England captain Eoin Morgan has claimed that the ploy to bring in Chris Woakes for the last over in the third ODI against India was not done to protect Ben Stokes, who had been hammered in a similar pressure situation during 2016's World T20 final.
"No, not at all. I was actually thinking of bowling him two in a row and bowling him out because he bowled a great over and got the wicket of Pandya," Morgan said after their thrilling five-run win over India at Eden Gardens last night in the third and final ODI.
Less than a year ago, there was heartbreak for England when the West Indies, needing 19 from last over to win the World Twenty20 title, sealed the issue with Carlos Brathwaite smacking Stokes for four successive sixes.
"Some days they work, some days they don't. The bowlers made everything we did today look really good, which they do all the time." Having come in for criticism in the first match where they failed to defend 350 in Pune, the English bowlers put up an improved show and Morgan was all praise for the attack.
"It's great to see them bowl today, and compared to the first two games, there was lot of improvement which is very important, particularly given how damp it was, how wet the ball was, playing against a strong side."
Stokes not only made the difference with the bat with a quickfire 57 not out from 39 balls, he emerged as the wrecker-in-chief with his 3/63 that included the Indian skipper Virat Kohli (55) and a well set Hardik Pandya who got out for a career-best 56.
"The bowlers made everything we did today look really good, as they do all the time. Great to see them bowl today compared to the first two games, there was lot of improvement."
Showering praise on Stokes, Morgan said: "I reckon he had more in the tank. He is an incredible player to have in the side. It's a luxury to have a player like him in your team. He always gives you everything he has got on the day, which is a lot. We don't take that for granted."
On their batting, he said: "For a bunch of sloggers we did well. Guys at top, Jason Roy and Sam Billings did well.The ball beat the bat a lot in the first 10 overs and we weren't sure what a good score was going to be but to be none down at that time was a great start. They held their nerve, backed their strengths -- things we do well as a batting unit.They set the innings up well for us."