India 261 for 5 (Pant 125*, Hardik 71, Topley 3-35) beat England 259 (Buttler 60, Roy 41, Hardik 4-24, Chahal 3-60) by five wickets
After Hardik’s four-wicket haul had helped bowl England out inside 46 overs, Topley extended his blistering form, which delivered six wickets in England’s series-levelling win at Lord’s, by reducing India to 38 for 3 in pursuit of 260 at Old Trafford.
Then Hardik simply flicked the switch from “bowl brilliantly” to “bat beautifully” for a crucial fifty as he and Rishabh Pant – with his maiden century in ODIs – guided India to victory by five wickets and a 2-1 series triumph.
Pant remained not out on 125 after a 133-run stand wicket with Hardik, for whom this series marked a return to ODIs for the first time in nearly a year after battling a back injury. Hardik’s career-best 4 for 24 from seven overs and innings of 71 made him the first India player to score a half-century and take four wickets in an ODI since Yuvraj Singh at the 2011 World Cup.
The pair came together with their side 72 for 4 after Topley had ripped through the top order. He struck with his seventh delivery, a full one outside off stump that lured Shikhar Dhawan into an attempted drive only to skew it to Jason Roy, who took a good, low catch at point. Rohit Sharma then fell in Topley’s next over, prodding at one that angled away from an off-stump line and edging to Joe Root at slip.
Virat Kohli hinted that he might be about to break the shackles that have had his batting under scrutiny by taking David Willey for three fours before Topley struck again, angling a length ball across him to entice a faint edge, which went through to the keeper. Kohli was gone for 17 and India were 38 for 3.
They had added just five more runs by the end of the ten-over powerplay, substantially behind England’s 66 for 3. After 20 overs, however, India had restored parity via Pant and Hardik, who were united when Craig Overton had Suryakumar Yadav caught behind for 16.
India had slipped slightly behind the curve again when Topley returned in the 25th over but by that stage, Pant and Hardik were set. Topley had sent down just two overs, which went for 20, before England changed things up again in search of a breakthrough.
Hardik reached fifty first, pressing Liam Livingstone’s legbreak to long-off for a single. Pant followed him to the milestone soon after, crashing Ben Stokes to the long-off boundary, and from there, the duo played with freedom, piercing the field regularly as the hosts struggled for answers.
They found one when Brydon Carse finally removed Hardik, who had just carted him for back-to-back fours but tried to swing another over the leg side and picked out a diving Stokes at short midwicket.
Pant remained in control, though, moving into the 90s with a hefty heave off David Willey into the stand beyond cow corner and when he brought up his maiden ODI ton pulling a single to deep square leg, India needed just 24 with 55 balls remaining.
Pant wasted no time in taking his side home, launching an incredible onslaught of five consecutive fours off Willey followed by a single, which left them needing another three when he reverse-swept Root for four off the first ball of the next over.
Earlier, Rohit, the India captain, raised some eyebrows among pundits when he opted to bowl first on a good batting track after his side had failed to chase down a target of 247 and lost the second ODI by 100 runs.
Those runs were all down to Roy, who struck Mohammed Shami for three fours in the first four balls of the match, crashing his first delivery through mid-off before clearing square leg and clipping another off his toes through midwicket.
Siraj struck with his third ball to remove Jonny Bairstow and with his sixth to get Root, both for ducks.
Hardik replaced Siraj in the tenth over with immediate impact when he had an indecisive Roy out for 41, skying the ball straight up for Pant to pouch it behind the stumps, and when Hardik cramped Stokes, who advanced to a short ball and top-edged for a return catch, he had 2 for 2 inside three overs.
Buttler and Moeen had to hunker down, putting on just ten runs from the next 28 balls before Siraj returned to the attack, twice striking Buttler heavy blows to the side of the helmet as he attempted to pull the short ball.
Siraj attempted to bounce Buttler again in the next over but didn’t quite get the same lift, and Buttler was ready, swatting it powerfully to the boundary in front of square leg. Moeen passed 2000 ODI runs after two fours and then a six, swung over backward square, all off Siraj.
Ravindra Jadeja broke their 75-run partnership with just his second ball when he had Moeen caught behind attempting to sweep one which spun and bounced onto the bat face for Pant to gather down the leg side.
Showing no ill-effects from those helmet blows, Buttler brought up his fifty with a single through deep extra cover off Jadeja.
Hardik and Jadeja then combined twice in an over to reduce England to 199 for 7. Hardik’s short ball tempted Livingstone – who already had braces of fours and sixes in his 27 – into a hook towards backward square leg, where Jadeja swallowed the catch just inside the boundary rope.
Three balls later, Buttler fell trying to dispatch another short ball to deep midwicket, only for Jadeja to come racing around from deep square and sliding to meet the ball, then rightly lapping up the applause for his excellent effort.
Buttler ended up as his side’s leading run-scorer with 60 as Yuzvendra Chahal tidied up the tail, the hosts losing their last three wickets for 12 runs in 14 balls.
Valkerie Baynes is a general editor at ESPNcricinfo