England denies India T20 series sweep; 1st win for Buttler

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NOTTINGHAM, England (AP) — England grabbed a consolation win in the third and last Twenty20 international against India with a 17-run victory at Trent Bridge on Sunday.

Jos Buttler celebrated his first win as England’s full-time white-ball captain and India was denied a series sweep despite Suryakumar Yadav’s 117 runs from 55 balls with 14 fours and six sixes.

England chose to bat first and scored 215-7, underpinned by Dawid Malan’s 77 off 39 balls, but that was overshadowed as Yadav mixed belligerence with audacity in a stunning innings before holing out in the 19th over.

India needed 21 off the last six balls but Chris Jordan sealed the win for England. Jordan took two wickets in the final three balls as India fell short on 198-9.

India won the series 2-1 following three matches in four days.

Buttler had made an inauspicious start since succeeding Eoin Morgan, and England came into this match with question marks over its T20 batting.

The consolation victory owed much to pacer Reece Topley’s 3-22 in four overs, while David Willey and Jordan collected two wickets each after England had recorded an imposing total thanks to Malan and Liam Livingstone’s 29-ball 42 not out.

In 10 previous T20 innings, Malan was without a half-century and averaging 21 with a 105 strike-rate so this was a return to form, with the left-hander crunching five sixes, three of them off Ravindra Jadeja.

Livingstone did not manage any fours but muscled four sixes as England added 129 runs in the 10 overs, against a largely second-string India bowling attack, with the tourists resting Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Jasprit Bumrah, as well as Hardik Pandya and Yuzvendra Chahal.

England decided against chasing — a tactic it mastered under Morgan — as Buttler wanted first use of a flat track with small boundaries to put pressure on India.

Buttler hit two offside fours and a six over midwicket as he used Umran Malik’s express pace against him. But the England skipper walked off for 18 after dragging Avesh Khan’s subtle cutter onto his stumps, while Jason Roy nicked off to Malik (1-56) for 27. Phil Salt (8) had his off-stump uprooted by a delivery from Harshal Patel (2-35) that dipped alarmingly.

A couple of googlies from Ravi Bishnoi (2-30) deceived Malan — top-edging high to Rishabh Pant who barely had to move — and two balls later Moeen Ali (0), skewing to backward point, but England’s charge would not be halted.

The hosts looked to be well on top as India lurched to 31-3 after five overs with the dismissals of captain Rohit Sharma (11), Pant (1) and Virat Kohli (11)

But Yadav brought a crowd made up mainly of India fans to their feet with his first six off Willey (2-40) before taking three fours in an over off Livingstone, whose two overs of spin returned figures of 0-36.

Topley and Willey halted the charge by snaring Shreyas Iyer (28 off 23) and Dinesh Karthik (6) respectively, but not before Yadav had brought up an outstanding 48-ball hundred, doing so with a deliberate edge for four. Yadav had needed just 16 balls to get from 50 to three figures.

Buttler had gambled on holding back the last over of spin and it might have backfired as Yadav flashed two fours and a six off Ali (1-31), who threw in a couple of wides as the tension grew. But Ali threw out another wider delivery, which took the toe-end of Yadav’s bat and he was caught by Salt at long-off in a key dismissal.

“We know the quality of him, he’s got shots all over the ground, maneuvering the field, playing all around the ground,” Sharma said. “It’s a very rare quality a batter can have and Surya definitely has all of that.”

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