Bristol (UK): Opening batsman Jason Roy rained sixes in his blistering innings of 67 off just 31 balls but India made a superb fightback on the back of Hardik Pandya's four-wicket haul to restrict England to 198 for nine in the third and final T20 International here today.
Sent into bat, Roy and his opening partner Jos Buttler (34 runs of 21 balls) shared 94 runs from 7.5 overs to make a flying start in their innings as the duo dealt in fours and sixes initially.
England would have posted a much bigger total but for the comeback by the Indian bowlers led by Hardik Pandya who took 4/38.
During the England innings, Indian wicketkeeper Mahendra Singh Dhoni also became the first wicket keeper to complete 50 catches in T20Is by taking five catches.
Roy and Buttler used the short boundaries to great effect and brought up England's 50 off just 27 balls.
Some poor bowling from Indian pacers, who either sprayed the ball or bowled too short, helped England in making a bright start. The visitors also did not feel too well in the powerplay overs and England made merry under the sun as they had hit eight fours and two sixes within the first five overs.
The first chance came in the seventh over but Kaul could not only get his fingers to it, running in from mid-wicket. Buttler was on 20 then with Chahal the bowler.
Roy, on the other hand, reached his third T20I half-century off only 23 balls, inclusive of four fours and five sixes.
The breakthrough came just as India were starting to wonder where to bowl to the opening duo. Kaul (2/35) bowled a quicker, fuller delivery and Buttler missed as he was bowled.
Two overs later, after England crossed 100 in the 10th over, Roy departed against the run of play. He tried to play late down to third man, but only ended up edging behind to Mahendra Singh Dhoni with Deepak Chahar (1/43) picking his maiden international wicket.
Pandya bowled poorly in his first spell, against the field set by his captain as he was taken for two fours and two sixes, but returned later to impact the English middle order.
In the 14th over, Chahal missed a chance to dismiss Eoin Morgan (then on 4), failing to latch onto a high catch at cover only to end up banging his head on the ground. He went off for some treatment but Morgan did India a favour with another skier off the very next ball.
Dhoni completed the catch this time around, albeit he ran over the stumps. Pandya was not done yet, as he had Alex Hales (30) caught behind too, who tried to deflect the ball towards third man.
That over dented England's momentum as did Chahal whose spell of 0/30 from four overs posed a question as to why Kuldeep was left out of the playing eleven. The green-top did not pose any challenge for the batsmen as England recovered thanks to a 37-run partnership between Ben Stokes (14) and Jonny Bairstow (25 off 14 balls).
England had lost four wickets for 46 before this partnership set in, with Bairstow, the aggressor, hitting two fours and two sixes. There was another mini collapse thereafter, as the hosts lost five wickets for 21 runs in the last 14 balls to finish below the 200-run mark.
Pandya was the standout bowler in the innings after a poor start, and Umesh as well as Kaul complemented him towards the death, with Dhoni taking five catches a day after his 37th birthday on Sunday. (PTI)