Bristol: Opener Rohit Sharma’s well-placed century and some smart batting by others steered India to a 2-1 series victory over England at the Bristol County Ground here on Sunday.
Chasing a mammoth target of 199, Rohit gave India a blistering start before his fellow partner Shikhar Dhawan went back to the pavilion after being dismissed for five runs.
K.L. Rahul (19) then made his way into the crease and joined Rohit to play some glorious shots to keep the required run rate under check and the scoreboard ticking.
On the other side, Rohit was particularly harsh on both full and short deliveries. India reached the 50-run mark in just under five overs.
Rahul, who looked in great touch, was sent back by pacer Jake Ball, courtesy of a brilliant catch from Chris Jordan.
Thereafter, skipper Virat Kohli (43) and Rohit shared an 89-run partnership for the third wicket.
The duo stabilised the innings and accelerated their scoring rate further as they found the gap several times.
It was a show of powerful hitting from both the players as they thrashed the hapless English bowlers, who erred in their bowling lengths all over the park.
By the time Kohli was dismissed, India required 43 runs in the last five overs. Meanwhile, Rohit reached his third T20I century and remained unbeaten on 100.
All-rounder Hardik Pandya (33) then took over and slammed a couple of fours and sixes to help India reach the finishing line and win the T20I series.
Earlier, India won the toss and sent England to bat first on a bright sunny day.
The onslaught was led by openers Jason Roy (67) and wicketkeeper Jos Buttler (34), who shared a 94-run opening partnership in 7.5 overs, coupled by poor bowling from the Indian bowlers, who were guilty of bowling either too full or short.
Pacer Deepak Chahar, who was handed his first international T20I cap, went for plenty of runs but was instrumental in claiming Roy’s wicket.
Chahar bowled a superb slower ball to spoil Roy’s timing, only to feather an edge to wicketkeeper star MS Dhoni.
England had a good opportunity to amass a huge total, but India fought back after the twin dismissals of the English openers.
Legspinner Yuzvendra Chahal, although went wicketless, played a pivotal role in stemming down England’s innings.
Although Alex Hales (30), Ben Stokes (14) and Jonny Bairstow (25) hung around in the crease and scored some runs to push the scoring rate, it was too late by then as India had already staged a remarkable comeback in the middle of the innings.
Pandya was the pick of the bowlers, accounting for four wickets. Pacer Siddarth Kaul scalped 2 for 35, while Umesh Yadav took 1 for 48.
Rohit was awarded the Man of the Match and Man of the Series.
India would be looking to continue its winning momentum in the ODI series, when they lock horns against England at the Trent Bridge in Nottingham on July 12. (ANI)