Spinners under pressure after England fightback

Spinners under pressure after England fightback

TIMELY JOLT India's Kuldeep Yadav (centre) will be keen to bounce back in the decider after an ordinary show in the second T20I. AFP

Rendered ineffective in the second match, India's wrist spinners Kuldeep Yadav and Yuzvendra Chahal would look to bounce back against 'well-prepared' England batsmen as the two teams clash in the series-deciding third Twenty20 International, here on Sunday.

On Thursday, Alex Hales struck an unbeaten 58 off 41 balls to power a much-improved England to a series-levelling five-wicket victory in the second T20 International in Cardiff.

The hosts scored 149 for five in 19.4 overs to overcome India's sub-par total of 148 for five on a Sophia Gardens surface that offered bounce.

Virat Kohli had top-scored with 47 runs off 38 balls as the visitors struggled to get going after being put into bat.

The Indian spin duo thus faces its first real challenge in more than a year with England batsmen biting back immediately after drubbing in Manchetser. From Sri Lanka, to Australia, to New Zealand, and to South Africa, none of the opponents could easily contend with Chahal-Kuldeep in such quick time.

With Kuldeep returning wicket-less in Cardiff after a sensational five-wicket show in the series-opener and Chahal too taken for runs last night, they need to find ways to trouble the opponents.

India missed injured Jasprit Bumrah’s services on Friday during the death overs as England hit three sixes. His replacement Umesh Yadav has provided wickets (four in two matches) in the powerplays, but he has also been taken for runs at the same time.

A little change in the England batting line-up also worked wonders. Joe Root was sent up at number four, with skipper Eoin Morgan dropping down to allow the former more time at the crease. While it didn’t help Root in particular as he failed to read the googly for a second match running, it did allow Alex Hales to build partnerships and anchor their win.

Hales was included in the side in place of injured all-rounder Ben Stokes, but on current form, it will be tough to leave him out. Stokes returns to the England squad for the third match and bolsters their confidence being yet another key member to have played in the IPL.

In the current scenario, he could walk into the playing eleven in place of the struggling Root, based alone on the fact that he has played enough against both Chahal and Kuldeep in the last two IPL seasons.

Stokes will also provide another seam-bowling option, and thus it remains to be seen if Moeen Ali will return to the eleven. It will depend on pitch conditions. A similar wicket to the one in Cardiff will see the off-spinning all-rounder sitting out again, for the boundaries at the Gloucestershire County Club will be short once again. That India played spin well in both matches will also be a factor.

The conditions concern India as well. Thanks to the last layer of grass remaining on the surface, England used the short ball tactic against the top-order. Both Rohit Sharma and KL Rahul struggled to get going against the short deliveries, while Shikhar Dhawan and Suresh Raina looked ill at ease. Even Virat Kohli was out caught pulling a short one straight to fine leg, albeit in the death overs.

 

DH Newsletter Privacy Policy Get top news in your inbox daily
GET IT
Comments (+)