India versus England T20 series: Bhuvneshwar swings series in India’s favour after Jadeja powers with bat

Another wicket burst with the swinging new ball meant India overcame a mid-innings batting meltdown to wrap up the three-match T20I series against England 2-0 in Birmingham with the last game in Nottingham on Sunday reduced to a dead rubber.

Bhuvneshwar Kumar had claimed England captain Jos Buttler for a golden duck with a ripping inswinger off his fifth delivery in the series opener in Southampton on Thursday. He struck first ball on Saturday at Edgbaston, curling the ball away this time from Jason Roy to produce a nothing poke to slip. Perhaps the threat of the big inducker was on Roy’s mind as he stood rooted to the crease and followed the line of the delivery as it left him late.

Then Rishabh Pant stood up to Bhuvneshwar in his second over, forcing Buttler to stay put in the crease. Pant’s presence, as well as how Buttler had fallen in Southampton, may well have played their roles in this dismissal as he stabbed at a widish length delivery for the wicketkeeper to pouch a sharp take. Both bowler and keeper were convinced and India’s review showed Buttler had indeed got a faint bottom-edge.

After the game, Bhuvneshwar would remark that because the white Kookaburra had swung in both Southampton and Birmingham (unlike the red Dukes in the Test match at the same ground days ago), it had motivated him to try and execute what he so often does upfront: go for early wickets.

At 11 for 2, Liam Livingstone came in and tried to unsettle the seamers’ lines and lengths with a few of his walks down the track. It worked for a brief while, before Jasprit Bumrah produced a stunner, swerving the ball in late from wide of the crease and zipping it through the gate to hit the top of middle and off. It was a dream dismissal for any bowler in any format against any batsman, and Livingstone flashed a broad smile, acknowledging the sheer quality of Bumrah’s delivery.

With a powerplay score of 36 for 3, England had fallen way behind India’s tally of 61 for 1 at the same stage, although the visiting batters were to stumble later.

Young Harry Brook tried to bully Yuzvendra Chahal with a couple of dashes down the track right after the powerplay, but the wily leg-spinner has gobbled up far more established batsmen. He saw Brook advancing and flighted it into the right-hander, denying him swinging space, and resulting in a tame catch to long-on.

Amid the continuing procession of wickets, Moeen Ali struck a few blows in his 35. After he swung Hardik Pandya’s pulled-back length for six, skipper Rohit Sharma ran to his bowler from mid-off. What followed from Pandya was the fuller length across the left-hander and the ball settled into Rohit’s hands, sealing England’s fate.

Jadeja the saviour

After losing the toss, India opened with Pant for the first time in T20Is. The keeper put on 49 with his skipper inside five overs, as India attacked from both ends in their new approach of maximising the field restrictions and remaining aggressive for as long as they can.

The standout of Pant’s 15-ball 26 was a back-foot helicopter-whipped four between the square-leg umpire and short fine leg off Moeen. Rohit, dropped by Roy off David Willey at backward point on 1, lashed out at the second delivery he faced and kept doing that often in a 20-ball stay for his 31. He even charged at the pacy 34-year old debutant Richard Gleeson, mowing him over mid-on for four.

It was Gleeson who brought England back, hurrying Rohit into a top-edged hook with a short ball angled into the chest in his opening over. First ball of his second over, he claimed Virat Kohli, who threw his bat at a widish length ball and sliced it for backward point to run behind and take it.

India kept attacking, though, and lost Pant the very next ball, as he jumped out at Gleeson and nicked a swipe to the keeper.

The hard length worked for Chris Jordan as well, with him and Gleeson ending up bowling four-fifths of their deliveries either short or short of a good length. Suryakumar Yadav went top-edging a pick-up slog and Hardik followed next ball, guiding a lifter straight to backward point as India lost 4 for 28 in under five overs after the powerplay. In between, Gleeson had made life hard for the batters, knocking a pinned Hardik on the gloves and ripping it past Dinesh Karthik’s outside edge.

India slipped further when Karthik was run out attempting a third run at the start of the 16th but Ravindra Jadeja, fresh from a hundred on the same ground in the Test match, steered India to 170, a score that Rohit said was par.

Displaying the unflappable decisiveness that marks his batting these days, Jadeja scored 34 of the 49 runs India managed off the bat in the last five overs. He was strong square of the wicket on both sides and grabbed the opportunity to drive through extra cover or straight when he got an opening. From 89 for 5, it was quite a recovery.

Brief Scores:

India 170/8 (Ravindra Jadeja 46, Rohit Sharma 31; Richard Gleeson 3/15) bt England 121 all out in 17 ovs (Moeen Ali 35, David Willey 33 ; Bhuvneshwar Kumar 3/15, Jasprit Bumrah 2/10, Yuzvendra Chahal 2/10)

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