England were chasing 186 to win their Twenty20 series against India after Jofra Archer picked up four wickets on a good batting pitch in Ahmedabad.
Having been restricted to 124 and 156 in their previous two attempts at setting a target, India posted an improved 185 for eight, with Suryakumar Yadav smashing 57 in his maiden innings.
There were handy contributions at the back end of the innings but Archer’s ability to make regular breakthroughs ensured the momentum never swung too far away from the tourists.
India have been guilty of starting their powerplays passively in this series but Rohit Sharma broke that mould by planting Adil Rashid’s first ball of the match all the way over long-off.
Yet if that was meant as a statement of intent, England refused to let it set the tone.
Having scored six off a single swing of the bat, Rohit was only able to double his score off the next 11 balls and fell to a meek caught and bowled from Archer (four for 33).
Yadav was in at three and, after not batting on debut, announced himself in
style by whipping his first ball at international level high into stands beyond
fine-leg. Archer, returning to his mark, could only laugh at the audacity.
India got up to 45 for one at the end of the powerplay, before taking 14 off the next over as Yadav showed off his skills against spin. Having cashed in on a Rashid full-toss he lifted a well-pitched leg-break for six over extra cover.
KL Rahul was slamming the handbrake on at the other end, chewing up 17 valuable deliveries for 14 runs at the head of the innings before chipping Ben Stokes to mid-off to continue his poor run.
Virat Kohli’s recent form has been of a different order entirely, making 150 runs from 95 balls in the previous two matches and finishing not out on both occasions.
But he crashed back to earth with a bump, stumped for one after being thoroughly deceived by Rashid’s googly.
At the halfway stage India were had 75 for three, largely thanks to Yadav, who reached 50 in 28 deliveries with another confident stroke off the spinner and then took to one knee to flip Sam Curran for six.
He immediately went for a repeat but this time failed to clear fine leg, with Dawid Malan taking a low catch which occupied the TV umpire for several minutes before he waved it through.
The last five overs saw plenty of action, with India adding 57 runs and losing another four wickets to the cause.
Archer was key for England, stopping Pant in his tracks on 30 by rattling middle stump, then picking up Shreyas Iyer (37) and Washington Sundar in the 20th over.