All eyes were on the wrist-spinners. Can their attacking bowlers rock the England batting order? It was a question that was a major talking point in the lead up to the T20I leg which kicked off India’s tour of the Old Blighty on Tuesday.

England’s fears came true as Kuldeep Yadav produced a deadly spell of spin bowling to turn the game in India’s favour after roaring start by England’s openers. The 22-year-old picked up a five-wicket-haul that included three of England’s middle-order batsmen and in-form batsman Jos Buttler. The effort set the base for India’s convincing eight-wicket win.

Initially, though, it appeared that the wrist-spin ploy might not be as fool-proof as envisioned.

Kuldeep’s “spin-twin” Yuzvendra Chahal struggled in the first outing. He was smashed for 16 runs after being introduced into the attack in the fourth over and would spend the rest of his spell trying to contain the batsmen. He looked off-colour or may be it was nerves. Kuldeep though was feeling at home.

“Perfect conditions. It felt like home conditions,” Kuldeep said after the game. The fact that it was his first-ever tour of England seemed irrelevant.

The Chinaman bowler was brought into the attack in the 12th over. Buttler was leading England’s charge. The opening pair had handed the Englishmen a flying start. Despite Jason Roy’s exit, Buttler had continued to power on. He was keeping the scoreboard ticking despite new batsman Alex Hales’ initial struggle.

Hales, though, fell apart when confronted by Kuldeep. Looking to sweep a wrong one, he missed and had his stumps shattered. India were back in the game and it was the wrist-spin that got them the breakthrough. Kuldeep would comeback in the second over of his spell to create further pandemonium. He picked up three wickets in that over including two on consecutive deliveries. The over accounted for the wickets of England skipper Eoin Morgan, Jonny Bairstow and Joe Root. Kuldeep had run through the English middle-order shattering the foundation build by their openers.

He would go onto remove Buttler in the 18th over to rule out a late flourish from the hosts, ensuring a modest total for his side in their opening game of the long tour.

Dream debut in England

Wrist-spin was always going to be India’s most lethal weapon in England. Virat Kohli has been pretty open about his gameplan heading to United Kingdom. The spin-twins had shown glimpses of what they can produce in Ireland, but they were yet to bowl in England, against a batting line up which had come into the tournament on back of a successful limited-overs series against Australia.

After the flying start by their openers, it wasn’t outlandish to assume that the English batsmen were ready for the task.

Have the English batsmen found a way to combat wrist-spin? The mind wondered. Chahal looked toothless. Kuldeep, though, put all theories to rest.

Not only did Kuldeep deliver on the trust that Kohli and the team management had bestowed on him, he also exposed a fundamental flaw in the English batting that has plagued them for years - their inability to face quality spin.

England seemed clueless. They weren’t picking the bowler from his hand nor from the pitch, which was hard and true and warranted a first innings total in the range of 180-200. England managed just 159. Their batsmen got there with a range of sweeps and at times, ill-advised slog sweeps. It was clear that Kuldeep had rattled them.

With the tour only just beginning, Kuldeep has already laid down the marker. England need to quickly find a way to play him. They were on a high after their one-sided win over Australia. They have been left founding early in the India series.

For his part, the young spinner needs to keep doing what he did on Tuesday. A Test call-up might not be too far away.