Wickets tumble in Nagpur for second ODI
Batsmen struggle and bowlers thrive as India took on England at the Vidarbha Cricket Association Stadium.
A combination of brilliant death bowling and risible umpiring saw India level the Twenty20 series against England and set up a winner-takes-all clash in Bangalore.
England needed just eight runs off the final over in Nagpur to seal the match – and with it the series – but saw top-scorer Joe Root (38) given lbw by umpire Chettithody Shamshuddin from Jasprit Bumrah’s first ball despite a big inside edge.
It was the last, and most egregious, in a handful of poor calls from the Hyderabadi official, but England might still have crossed the line had Bumrah not closed things out clinically, conceding just two runs for a five-run win.
Shamshuddin’s decision was met with angry incredulity by Root. In the first innings the umpire, 46, had judged India captain Virat Kohli not out to a clear lbw and also gave Yuvraj Singh the benefit of the doubt on a tighter shout from Moeen Ali.
“We didn’t start the final over well and a decision didn’t go our way,” England captain Morgan said.
“I thought we bowled really well to back up our previous performance with the ball. It’s unbelievably disappointing to lose, but we still have a chance to win the series in Bangalore.”
Gripes over sub-par officiating should not entirely overshadow some engrossing cricket on a low-scoring pitch where Lokesh Rahul’s 71 in 47 balls was ultimately a match-winning turn in a total of 144 for eight.
Both teams bowled with efficiency and guile on a tricky surface for the batsmen but while Rahul was able to turn his score into something substantial, the highest T20 score by an Indian against England, Root and Ben Stokes were finished at 38.
Chris Jordan, with three for 28, and Moeen Ali, whose four overs cost just 20, were the pick of the English attack but India were just as accomplished in the field.
Bumrah and Ashish Nehra took a combined five for 48 in their eight overs as England finished short on 139 for six.
Sam Billings and Jason Roy did their best to make a dent in the target but after one six apiece, both lashing Yuzvendra Chalal over long-on, they fell to successive Nehra deliveries. Billings got himself into trouble charging the veteran left-armer, ultimately fending a catch to fine-leg, and Roy was left shaking his head long before the ball dropped for Suresh Raina following a fat leading edge.
That left Root and Morgan to reboot the chase and they added 43 careful runs, earned more through placement than power as the bounce became increasingly unpredictable.
The 10-over score of 65 for two left both sides in the game but Morgan handed India the initiative just after drinks, caught in the deep after coming up short with his favoured slog-sweep.
Two balls later Amit Mishra bowled new man Stokes for a golden duck, sending the crowd into a frenzy before replays showed the spinner had overstepped.
Gallingly for India, and Mishra, it was Stokes who seized the moment, muscling Raina and Chalal for sixes as 24 runs came in two overs. Stokes’ dominance was such that Root managed only eight runs in a 50-run stand.
Bumrah was brilliant in the 18th over, sending down four dots and conceding a paltry three runs to leave England needing two-a-ball.
They managed 16 from the penultimate over, thanks to some big blows from Jos Buttler, and were favourites heading into the last six balls. Shamshuddin ensured Root’s end but the rest was all Bumrah, who bowled Buttler and outfoxed Moeen Ali comprehensively to win it for his side.
“It’s important to have belief,” Kohli said after the match.
“It was a case of us executing well initially. You don’t want to let momentum slip away in the middle overs, especially with the series on the line.
“But the way spinners bowled in the middle, and then the effort of Nehra and Bumrah was outstanding. Nehra knew exactly what he wanted to do, Bumrah was asking me every ball. I told him ‘just bowl what comes naturally to you’.”
Jasprit Bumrah collected two wickets and Ashish Nehra three as India won by five runs to level their Twenty20 series with England last night.