England Under-19s v India Under-19s, 3rd ODI, Cardiff

Sumanth sets up India whitewash

India 231 for 9 (Sumanth 97*, Kohli 41 ) beat England 230 for 7 (Wright 68*, Thompson 41) by one wicket
Scorecard



Ishant Sharma celebrates the winning run as Bodapati Sumanth scrambles home © Martin Williamson
At last a tight game. And what a match. India took the series 3-0 with a one-wicket win today, but after being second-best in the other one-dayers England finally put on a show to be proud of. And it was a display that they badly needed in their search for pride and confidence ahead of the two-Test series which starts next week after yesterday's display which their captain Varun Chopra described as a career low.

But that England failed at the last was ultimately down to one man, Bodapati Sumanth. He just missed out on a century yet his 97 not out proved the difference and he took India home by a whisker. It was edge-of-your-seat stuff at Sophia Gardens right to the end with Sumanth and the last man Ishant Sharma squeezing out the singles in the dying stages after the No. 10 Abu Ahmed had boosted a towering six with 11 needed from 12 balls to turn the tide in India's favour.

Yet when Ahmed fell to a most unfortunate run-out off the last ball of the 49th over, the game was still on; England needed one wicket and India four runs from the last over, bowled by the seamer Steven Finn. Sharma nibbled a single from the first ball; Sumanth pushed the next one out to square; before Sharma levelled with a run cut through backward point.

One run or one wicket would decide it now. The cool-headed Sumanth promptly ran the fourth ball to fine leg where Mark Nelson's fumble allowed the batsmen to scramble through for a thoroughly deserved victory.



Ben Wright on his way to a battling 68 © Martin Williamson
Cue celebrations. A horde of fans duly invaded the pitch and converged on the players' jubilant huddle as whoops and hollers rang long and loud into the night sky.

But there may not have been such a testing total at all if England hadn't managed to take 90 runs from their final ten overs of their innings. At the end of the 40th over, they had a sedate 140 on the board, but then Ben Wright and Steven Mullaney took charge and together they added 63 runs in 49 balls to help propel England to their eventual total of 230 for 7.

Wright made an unbeaten 68 from as many deliveries, and was the only batsman to look comfortable improvising - fetching balls from way outside his offstump to fine leg and hitting flat-batted straight sixes in an entertaining knock. Mullaney's 33 came from just 23 deliveries and included three straight sixes which were most easy on the eye.

Still, even that total looked 40 runs shy while India's in-form Parvez Aziz was striking the ball to all parts, including a particularly imperious series of strong cover-drives. But when Graeme White knocked back Aziz's leg-stump with one which ripped across the lefthander the game tilted back into the balance (61 for 3). Then came the turning point, when Chopra dropped Virat Kholi on 22, a simple chance at wide mid-off.

The recently deposed captain Moeen Ali dismissed Kholi later, for 41, Chopra making partial amends with an easy catch at square leg, but the momentum was beginning to ebb away from England's fielding (126 for 4).



Sumanth on his way to 97 not out and the Man-of-the-Match award © Martin Williamson
They began to regroup but all the while the clean-hitting Sumanth was in control, batting patiently and keeping his head as wickets tumbled around him. He took 144 balls for his unbeaten 97, but his composure and control belied his years.

"It was a good pitch to bat on," he said later of a track that England had expected to break up; it was the same one as yesterday. "I thought if I could remain at the last I could easily make the target, so I did so and won the match. At 40 overs we lost a few wickets but I was confident that I could do it for India." And he issued this chilling warning for England. "India are in great form so we will definitely win the Test series also."

India are certainly in tiptop shape after some consummate displays over the series, and they have been marshalled well by their captain Tanmay Srivastava. "We played very well under pressure," he smiled afterwards. "We are confident and we are looking forward to the Test series." And, if England weren't already running scared, they should be now - nothing, it appears, can shake India. As Srivastava says: "We are really mentally tough."

Jenny Thompson is assistant editor of Cricinfo

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