Not even a memorable debut for Richard Gleeson could change the script for England in the second Twenty20 international as another sparkling performance from India’s bowlers wrapped up a series victory with a game to spare.
Gleeson, the 34-year-old Lancashire quick, announced his late arrival on the world stage with figures of three for 15 from four overs including a holy trinity of victims in Rohit Sharma, Rishabh Pant and Virat Kohli. Along with four wickets for Chris Jordan, it helped restrict India to 170 for eight and what appeared a chaseable target.
But on a surface used for last Thursday’s Blast quarter-final, and with India supporters dominating the sell-out crowd by way of noise, England’s batting line-up wilted after Bhuvneshwar Kumar had knocked over Jason Roy and Jos Buttler with the new ball. The hosts were bowled out for 121 in 17 overs despite a defiant 21-ball 35 from Moeen Ali and now head into a dead rubber at Trent Bridge on Sunday.
India’s total owed much to Ravindra Jadeja’s typically stylish unbeaten 46 from 29 balls and their overall intent, with the tourists losing wickets at regular intervals after Gleeson halted an ominous 49-run opening stand between Sharma and Pant in the fifth over. Roy’s drop off Sharma in the first over aside – an error that might have changed David Willey’s fortunes – England fielded smartly and held seven fine catches.
If Jordan finished with the standout figures, rolling over his form from the Ageas Bowl with four for 27, then Gleeson was the standout story. Having grafted his way from league cricket at Blackpool to a late-blooming county career at first Northamptonshire and then Lancashire, only for this rise to be stalled recently by lower back stress fractures, the 34-year-old’s first day as an England cricketer was dream-like.
First went Sharma for a 20-ball 31, superbly held by Buttler over his shoulder when Gleeson’s slippery short ball cramped the opener for room. In the follow-up over, the right-armer then found himself on a hat-trick, Kohli falling to a wild hack on one that produced a similarly swirling catch from Malan at point and Pant caught behind off the inside edge. Pant’s 15-ball 26 from opener included a cheeky no-look whipped four off Moeen but India, so quick out of the traps, were suddenly 61 for three.
Jordan then took over and continued the newcomer’s approach from the Pavilion End, smashing out a hard length and seeing catchers profit from miscued hoiks. Like Gleeson, he also found himself on a hat-trick in the 11th over when Suryakumar Yadav was held at deep mid-wicket and Hardik Pandya slapped the following delivery to point. After a tricky 12 months, Jordan’s stock is on the rise once more.
But despite some fine work in the deep by Harry Brook to run out Dinesh Karthik in the 16th over – Buttler nonchalantly whipping off the bails one-handed – and two further strikes for Jordan, Jadeja’s late salvo allowed India to chisel out a competitive total. England were a bit of a two-man attack by way of threat it must be said, with swing absent for Willey and Sam Curran, and the spin trio of Moeen, Matt Parkinson and Liam Livingstone costing 67 runs from six wicketless overs combined.
The same charge could not be levelled at India. After Kumar’s initial removals of Roy and Buttler – the former poking to slip for a duck, the latter caught behind after a tremor was detected on UltraEdge – the class of Bumrah and Yuzvendra Chahal ensured no let-up and by the halfway stage England found themselves out of the contest at 60 for six.
Livingstone could at least console himself at being mugged by a Bumrah special – the right-armer rolling his fingers over a ball that then cut in and kiss the top of off stump – but the cascade thereafter felt preventable. Brook holed out to long-on off Chahal and Dawid Malan inexplicably clothed a full toss from the leg-spinner to point with a pre-meditated reverse sweep despite being set on 19 from 25 deliveries.
After Curran fell to a Bumrah slower ball there were some flickers of defiance, first Moeen creaming a couple of sixes and Willey the same in an unbeaten 33 from 22 balls. England were circling the drain in the second half of the innings, however, with a run out and wickets for Pandya, Kumar and seamer Harshal Patel completing the rout.