India’s batters, bar Shreyas Iyer, struggled to get going against a top-notch English bowling effort on a two-paced track as the hosts were outplayed in the series-opener in Ahmedabad on Friday.
The result was a eight-wicket defeat for India with 27 balls remaining in the second innings, making it their third heaviest defeat in the format.
Shreyas Iyer was the lone bright spot as he showed the way with an impressive 67-run knock that took Kohli’s men to 124/7 at the the Narendra Modi stadium after being asked to bat.
In the absence of scoreboard pressure, England overhauled the target with ease in 15.3 overs to take a 1-0 lead in the five-match series.
The Indian batsmen never got any momentum going as England’s pace-heavy attack, led by Jofra Archer and Mark Wood, used the extra bounce effectively to trouble them.
The world’s biggest stadium, which has a seating capacity of 1,32,000, played host to more than 67,000 fans, (which would be more than the 50% as reported earlier).
Jason Roy scored a well-calculated 49-run knock while Jonny Bairstow’s big hits showed there were no demons in the pitch later on.
Roy struck the ball clean and hard to form a 72-run opening wicket stand with Jos Buttler (28), ending any hopes that the Indians harboured of getting back in the game.
The luxury of time allowed the England batsmen to play freely. None of the Indian bowlers looked like asking tough questions to the visitors. Buttler was dismissed by Yuzvendra Chahal and then Roy was trapped by Washington Sundar but by that time England had put 89 runs on the board. Bairstow (26) and Dawid Malan (24) took the side past the finish line.
Earlier, after India’s top-order was blown away, Iyer gauged the nature of the pitch quickly and adjusted his game accordingly, playing a sensible innings that helped them cross the 100-run mark.
Laced with eight boundaries and a six, and coming off 48 balls, it was Iyer’s best T20I knock. He fell in the last over.
England opened the attack with leg-spinner Adil Rashid, who was not only economical but also dismissed Kohli (0) after KL Rahul (1) dragged one back onto his stumps from player of the match Archer (3/23).
Shikhar Dhawan, who got the opportunity since Rohit Sharma was rested, attempted to break the shackles with a flashy shot off Wood but completely missed the line to see his timber disturbed.
In-form batsman Rishabh Pant (21) was promoted to number four. He struck the ball clean, which included a reverse-lap off Archer for a six, but the England bowlers kept it tight against him for the most part.
The home team was tottering at 34 for three in eight overs. Pant and Iyer added 28 runs for the fourth wicket before the former hit one straight to Bairstow off Ben Stokes.
That brought Hardik Pandya to the crease, who true to his style, looked for some big hits but could not do much. The struggles of India batsmen was summed up by the fact that Iyer accounted for more than half of the team’s total at a significantly quicker rate.
What the captains said
Virat Kohli: “We just weren’t aware of what we had to do on that pitch, lack of execution on our shots and something we have to address. Accept your faults, come back with more intent, clarity of areas you want to hit. Wicket didn’t allow you to hit the shots we wanted to. Shreyas showed how to use the crease and ride the bounce. Below par batting performance and England made us pay.”
Eoin Morgan: “A particularly good game in the bowling department, the wicket was better for us than we expected, we didn’t have to go to plan B and C very often, which is always a good sign. Within the side there’s huge competition, outside the squad, too.”
(With PTI inputs)
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