With the series done and dusted after the conclusion of the fourth Youth One-Day International between India and England, with the hosts’ three-match unbeaten streak, the fifth one-dayer, the dead rubber, was going to be a mere formality. Yet, on Wednesday (February 8), neither team relented, as they put on a good fight in a bid to end the series on a high and carry forward the momentum into the two-match Youth Test series.
As it turned out, the game, in which the equation came down to India requiring one run in one ball with one wicket in hand, ended in a tie as the visitors picked up a wicket off the final ball at the Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai, to end the series with a scoreline that read 3-1 in favour of the hosts.
Opting to field, India did well to restrict England to 226 for 9 in their quota of overs, despite hard-fought forties from George Bartlett (47) and Ollie Pope (45). Ayush Jamwal, the right-arm offspinner, accounted for England’s middle order, after which Will Jacks held one end adeptly for a 34-ball 28 before the innings fell apart.
There were two substantial stands of fifty and more for the fourth and sixth wicket respectively that provided the innings some semblance of stability. However, Ishan Porel, who accounted for Harry Brook in the third over, wrapped up proceedings by eking out an edge off the blade of Henry Broookes to leave India with a par score to chase, with returns of 2 for 25 in nine overs.
Jack Blatherwick gave England the perfect start, dismissing Priyam Garg in the opening over for a duck. He followed that up with skipper Abhishek Sharma’s wicket in the fifth, leaving India scrambling at 18 for 2. Debutants Manjot Kalra and S Radhakrishnan stabilised the innings with a 30-odd stand but Arthur Godsal struck in successive overs to deal the hosts with a double blow, reducing them to 54 for 4.
Radhakrishnan went on to score a vital half-century that kept India in the hunt en route a 47-run stand for the fifth wicket with ‘keeper Het Patel. After Patel fell for 23, he combined with Shiva Singh to add another 36 before the pair was dismissed in successive overs with Radhakrishnan getting out for 65.
After his three wickets earlier in the day, Jamwal contributed another 40 runs with the bat to give India a chance when it seemed like they were running out of hope and batsmen at 137 for 7. He came together with Yash Thakur to string a crucial eighth-wicket stand that yielded 65 runs before he fell with just 25 runs required for a win. His innings came at better than a run a ball, with him taking 38 balls to reach his 40 – an innings that had four boundaries and a six.
Thakur held his nerve until the penultimate over before he was caught and bowled by Brookes for a fantastic 30 at No. 9. Porel’s wicket off the last ball, however, meant that England managed to ward off a loss and take lots of positives from their plucky bowling performance.
Shubnam Gill ended as the top run-scorer of the series with 351 runs in four games, averaging 117, followed by Delray Rawlins who had 275 in five. On the bowlers list, Brookes topped the chart with nine wickets, followed by teammates Matthew Fisher and Rawlins who had 8.
Brief scores: England U19 226/9 in 50 overs (George Bartlett 47, Ollie Pope 45; Ayush Jamwal 3-40) tied with India U19 226 in 50 overs (S Radhakrishnan 65, Ayush Jamwal 40; Henry Brookes 3-30).