Bristol the battleground as England, India fight for series
With the series locked 1-1, both India and England will be keen to take first honours before the ODIs and Tests get under way.
England v India
County Ground, Bristol
Sunday 8 July, 13:00 GMT, 14:00 local
After having been thoroughly outplayed in the opening Twenty20 International, England staged an excellent comeback in their second outing at Cardiff, winning by five wickets to level the three-match T20I series 1-1.
The comeback was not all surprising considering England's white-ball prowess. On a surface that had a tinge of grass that aided bounce and movement, the English bowlers restricted India to 148/5. Then, powered by Alex Hales' 41-ball 58* the hosts cantered to a win with two balls to spare. They will be hoping to continue with more of the same come the final game at Count y Ground in Bristol on Sunday.
A marked improvement from the loss in Manchester was the way in which the hosts tackled the Indian spin twins. Having being blown away by Kuldeep Yadav's five-for in the first T20I, England came out with a plan and to a large extent were able to nullify the spinners.
While Yuzvendra Chahal conceded 28 runs in his four overs picking up the wicket of Joe Root, Kuldeep went wicketless in his four overs and was taken for 34 runs. Hales and Jonny Bairstow looked most at ease against the spinners and will take a lot of confidence going into the final game.
With the ball, England were clinical all along. They picked up three wickets inside the Powerplay and kept a tab on the scoring all along. Getting Jake Ball in place of Moeen Ali also paid dividends with the lanky seamer troubling the Indians with pace and bounce. David Willey swung the ball early on and Chris Jordan got his yorkers on point in the death overs. The last over by Ball went for 22 runs, something that might have irked the England skipper.
Ben Stokes is set for a return from injury, but it isn't clear who will have to make way. Root's form might be a matter of concern, though. Twice he has failed to pick the wrong'un: he was stumped against Kuldeep in the first game while at Cardiff he was castled by Chahal. However, it is unlikely he will be dropped.
For India, after the high of the opening game, a loss at Cardiff would have come as a timely reminder. Rohit Sharma and Shikhar Dhawan have failed to get going in both outings, while KL Rahul also wasn't able repl icate his Manchester heroics. Virat Kohli (47), Suresh Raina (27) and Mahendra Singh Dhoni (32*) did get some quality time in the middle but the fall of wickets hampered the scoring all through.
The bowling defending 148 was top-notch though. Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Umesh Yadav had the England batsmen hopping around right from the start and were duly rewarded. Hardik Pandya backed them well, as did Chahal and Kuldeep on a surface that wasn't offering them much assistance.
Kohli will be hoping his side come up with a collective effort with the series up for grabs.
Alex Hales (England): Having had a tough time in the first game where he scored 8 in 18 balls, the hard-hitting Englishman came back with a match-winning half-century in the second game. He admitted having "had to look at a bit more footage of the spinners" after the first game and that seems to have paid off. He looked assured against both Kuldeep and Chahal.
Rohit Sharma (India): The Indian opener hasn't had the best of starts to his England tour falling for 32 and 5 in the two outings so far. However, he is too good a player to keep missing out consistently and is due for a big one. The Indians will be hoping he comes good in the final T20I.
The temperature in Bristol is again expected to be in the higher 20s with the sun baking down. Being a 2:00pm start, the surface is likely to be better for strokeplay first up and teams might want to bat first. This is just the third T20I to be staged at this venue with England losing both the encounters.
England: Eoin Morgan (c), Moeen Ali, Jonny Bairstow, Jake Ball, Jos Buttler (wk), Sam Curran, Alex Hales, Chris Jordan, Liam Plunkett, Adil Rashid, Joe Root, Jason Roy, David Willey, Ben Stokes.
India: Virat Kohli (c), Yuzvendra Chahal, Deepak Chahar, Shikhar Dhawan, MS Dhoni (wk), Dinesh Karthik, Siddarth Kaul, Kuldeep Yadav, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Manish Pandey, Hardik Pandya, Krunal Pandya, KL Rahul, Suresh Raina, Rohit Sharma, Umesh Yadav