Richard Gleeson debut heroics in vain as India thrash England to seal T20 series
India moved into an unassailable lead in their Twenty20 series against England, who produced another feeble batting display after Richard Gleeson made a spectacular start to his international career.
Aged 34, Gleeson became the oldest England debutant since Paul Nixon in 2007 and snared the princely wickets of India captain Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli and Rishabh Pant to finish with three for 15.
Chris Jordan collected four for 27 but India’s 170 for eight was sufficient to claim a 49-run win at Edgbaston and with it a 2-0 series lead with one to play on Sunday as England’s batters capitulated.
Having limped to 33 for four before being dismissed for 148 in the series opener at the Ageas Bowl, England slumped to 27 for three before crumbling to 121 all out after 17 overs.
Bhuvneshwar Kumar nipped out Jason Roy with the first ball of the reply and then dismissed Jos Buttler cheaply for the second match in a row, while the returning Jasprit Bumrah outfoxed Liam Livingstone with a slower ball.
England were unable to recover despite Moeen Ali’s counter-attacking 35 off 20 balls as as they slipped to a fifth loss in a row in this format when chasing, which Buttler chose to do after winning the toss.
India brought back Kohli, Pant, Bumrah and Ravindra Jadeja, all of whom missed the 50-run triumph at Southampton because of their Test commitments, when England chased down a record 378 for a famous win.
But it was the inclusion of Gleeson – replacing Tymal Mills, with David Willey coming in for Reece Topley – who initially made the biggest splash.
It was not so long ago Gleeson was on the brink of retirement due to a stress fracture in his back but he owed his call-up to a terrific season in the Vitality Blast for Lancashire, juggling his playing duties with a teaching job, and he led the fightback after Rohit and Pant had started strongly.
Reinforcing the idea that India sought to attack in the powerplay was Pant, and not Kohli, striding out to open alongside Rohit, who seemed primed to capitalise after Roy grassed a low chance. Willey was the unfortunate bowler and he had the indignity of being pulled and then driven into the stands by Rohit.
With Pant picking up where he left off in the Test, mixing power with innovation, including a straight six off Moeen followed by a whipped pull for four, India looked in the boxseat but Gleeson made the breakthrough with his fifth ball in international cricket, hurrying Rohit on the pull.
A top-edge looped gently for Buttler to take a diving catch behind him while better was to follow for Gleeson, whose seventh and eighth balls accounted for Kohli and Pant. Kohli looked to hit straight but skewed to Dawid Malan running back from backward point while a charging Pant thinly inside edged to Buttler.
A position of 49 without loss became 61 for three and while Suryakumar Yadav and Hardik Pandya consolidated and milked leg-spinner Matt Parkinson, they perished off successive Jordan deliveries, the former miscuing into the legside and the latter slapping to backward point.
Jordan dismissed Harshal Patel and Bhuvneshwar for his best T20 international figures since March 2019 but Jadeja, who registered his first overseas century here last week, pierced gaps in the field in his unbeaten 46 in 29 balls to swell India’s total.
Momentum swung in their favour at the outset of the chase when Bhuvneshwar first induced Roy’s outside edge before getting Buttler on review in his next over. Buttler appeared sheepish despite the not out decision but India queried the verdict and the technology detected a thin spike.
Livingstone dispatched Bhuvneshwar for fours either side of the wicket from his first two balls but was castled between bat and pad, with Bumrah’s clever off-cutter seeing the back of the all-rounder.
England’s hopes dwindled dramatically from that point, with Harry Brook clothing to long-on while Malan, up until that point a reassuring presence at the crease, reverse sweeping a full toss to backward point.
Moeen cleared the leg-side boundary off both Jadeja and Pandya, who had instant revenge when the batter mishit to mid-off. Willey made an unbeaten 33 to help England reach three figures but Bhuvneshwar returned to the attack to pick up the wicket of Gleeson and finish with three for 15 of his own.
Patel got in the wickets column by cleaning up Parkinson to put the hosts out of their misery, leaving Buttler facing up to back-to-back defeats at the beginning of his reign as England’s full-time white-ball captain.