AHMEDABAD, India (AP) — Jos Buttler’s unbeaten 83 upstaged Virat Kohli’s second successive half century and led England to an emphatic eight-wicket victory in the third Twenty20 against India on Tuesday.
Buttler counterpunched Kohli’s unbeaten 77 off 46 balls with a career-best unbeaten knock off 52 balls and anchored England to 158-2 with 10 balls to spare.
England leads the series 2-1 with the final two matches scheduled for Thursday and Saturday.
India, after being put into bat, rode on Kohli’s late onslaught to reach 156-6 with the Indian captain smashing his last 49 runs off 17 balls with five fours and four sixes.
The return of fit-again fast bowler Mark Wood (3-31) helped England made early inroads with India getting reduced to 24-3 inside the first six overs.
Lokesh Rahul’s miserable run continued in the series as Wood had him clean bowled for a duck. The opener has scored just one run in three games and was dismissed for zero for the second successive game on Tuesday.
Rohit Sharma (15), playing his first game in the series after being rested, could have been out for 4 but Jofra Archer missed an easy return catch off his first ball. However, Archer took a fine catch at short fine leg after Sharma miscued a pull shot off Wood.
Kohli’s late charge against fast bowlers in the last five overs saw India rattling 70 runs with Kohli hitting Wood for two successive sixes and followed it up with a sliced boundary over point against the fast bowler.
Buttler provided England a rollicking start by smashing 43 runs in the first six overs against both pace and spin challenge of Yuzvendra Chahal (1-41).
Buttler orchestrated England’s win with two solid half century stands, adding 57 runs with Dawid Malan (18) and then featuring in an unbroken 77-run partnership with Jonny Bairstow, who remained unbeaten on 40 off 28 deliveries.
Buttler used his feet well against spinners and also dominated Indian fast bowlers with his drives, hitting five fours and four sixes. Buttler provided a late chance in his otherwise dominating knock but on 76 Kohli couldn't get hold of a chance at point as Buttler attempted an uppish reverse sweep against Chahal.
The Board of Control for Cricket in India decided to organize the remaining three T20s without crowds in Ahmedabad due to rising coronavirus cases in Gujrat.
More than half of the 130,000-capacity stadium was filled with spectators in the first two matches. But the world’s largest cricket stadium will also be without spectators for the remaining two games.
More AP sports: https://apnews.com/apf-sports and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports