Yesterday the third of five T20Is between India and England took place in Ahmedabad. The first part of this post gives an account of proceedings in that match, and then I have a couple of bonus features as well as my usual sign off.
For England Mark Wood was fit again and came back into the side in place of Tom Curran, and that was the only change. For India Rohit Sharma returned to the ranks and Suryakumar Yadav who had not even batted on his debut was benched to make way for him. England won the toss, and with the series 1-1 and both matches won by chasing sides, chose to bowl first, the correct decision (although if he wins the toss tomorrow he should gamble and bat first as there as World T20 Cup coming up in India and England will probably need to win at least one match batting first to lift that trophy).
THE INDIAN INNINGS
England bowled magnificently in the Power Play overs, restricting India to 24-3 from the first six overs of their innings. After 15 overs India were 87-5, but they then had what would prove to be their only good period of the match, plundering 69 off the final five overs of their innings to post 156-6 from their 20 overs. Half of this total came off the bat of Virat Kohli. Mark Wood, at his best, had 3-31 from his four overs, and 16 of those runs were hit off the third, fourth and fifth balls of his final over. Every other bowler contributed to a fine team effort, with Rashid being wicketless but bowling his full four overs for 26 runs.
THE ENGLAND RESPONSE
Roy fell cheaply after successive good scores in the first two matches, but Buttler underlined his status as England’s finest white ball batter, looking in complete command right from the start of his innings. Malan got a start, but on this occasion did not turn it into anything big, though he still managed to contribute to a fifty partnership. Bairstow, a superb white ball batter, joined Buttler, and these two players were still together when the match was won in the 18th of 20 overs, Buttler 83 not out off 54 and Bairstow 40 not out off 26 balls. None of the Indian bowlers looked terribly threatening, and Yuzvendra Chahal, their chosen leg spinner, looked leagues below Adil Rashid. Washington Sundar is an economical off spinner, but what India desperately needed and could not get were wickets. A total of 180 might have been defendable by keeping things as tight as possible, but 156 was never. likely to be defended unless India got wickets, and a lot of them. Buttler, who had also done well with the gloves, was the only conceivable candidate for Player of the Match.
THE REMAINING FIXTURES
Although some people either through mischief or through idiocy were questioning Malan’s place in the England side based on two comparative failures the truth is that there are only two changes at present that would make any real sense, and I would be disinclined to make either while the series remains live: Moeen Ali to replace either Sam Curran or Chris Jordan, giving an extra spin option, and/or Liam Livingstone to replace Stokes as no5 batter and sixth bowling option (he can spin the ball both ways, although he is not a regular bowler).
For India things are more complicated – their top order batting has struggled in this series, with fatally poor starts in the first and third matches and an indifferent one in the second, and the bowling attack as currently constituted is simply not good enough. He did not fare too badly this time, but for me if he is going to be worth his place Hardik Pandya needs to be batting in the top half of the order and being India’s sixth bowler, not their fifth. I do not see how Chahal can retain his place – he is leaking runs consistently and rarely threatens to take wickets. The obvious struggling batter is KL Rahul, with one run in his last four innings (note to Malan bashers – that IS the sort of form on which you can talk about dropping a highly ranked batter.
The Green Party candidate in the London Mayoral election, Sian Berry (please, Londoners, do the right things this time and elect her) has proposed the creation of a ‘habitat crime unit’ which would tackle habitat and ecological crimes in the capital. I think this is an excellent idea. You can read full details of it by clicking here.
The London Parklet campaign today tweeted out a superb graphic created by Emma Paxton on redesigning cities to be greener. You can see the tweet by clicking here, and I present a screenshot of the graphic below:
A MATHEMATICAL TEASER
I have not presented one of these for a while, but I enjoyed solving this one this morning:
Now it is time for my usual sign off, including my first blue tit of 2021…