England showed their resilient side on Tuesday as they bounced back from Sunday’s defeat in the second T20 international to win the third match of the series in Ahmedabad by a convincing margin.
Eoin Morgan’s side won by eight wickets with 10 balls to spare, chasing India’s 156 for 6 with a huge batting effort helping them continuing the trend of chasing teams winning every game of the series so far. Jos Buttler’s stunning 83 not out in 52 balls and Jonny Bairstow’s finishing knock of 40 not out off 28 saw them over the line at an empty Narendra Modi Stadium.
After crowds had been allowed into the first two games of the series, a spike in Covid-19 cases locally led to authorities decreeing that the remaining three matches take place behind closed doors, but that didn’t stop India captain Virat Kohli entertaining with the bat.
Kohli smacked 77 not out in 46 balls to lead India’s rally after they had fallen to 24 for 3, although he was at fault when the well set Rishabh Pant was run out by Sam Curran for 25 just as the home side were beginning to accelerate towards a challenging total.
Mark Wood’s 3 for 31 took the headlines with the ball for England, while Adil Rashid was again controlled in his 0 for 26.
England’s response was fairly emphatic, with Buttler always keeping the tourists ahead of the rate. He lost opening partner Jason Roy for just nine with the score on 23 but then launched a huge counter-attack as Shardul Thakur and Yuzvendra Chahal were both sent around the ground with ease.
Dawid Malan lent him some support with 18 from 17 before being stumped by Pant off Washington Sundar, but Bairstow came in and took Buttler’s lead with a thrilling quick 40 in England’s 158 for 2.
“Such a long batting lineup makes a huge difference in the game,” said skipper Morgan afterwards, insisting that while winning the toss and fielding first makes it his batters did the hard work out in the middle.
For Buttler it was a great return to form after a first-ball duck in the second T20, and he admitted after collecting the Man of the Match award: “Taking wickets in the powerplay really sets you up, then when managed to get some partnerships together to see us over the line. That first six off Chahal really got me up and running and gave me confidence to really take the game on even more.”
England now need to win just one of the remaining two matches to clinch the series, with the fourth ODI coming up on Thursday.