soon followed suit and together they put on 80 runs while bringing the run rate down from near eight an over to near six and which took the West Indies within sight of their target.

By the time Bravo got out trying to hit Lakmal over extra cover, the West Indies needed 25 from 23 balls. Bravo hit five fours and four sixes.

Holder joined Pollard and together began a steady run toward the required runs.

Pollard hit one six in his 42-ball innings and it was perhaps the most important one of the innings.

It came from the last ball of the 48th over bowled by Asitha Fernando that yielded 14 runs, resulting in the West Indies needing nine from 12 balls.

After missing with an almighty swipe from the first ball of the 49th over bowled by Lakmal, Jason Holder finished the job hitting a four and a six off the next two balls to finish the job unbeaten on 14.

Lakmal, who gave up the winning runs, finished with 2-56 from 9.3 overs.

Earlier, Sri Lanka, who had been put in to bat, only managed their competitive score of 274 for 6, due to an unbroken seventh-wicket stand of 123 from 111 balls between Hasaranga and Ashen Bandara.

Hasaranga who should have been run out for 42, hit seven fours and three sixes on his way to his best ODI score of 80 that came off just 60 balls while Bandara was unbeaten on 55 that included three fours and six.

They had taken the score from 151 for 6 sliding from 68 without loss.

Gunathilaka made 36 before he lost his wicket to Alzarri Joseph. Seven balls later and two balls later Dimuth Karunaratne was bowled by Mohammed for 31. It was the start of a trend wherein the Sri Lankan batsmen would all get starts and then got out.

Akeal Hossein took 3-33 taking the wickets of Pathum Nissanka for 24, Dinesh Chandimal for 16 and Dashun Sanaka for 24. The latter two getting out in a similar fashion playing across the line to faster straight deliveries and getting bowled.

By that time, Sri Lanka was struggling at 143 for 5 in the 31st over.

When Perera was run out by a direct hit from Nicholas Pooran seven balls later, Sri Lanka was slipping fast at 151 for 6 before Hasaranga and Bandara pulled out their rescue act.

For his scores of 102, 84 and 64, Shai Hope was named Player of the Series.

Both teams will now turn their attention to the Test series that begins on March 21.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Anderson Phillip, the 24-year-old fast bowler from Trinidad and Tobago has been called to the West Indies squad for today’s final ODI match against Sri Lanka.

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