Ben Stokes celebrates with England team-mates after the dismissal of India captain Virat Kohli
He looked a broken man in April last year when West Indies' Carlos Brathwaite smashed him for four successive sixes to steal the World T20 trophy out of England's grasp.
Without Stokes last night, though, England would have been whitewashed in this series. Instead, they finally beat India for the first time this winter ending a grim run of six straight defeats in Tests and one-dayers.
Stokes said: "Put it down to good captaincy from Morgy [Eoin Morgan] making sure I didn't come on at the end again.
"It was a difficult time last year. Tonight's just a win in its own right but there has been a bit of banter flying around so it's nice to come back and get rid of some of the memories."
England skipper Eoin Morgan paid tribute to his leading all-rounder, saying: "He's an incredible player to have and he has more in the tank. It's a luxury to have him in your team. He gives you everything he has every time he plays and we don't take that for granted."
Stokes praised the captaincy of Eoin Morgan in helping England avoid a whitewash
And even Indian captain Virat Kohli, who was one of Stokes's three victims, added his support, saying: "I felt bad for him in the final. He takes a lot of pride in his cricket and he's very proud to play for England.
"I saw the sadness on his face. He's a guy with great characer and he's always fighting to win games for England. He was really motivated – you could see from his body language. Every side is pleased to have cricketers like that."
Having set India 322 to win, England removed the opening pair but lost left-armer David Willey in the process with a shoulder injury.
Kohli was swiftly into his stride and he was given a life on 35 when Jake Ball, who also crucially dropped MS Dhoni in the second match, spilled the Indian skipper at fine leg.
It seemed certain to be a costly drop as Kohli moved on to 55 but Stokes found the edge as he flashed at a rising ball outside off stump and Jos Buttler took the catch.
India won the series 2-1 to follow up a 4-0 victory in the Tests
Within a dozen overs, the big guns were all out. Yuvraj Singh, one of the two century-makers in the second match in Cuttack, was hit in the chest by a bouncer from Ball before holing out to Sam Billings on the mid-wicket boundary.
MS Dhoni, who was the other half of the monumental 256 partnership in Cuttack, went cheaply and at 173 for five, the tide seemed to have turned for England.
But Kedar Jadhav and Hardik Pandya, who hit a maiden one-day fifty, smashed 104 from 83 balls for the sixth wicket and bring India right back into it until Stokes broke the partnership.
Put in to bat on a pitch offering, pace and bounce it was tough going for England. Openers Jason Roy and Sam Billings, who replaced the injured Alex Hales, played and missed at 15 deliveries in the first eight overs of the innings.
Billings battled on to 35 but then gave his wicket away, caught reverse-sweeping a ball from spinner Ravi Jadeja that would have been called wide. He was not the only England batsman to waste his opportunity.
For the third time in the series Roy passed fifty and for the third time he was outdone by Jadeja, who skidded the ball as the Surrey batsman tried to make room for himself.
England's top 10 overseas Test victories
Wed, December 30, 2015
Express Sport takes a look at England's 10 best overseas Test victories
Patrick Eagar via Getty Images
1 of 10
England headed to Sydney with the 2010-11 Ashes in the bag but a series win was at stake. Hundreds from Alastair Cook, Ian Bell and Matt Prior set up a total of 644 before the seamers forced the tourists to an innings win
Roy spoke before the match about the importance of pushing on to three figures but once again no England batsman was up to the challenge.
They posted more then 300 for the sixth one-dayer in row when they have batted first but the feeling at halfway was that they were likely 20 or 30 runs short.
Jonny Bairstow, coming in for Joe Root who had a groin injury, needed a slice of luck on his way to his fourth fifty of the winter against India, following three half-centuries in the Tests.
Caught off a no-ball when he had 28, he had another let-off on 46 when he had a caught-behind decision overturned on review because the ball had brushed his trouser leg not the bat.
Bairstow was out tamely for 56 when he cut Hardik Pandya straight to Ravi Jadeja at backward point.
His dismissal left England on 237-5 and Moeen Ali departed soon afterwards. But Stokes, with some brutal hitting, and Woakes, with clever placement of the ball, hit 73 in 6.4 overs and gave England what turned out to be a winning total.