Even a memorable debut for Richard Gleeson couldn’t change the script for England in the second international Twenty20 match as another sparkling performance by Indian bowlers capped a series win with a game to spare.
Gleeson, the fast 34-year-old from Lancashire, heralded his late arrival on the world stage with numbers of three for 15 from four overs, including a holy trinity of kills in Rohit Sharma, Rishabh Pant and Virat Kohli. With four wickets for Chris Jordan, that helped limit India to 170 for eight and what looked like a huntable target.
But on a surface used for the Blast quarter-final last Thursday, and with Indian fans dominating the sold-out crowd due to noise, England’s batting line-up faded after Bhuvneshwar Kumar brought down Jason Roy and Jos Buttler with the new ball. The hosts were knocked out for 121 in 17 overs despite a 21 ball 35 challenge from Moeen Ali and are now heading for a dead rubber at Trent Bridge on Sunday.
India’s tally owes a lot to Ravindra Jadeja’s typically classy unbeaten 46 from 29 balls and their general intent with the tourists losing wickets at regular intervals after Gleeson stopped a worrying 49-run opener between Sharma and Pant in the fifth. Sharma’s abandonment by Roy in the first set – a mistake that could have changed David Willey’s fortunes – England lined up smartly and had seven great catches.
If Jordan finished with the standout numbers, rolling on his Ageas Bowl form with four for 27, then Gleeson was the standout story. After piggybacking from league cricket at Blackpool to a belated career in the county of Northamptonshire and then Lancashire, only to have that rise recently stalled by stress fractures to his lower back, the cricketer’s first day 34-year-old Englishman was dreamlike.
Sharma went for a 20-ball 31 first, held superbly by Buttler over his shoulder when Gleeson’s slippery short ball interfered with the opener for room. In the follow-up, the right arm then found himself on a hat-trick, Kohli falling on a wild hack on one that produced a similar whirling catch from Malan at the toe and Pant caught behind the inside edge. Pant 26’s 15-ball opening included a cheeky no-look whipped four from Moeen but India, so quick out of the traps, was suddenly 61 for three.
Jordan then took over and continued the newcomer’s approach from the Pavilion End, crushing a long length and seeing the seekers take advantage of poorly executed hoiks. Like Gleeson, he also found himself on a hat-trick in the 11th when Suryakumar Yadav was held back in the middle of the wicket and Hardik Pandya slapped the next delivery on point. After 12 difficult months, Jordan shares are on the rise again.
But despite some great work from deep by Harry Brook to knock out Dinesh Karthik in the 16th – Buttler nonchalantly pulled bail with one hand – and two more strikes for Jordan, Jadeja’s late salvo allowed India to chisel a competitive total. England were a bit of a two-man attack as a threat, it must be said, with an absent swing for Willey and Sam Curran, and the spin trio of Moeen, Matt Parkinson and Liam Livingstone costing 67 runs from six combined no-wicket overs.
The same charge could not be brought against India. After Kumar’s early takedowns from Roy and Buttler – the former pushing to slip for a duck, the latter caught behind after a tremor was detected on UltraEdge – Bumrah and Yuzvendra Chahal’s class assured no respite and halfway through, England found themselves out of the contest at 60 for six.
Livingstone could at least take solace in being assaulted by a Bumrah special – the right arm rolling his fingers over a ball that then sliced and kissed the top of the stump – but the stunt afterwards seemed avoidable. Brook dug in long on Chahal and Dawid Malan inexplicably clad a full throw of the leg spinner to the point with a premeditated reverse sweep despite being set on 19 of 25 deliveries.
After Curran fell to a slower ball from Bumrah, there were some flickers of challenge, first Moeen smashing a few sixes and Willey likewise in an unbeaten 33 on 22 balls. England were circling the drain in the second half of the innings, however, with an out and wickets for Pandya, Kumar and setter Harshal Patel completing the rout.
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