India seal T20 series win but Gleeson shines on England debut
While no run chase appears impossible for England’s Test cricketers this summer, the same can not be said of their Twenty20 equivalents after a second collapse in the space of 48 hours meant India claimed the series with a game to spare.
Not even a golden debut for Richard Gleeson could change the script as Jos Buttler’s team were once again derailed by a fine new ball burst from Bhuvneshwar Kumar. Sunday’s third instalment at Trent Bridge is a case of trying to halt India’s charge and prevent their new captain starting off with a 3-0 clean sweep.
Gleeson, the 34-year-old Lancashire quick who has taken the scenic route to this level, could at least reflect on figures of three for 15 and a holy trinity of victims in Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli and Rishabh Pant. Along with four wickets for the in-form Chris Jordan, it helped restrict India to 170 for eight and seemingly a chaseable target.
But on a used surface, and with India’s supporters dominating the sell-out crowd by way of noise and energy, England wilted once Kumar had knocked over Jason Roy and Buttler inside his first nine deliveries. The hosts were eventually bowled out for 121 in 17 overs, with the 49-run margin another heavy loss.
India’s total owed much to Ravindra Jadeja’s unbeaten 46 from 29 balls and their overall intent, with the tourists losing wickets at regular intervals once 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 catches.
If Jordan finished with the standout figures, rolling over his form from the Rose Bowl with four for 27 and smashing out a hard length, then Gleeson was the standout story. Having grafted his way from league cricket at Blackpool to a late-blooming county career at first Northants and then Lancashire, only to see this rise recently stalled by lower back stress fractures, his 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, Gleeson found himself on a hat-trick, Kohli falling to a wild hack and Pant caught behind off the inside edge. Pant’s 15-ball 26 included a cheeky no-look whipped four off Moeen Ali but India, so quick out of the traps, were suddenly 61 for three.
Jordan 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 midwicket and Hardik Pandya slapped the following delivery to point. After a tricky 12 months, the 33-year-old 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 were 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 cut in and kissed the top of off – 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 premeditated 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 in his 21-ball 35 and Willey the same in an unbeaten 33 from 22. England were circling the drain by this stage, however, with a run-out and wickets for Pandya, Kumar and seamer Harshal Patel completing the rout.