England suffered a chastening seven-wicket defeat by a resurgent India in the second Twenty20 in Ahmedabad.
After overpowering the hosts in the series opener, England put in a timid performance on a slow pitch.
Asked to bat first, they were gradually stifled after Jason Roy was dismissed for 46, their 164-6 nothing better than par.
It was put into context by a swashbuckling 32-ball 56 on debut by Ishan Kishan, who survived giving a simple chance to Ben Stokes at long-on on 40 – a mistake that typified England’s sloppy display.
Kishan added 94 with India captain Virat Kohli, whose unbeaten 73 off 49 balls also included an escape when he gave a tough chance down the leg side to wicketkeeper Jos Buttler on 10.
The composed Kohli pulled a six to take India to their target with 13 balls to spare, levelling the series before Tuesday’s third match at the same venue.
India fightback adds intrigue
A five-match series between the two best sides in the world seven months out from a T20 World Cup in India is increasing in intrigue, not least because of the reversal of roles from England’s opening eight-wicket win.
Facing the challenges India failed to meet in the first game – batting first, the tricky surface, bowling second with a ball made damp by the dew – England put in a performance as poor as their Friday showing was excellent.
The tourists were hampered by the absence of Mark Wood, who was ruled out with a bruised heel, and the pace bowlers that were so dangerous two nights ago were largely ineffective.
India were not faultless – some better fielding would have made their pursuit even easier – but the bowling at the end of England’s innings was outstanding before Kishan ignited the pursuit.
Rejuvenated, the hosts – in particular master run-chaser Kohli – delighted a raucous crowd of more than 66,000 inside the world’s largest cricket stadium.
Sub-par England well beaten
Although England lost Buttler for a golden duck in the first over, a second-wicket partnership of 63 between Roy and Dawid Malan gave them a solid platform.
Roy’s swishing and swiping gave clues to the difficult batting conditions and, after he miscued off-spinner Washington Sundar to be caught at deep square leg, England stalled.
Only two boundaries and 35 runs came from the final five overs. Pace bowlers Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Shardul Thakur and Hardik Pandya bowled almost exclusively slower balls, with Pandya’s return of 0-33 particularly important because the all-rounder was required to deliver a full complement of four overs given the altered balance of the side.
Kishan – making his debut alongside fellow batsman Suryakumar Yadav in place of opener Shikhar Dhawan and spinner Axar Patel respectively – instantly impressed, making light of KL Rahul falling to Sam Curran in the first over of the chase.
Left-hander Kishan targeted the leg side, punishing Chris Jordan, Tom Curran and Stokes, who were all expensive.
His assault allowed Kohli to play the anchor and, although Kishan was lbw reverse-sweeping Adil Rashid, Rishabh Pant picked up the mantle with a thrilling 26 from only 13 balls.
Kohli survived a marginal stumping appeal off Rashid on 54 in scenes reminiscent of England’s frustration with the third umpire from the Test series, but, by then, India were well on course for victory.
‘We ticked all the boxes’ – what they said
England captain Eoin Morgan: “Today was a different challenge to the first game. We want to learn as much as possible from tonight. I’m glad we played on this kind of wicket but I’m disappointed with the way we played.
“At the halfway stage we were probably in or around par. Full credit to India with the way they bowled. With the batting they put us on the back foot straight away.
“Woody feels better today so hopefully he’ll be OK for the third game.”
India captain Viart Kohli: “We ticked all the boxes that we wanted to, especially with the ball. I’m very, very happy with our bowing effort, and with the bat it was a convincing finish.
“England is a quality side – you need to play at your best to beat them. You have to be precise, be professional and finish the job, and that’s what we did tonight.
“Ishan changed the game completely. He totally took the game away from the opposition – a quality innings on debut. He is a fearless character. He should continue to back his instincts. He knew he was hitting the ball well, but he was calculated – he wasn’t reckless.”
Man of the match Ishan Kishan: “I got a good start and I just wanted to finish the game. I was looking all over the ground and I was feeling so happy that finally, I am here and it is time to show my game now. I wanted to prove myself.”
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