Jos Buttler got off to a rocky start to life as England captain in limited overs after falling in love with a golden duck in his side’s humiliating 50-run loss to India in the first of three Twenty20s.
Tasked with continuing England’s cue-ball success following Eoin Morgan’s international retirement, Buttler started with a knock to the leg stump early in India’s 198-for-eight reply.
England reeled to 33 from four before finally relenting to a dismal 148 total from 19.3 overs, with the excellent Hardik Pandya following up his 51 from 33 delivery with four from 33 in the Ageas Bowl.
There were cameos from Rohit Sharma (24 of 14), Deepak Hooda (33 of 17) and Suryakumar Yadav (39 of 19) in the India innings, with the two from Chris Jordan of 23 contributing greatly to keeping the score down. of 200.
Jordan had a modest winter and struggled particularly with death, but this was an impressive performance on a night in which England used seven bowlers, with Moeen Ali taking two wickets but leaking 26 in his two overs while teammate Matt Parkinson and the fast left arm Tymal Mills was also expensive.
Total were always likely to challenge England, without Ben Stokes and Jonny Bairstow due to their Test commitments, and they were dealt a serious blow when Buttler was eliminated in the first over.
Bhuvneshwar Kumar had bothered Jason Roy with shipments zipping over the outside edge, but then showed his immense ability to bring one back through the Buttler gate, the ball hitting the bag before turning on the stringers to leave the hosts demonstrably on the front foot.
It was a display in Kumar and Arshdeep Singh’s swing bowling from the start, but it was Pandya who struck the decisive blow, flicking past Dawid Malan as he sliced before Liam Livingstone’s paddle attempt four balls later simply hit the rim and was taken by Dinesh Karthik. .
Jason Roy made just four of 16 balls and his stay ended after Pandya took a wild cut deep. Harry Brook and Moeen, in his 50th T20 for England, were eliminated in the teens and put at 61 with the latter particularly forceful when he cleared the rope of Yuzvendra Chahal and Axar Patel.
Any hope of resurrecting an England win was extinguished as Chahal took out both set batsmen, with Brook caught at midwicket for 28 while Moeen moved on, moving down the pitch, and was stumped by Karthik.
The hosts continued to battle, and Jordan continued his breakout night with 26 of 17 balls, before coming out of his misery with three balls remaining.
England are still basking in the afterglow of their four Test wins under Brendon McCullum and Stokes, but it was India who seemed to follow the ‘Bazball’ approach after winning the toss on a warm summer afternoon, attacking relentlessly despite a flow constant. of windows falling.
Rohit missed India’s Test loss after testing positive for Covid-19, but made up for lost time as he bristled with intent with five fours from 13 balls. But the gamble of resorting to Moeen’s spin in the third over paid off when Rohit sliced, undone by a quicker delivery and a bit of deflection.
Moeen couldn’t stop Hooda from uncorking a pair of sixes in a row, while Yadav got going with a hard sweep to bring India’s 50 after five overs. The pair continued to put pressure on England, but Jordan proved to be a calming influence and eliminated both batsmen.
Hooda was fooled by a slower 69mph ball and could only help the ball cut into the fine leg, while a rough one from a goalkeeper clipped Yadav’s glove and the ‘not out’ decision was overturned in the revision.
England could have seen the back of the busy Hardik when he charged at Parkinson and missed a full blood cut, but Buttler was thrown off by a tickle on the bag and was unable to complete the strike. Hardik kept going, artfully drilling holes in the field to generate a 30-ball fifty.
He eventually died after flying before Jordan conceded just five in his penultimate over, finally stopping India’s charge. Although they couldn’t get 200, it turned out to be more than enough.