PV Sports Desk : Lokesh Rahul smashed 101 off 54 balls as India brought England back down to earth with an eight-wicket victory in the first of three Twenty20 cricket internationals on Tuesday.
Put into bat by India at Old Trafford, England was unable to cope with the left-arm wrist spin of Kuldeep Yadav, who took 5-24. Only Jos Buttler with 69 off 46 balls seriously troubled the tourists as England finished on 159-8.
It wasn’t enough as India reached 163-2 in 18.2 overs with Rahul and captain Virat Kohli (20) at the crease.
England swept Australia 5-0 in the recent ODI series and also won their one-off Twenty20 by 28 runs with Buttler smashing a record 22-ball 50 for the national team.
But India, as expected, proved far stronger opposition for England.
The hosts had started well with 53-1 on the board after the six-over powerplay.
Yuzvendra Chahal, who kickstarted a collapse of eight wickets for eight runs the last time he bowled against England, conceded 16 in his first over — the fourth of the innings.
Buttler recorded a remarkable seventh T20 half-century in his last eight attempts, dating back to his run of Indian Premier League form.
England moved to 100-2 in 12 overs before collapsing in the 14th over.
Jonny Bairstow and then Joe Root were both stumped for golden ducks off Kuldeep googlies as the spinner took three wickets in his third over.
England captain Eoin Morgan was his first victim, caught at midwicket on the slog-sweep, as England collapsed from 106-2 to 107-5.
“Kuldeep’s one over really turned the game for us and it was just wonderful to watch,” Kohli said.
David Willey hit 29 not out off 15 balls at the end but the total still seemed below par on a very good pitch.
Willey also provided the early breakthrough England needed, when Shikhar Dhawan dragged the left-armer on to his stumps in the first over of India’s reply.