Wick­ets tum­ble in Nag­pur for sec­ond ODI

Bats­men strug­gle and bowlers thrive as In­dia took on Eng­land at the Vi­darbha Cricket As­so­ci­a­tion Sta­dium.

The National - News - Sport - - LEADING OFF -

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’.”

Dan­ish Sid­diqui / Reuters

Jasprit Bum­rah col­lected two wick­ets and Ashish Nehra three as In­dia won by five runs to level their Twenty20 se­ries with Eng­land last night.

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