England have food for thought as India win

The Northern Echo: TOP SCORER: Alex Hales scored 56 to get England off to a decent start in Pune TOP SCORER: Alex Hales scored 56 to get England off to a decent start in Pune

ENGLAND know exactly where they went wrong, and how to put it right, after India took a small measure of revenge for their Test series defeat with last night’s Twenty20 win over the tourists.

Alex Hales’ blistering 56 at the top of the order got England off to a fine start, after being put in under lights at the Subrata Roy Sahara Stadium.

But Yuvraj Singh (three for 19) then got him, Luke Wright and England captain Eoin Morgan out in the space of two overs – and a resulting total of 157 for six never seemed likely to be enough on a good batting pitch.

The tourists needed to bowl especially well to make a match of it, but did not – and after their seamers were guilty of sending down 10 wides between them, they lost by five wickets.

Morgan reflected on the costly mid-innings stutter, repaired partially by Jos Buttler’s career-best 33 not out, and then England’s lack of discipline with the ball.

‘‘We got off to a fantastic start – Alex and Luke really came together as a pair – but from there we didn’t really kick on,’’ said the Irishman.

‘‘We lost wickets continually, which halted our momentum and didn’t do us any favours.

‘‘The total we did creep up to was probably about 10 or 15 short of par.

‘‘We said at the halfway stage we would have to do things exceptionally well to win this game, because the wicket did play so well, and we just lacked a bit of discipline really.’’ Morgan was one of four batsmen to be caught at either long-on or long-off, and admitted afterwards they had perhaps got a little too greedy too soon in trying to clear the ropes.

‘‘A small bit, but if I had knocked it over his head it would have been a great shot – and things would have kicked on from there,’’ he said.

‘‘That’s the way I play and it’s the way I’ll continue to play.

‘‘But again, losing wickets in Twenty20 cricket doesn’t help – and batting first, you never know how much enough is because you play on a small ground on a good wicket.

‘‘We were a bit naive in the fact we didn’t compensate for the wickets and again didn’t set it up for the finish - and we proved, with Jos coming in at the end, we could have got 20 more.

‘‘Yes, it was a miscalculation – and again we’ll learn from this.

‘‘I’ll continue to encourage the guys to play positively and again build partnerships and continue momentum if the wicket is good.

“But we lost wickets at the wrong times.’’ Yuvraj added a top-score of 38 to his telling wickets, demonstrating again why he is such a dangerous limitedovers cricketer.

‘‘He’s a very clean striker of a cricket ball, and again always has that danger factor,’’ added Morgan.

‘‘He can clear the ropes and he did that – he had one over when he went berserk.’’ The England captain is still scratching his head nonetheless as to how Yuvraj also takes so many wickets with his second-string slow leftarm.

‘‘I’ve got no idea really. But all credit to him; he bowled well. He does a great job, and has done for years.’’ Yuvraj himself, once famously described as a ‘‘piechucker’’ by Kevin Pietersen, admits he too is at a loss to explain how come his bowling outfoxes so many batsmen.

‘‘Even I’m not sure how I get so many wickets. I just try to do my best.

“ I thought initially we were bowling faster, and it was easier for the batsmen to hit the ball.

‘‘I just felt bowling slower helped, and that’s where I think we gathered momentum by taking those three wickets.’’ India’s victory in the first of two Twenty20s in three days is small compensation for their shock Test defeat.

But after losing in England and then at home in Tests, but whitewashing the same opponents in a one-day international series just over a year ago, Yuvraj is hoping the latest success may prove significant.

‘‘It is important – because losing in England 4- 0 and in India 2-1 is quite shattering.

‘‘But in one-day cricket, we won 5-0 in the last series – and I hope we can carry on this momentum.’’

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