Sam Curran heroics in vain as England fall short in decider against India

Sam Curran played the innings of a lifetime as he narrowly failed to drag England back from the brink in their one-day decider against India.

Already beaten in the Test and Twenty20 legs, England’s seven-run defeat meant a clean sweep of defeats in all formats on tour but Curran’s improbable rescue job from number eight turned a lost cause into a nail-biting finale.

England were 168 for six chasing 330 when he walked to the crease, but he showed scant regard for the oppressive match situation as he heaved his way to a remarkable 95 not out.

The 22-year-old’s previous best in ODIs was just 15, while his highest score in any white-ball cricket stood at 57. And yet, after being dropped in costly fashion by Hardik Pandya on just 22 he refused to be stopped.

With only the tail for company he set up a 50th-over shootout but could not clear the final hurdle as Thangarasu Natarajan prevented the two big hits England needed for glory.

They finished with 322 for nine, with Curran desperately close to finishing a Ben Stokes-level fightback.

The vast majority of his counter-attack seemed certain to do little more than mitigate the margin of defeat, but over-by-over and blow-by-blow the equation became more and more realistic as India’s fielding wilted under pressure.

In the end he needed 14 off the last six balls but could only take six as Natarajan finished well to secure a 2-1 series win for India.