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India seek to dominate rattled England, clinch Twenty20 series

Kuldeep Yadav’s five-wicket haul has left England batsmen anxious and Virat Kohli’s Indian cricket team will look to cash in when they meet in Friday’s second T20 at Cardiff.

cricket Updated: Jul 06, 2018 14:26 IST
Sanjjeev K Samyal
Sanjjeev K Samyal
Hindustan Times, Cardiff
India vs England,Indian cricket team,England cricket team
There was a touch of class to whatever India did at Old Trafford on Tuesday, winning the opening game of the series vs England by eight wickets.(Action Images via Reuters)

As the India and England squads arrived in Cardiff, dark clouds greeted them. Contrary to the forecast of weathermen, the city experienced a shower. It was no downpour, but just enough to calm the nerves in the England dressing room. (IND v ENG FULL COVERAGE)

The hosts sure are in need of divine intervention. If the weather remains as dry as it was in Manchester on Tuesday, there doesn’t seem a way they can stop India’s spinners from running away with this three-match Twenty20 series.

The news from the weather bureau isn’t good though for England on match day. There may not be clouds to help create English conditions, which will be to their strength when they take the field against India in the second T20 on Friday.

There was a touch of class to whatever India did at Old Trafford on Tuesday, winning the opening game of the series by eight wickets.

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Such was the force of the Virat Kohli-led team’s performance the home team were made to look pedestrian. On the basis of the first game, they will need to lift their game several notches to avoid the embarrassment of being swept aside in the tough series ahead of the 50-overs World Cup at home.

There’s no gainsaying that working out a gameplan to counter the effectiveness of Kuldeep Yadav will dominate England’s team meetings going into the second T20 at Sophia Gardens, home to Glamorgan in the English County, which in the early 1990s was represented by India coach Ravi Shastri.

KL Rahul, the batting hero with an unbeaten 101, warned England will face more spin trouble.

England faced the Merlyn machine, which can replicate any kind of spin, at the nets on Friday. The technology was introduced in 2005 to replicate Shane Warne’s deliveries before the Ashes, which England won. It is used by every County team.

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Rahul pointed out it wasn’t only about the batsmen’s weaknesses.

“I don’t think it is just England (batsmen who will struggle). A good wrist spinner is a good wrist spinner against any opposition. With the skill and quality Kuldeep and Yuzvendra Chahal have, it’s always going to be hard for a team that doesn’t play spin a lot. What Kuldeep did was special. To get balls like that against Bairstow and Root, it is always hard for a middle-order batsman. We’re missing Bumrah up the order, but the way Chahal and Kuldeep are bowling, they’re going to be dangerous throughout the series.”

Inadequate preparation has hurt England with no chinaman bowler to bowl at the nets. As captain Eoin Morgan bemoaned after the first game, it’s impossible to replicate Kuldeep simply because ‘there’s no one who can turn the ball both ways’.

England will be studying his videos minutely again, but they would do well to alter the plan to attack him. It proved their undoing at Old Trafford. They may be better off working him around.

Chahal’s bowling is also superior to that of England leg-spinner Adil Rashid, whom the home batsmen face.

DIFFERENCE IN QUALITY

Not just the loss, the manner of defeat would have created doubts whether England have the wherewithal to match Kohli’s men.

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India outwitted Morgan’s men in all departments. First, the bowlers were a step ahead of the England batsmen, and then the top-order took apart the England bowlers.

Any real contest lasted only for the first four overs. Kuldeep was not the only one to trouble the England line-up. Despite three boundary hits in an over by Jos Buttler, Hardik Pandya was superb in reading the batsmen’s movements, following their feet with clever variations. Umesh Yadav enjoyed the extra pace on offer. Kuldeep benefitted from the pressure built by Chahal from the other end.

How Morgan and Co cope with the challenge of playing wrist spinners in the remaining white-ball matches will determine whether the England batsmen move into the 2019 season with confidence intact.

First Published: Jul 05, 2018 16:51 IST