India vs England, 3rd ODI, Pune

Jos Buttler, England’s stand-in captain, says he is proud of the manner in which his side stayed true to the values that won them the 50-over World Cup at Lord’s two years ago, despite succumbing to a thrilling seven-run defeat in the ODI series decider against India in Pune.

Faced with a stiff target of 330, England had slumped to 168 for 6 shortly after the halfway mark of their innings, but kept throwing their punches to the bitter end. Sam Curran belied a previous ODI highest score of 15 to finish with 95 not out from 83 balls, but a lack of batting partners undermined his attempts to seal the chase, as he was forced to turn down singles in the frantic closing overs.

And with Dawid Malan producing a run-a-ball 50 after his promotion to the full squad as an injury replacement for Eoin Morgan, and Liam Livingstone playing his second free-spirited innings in as many ODIs after stepping into Sam Billings’ role in the middle order, Buttler believes that England have made strides on this white-ball leg of their India tour, despite losing the decider in both the 20-over and 50-over rubbers.

“You play the game to win matches and to win series, and in the must-win games, we haven’t quite managed to do that, so of course, we’re disappointed with that,” Buttler said. “But there’ll be some great learnings taken from the tour, and some great exposure to players playing in this part of the world for the first time.”

“Once again, we’ve expanded the talent pool available to us in one-day cricket, building ahead to the T20 World Cup in a few months’ time and, of course, the 2023 World Cup later on down the line as well.

“So anytime we expand that player pool, that creates competition, that creates better performances, and that’s the upward trajectory that we’re always after as a side, that continuous improvement.”

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