England Under-19s ended the one-day series against India by snatching a thrilling tie at the Wankhede Stadium.
With the scores level on the last ball of the match, Nottinghamshire left-arm spinner Liam Patterson-White had Isham Porel caught by Max Holden at short extra cover - giving England the satisfaction of ending a three-match losing run despite the absence of their captain Matt Fisher with a groin injury.
England’s bowling attack rose to the challenge of defending a modest total of 226 for nine – to which seamers Henry Brookes, Arthur Godsal and Jack Blatherwick had already made a crucial contribution by eking out 39 runs from the last seven overs of the innings.
Blatherwick, a fast bowler from Notts, then reduced India to 18 for two with wickets in his first and third overs.
When Godsal, who was a late call-up to the England squad in place of his Middlesex team-mate Jack Bruce, took two in consecutive overs, the home team were in further trouble at 54 for four.
They recovered with partnerships of 47 for the fifth wicket and 36 for the sixth. But Delray Rawlins, the Sussex all-rounder who was England’s man of the series, then had Het Patel smartly stumped by Surrey’s Ollie Pope.
Brookes, the Warwickshire seamer who has impressed throughout the series, played a key role in the increasingly tense closing stages, and after he had taken the first of his three wickets, Rawlins dismissed Radhakrishnan, who had been holding India’s innings together with a patient 65.
England seemed to be heading for a fourth consecutive loss as India responded with an eighth-wicket stand of 65. But Brookes then returned to claim his second and third wickets, the latter in the 49th over to leave India nine down with nine runs still required.
The target was down to six when Patterson-White was given the responsibility of bowling the 50th. The third ball went for a boundary and a single off the fifth brought the scores level. But the Notts youngster held his nerve.
“It was a great way to finish the series,” reflected England’s head coach Andy Hurry.
“International under-19s cricket is all about putting players under pressure in different circumstances and giving them the chance to learn – and a finish like that was the icing on the cake.
“Max Holden used his bowlers well, making a really strong decision to use Henry Brookes for the 49th over which kept the pressure on India going into the last over from Liam Patterson-White.
“Liam started the over really well, and squeezed them in the last couple of balls. Max then brought the field up for the last ball with the scores level, and their no.11 picked him out at short extra.
“Both the Notts lads have stuck to their tasks and improved through the series, which has been really good to see. Jack Blatherwick set the tone at the start of the innings, bowing very aggressive lengths and areas, and picking up a couple of wickets.
“The lads have learned so much through the series, and one of the big things would be the importance of going on and making a big score once you’ve got yourself in and made a start.
“Again in this last game, we had three lads who made good starts but weren’t able to go on – that left us needing to be dug out by the three bowlers at the end.
“Now the challenge for everyone is to transfer to the red ball and the longer game. It’s not going to be easy, but we’re all looking forward to that challenge.”
The England team fly to Nagpur on Thursday, with the first of their two four-day matches against India Under-19s starting next Monday (February 13).