Yuvraj calls the shots
Yuvraj Singh responded to his Test axing with an outstanding all-round display to give India victory over England at Pune in the first of two Twenty20 internationals.
The 31-year-old, who has returned to action this year after recovering from a rare form of lung cancer, was dropped for the last Test of four after the tourists’ back-to-back wins set up a 2-1 triumph.
Yuvraj’s T20 place was not in question, a fact he emphasised with three cheap and crucial wickets - including impressive opening batsman Alex Hales for a 35-ball 56 - to limit England’s mid-innings progress and eventually keep them to a moderate 157 for six.
The left-hander then top-scored for the hosts with 38 from 21 deliveries as they showed their prowess on an easy-paced pitch to earn a five-wicket win with 13 balls to spare, albeit aided by 10 wides.
He was part of a solid batting effort as India’s top six all made double figures. Only Tim Bresnan removing the openers in the fifth over seriously threatened to undermine the chase.
Yuvraj’s left-arm spin, which yielded 3-19 from four overs once Mahendra Singh Dhoni had won the toss, broke a 68-run stand between Luke Wright and Hales before snaring the latter and stand-in captain Eoin Morgan in his next over.
Those scalps severely limited England’s progress and they needed Jos Buttler’s cameo 33 not out, featuring three sixes, for late batting impetus in this evening contest in front of a noisy but far from capacity crowd.
The tourists now require victory at Mumbai on Saturday to avoid going home for Christmas on a damp note before they return for five one-day internationals in January.
Live Text Commentary
4:35pm - END OF MATCH; INDIA 158/5 AND WIN BY FIVE WICKETS! - Dhoni pulls and drives Meaker for four before skewing two over cover to seal victory with 13 balls to spare. The skipper ends on 24 with Ravindra Jadeja not facing a ball. England will need to win at Mumbai on Saturday to share this short series.
4:31pm - WICKET! Raina run out 26; Ind 148/5 - Morgan does well to dismiss Raina at the non-striker’s end after he is sent back by Dhoni. The game is still India’s for the taking though.
4:27pm - Raina pulls Bresnan for a flat six over square-leg to put the hosts on the brink of victory. At the end of the 17th over they require just 11 runs.
4:19pm - Suresh Raina’s classy cover-drive brings four amid smooth accumulation from him and Dhoni that is keeping the hosts on course for victory. They need 26 from five overs.
4:05pm - WICKET! Kohli b Meaker 21; Ind 110/4 - Meaker returns with a big wide down leg but immediately gets Kohli to play on via an attempted pull. England are still in this. The paceman extends the over with two more wides, although that allows Eoin Morgan the chance to run a stranded Mahendra Singh Dhoni out from cover-point but his throw is well wide of the striker's stumps.
4pm - As a Mexican Wave goes round the ground, Kohli lifts Wright over cover for four and at the end of the over, the 12th, India need 49 from 48 balls.
3:54pm - WICKET! Yuvraj c Meaker b Wright 38; Ind 93/3 - Yuvraj top-edges a pull off Luke Wright for six but next ball aims in the same direction off the front foot and Meaker takes a steepling catch to silence the crowd. That is a crucial breakthrough and one the tourists needed to stay in the game.
3:49pm - More economical bowling from Tredwell is undermined by Virat Kohli cutting him for four to keep India well ahead of the asking rate. They have 83 from nine overs.
3:43pm - James Tredwell, England’s other T20 debutant today besides Meaker, begins with a tight over but fellow spinner Danny Briggs is consecutively clattered for six, four and six to midwicket by Yuvraj.
3:38pm - Yuvraj Singh edges Meaker through third man for four and survives an lbw appeal as 52 come from the powerplay, one more run and wicket than at the same stage in England’s innings.
3:33pm - WICKET! Rahane c Patel b Bresnan 19; Ind 44/2 - Immediately after the first breakthrough, Meaker spills a simple chance at short fine-leg to remove Rahane, who goes later in the over at mid-on via another slow and short one from Bresnan.
3:30pm - WICKET! Gambhir c Hales b Bresnan 16; Ind 42/1 - Bresnan’s slow bouncer yields a breakthrough as Gambhir holes out to deep square-leg where Alex Hales uses his height to take a neat boundary catch.
3:25pm - Stuart Meaker’s first Twenty20 international over is a good one, costing just four to limit India’s progress.
3:20pm - Dernbach concedes four leg-byes before Rahane matches his maximum from the last over and Gambhir mimics his first four to continue India’s foreboding start to the chase.
3:17pm - Ajinkya Rahane smashes a full Tim Bresnan delivery over long-on for six and Gambhir drives him square on the off side for four. The ball is still coming on nicely for the batsmen.
3:10pm - Jade Dernbach begins the innings with two consecutive leg-side wides to the left-handed Gautam Gambhir. He sends down another before straying onto leg stump to gift Gambhir an easy four to fine-leg.
2:52pm - END OF INNINGS - ENGLAND 157/6; Buttler 33, Tredwell 1 - Buttler plays his trademark scoop over fine-leg for six and immediately clatters an Awana slower-ball down the ground and into the sightscreen for another maximum, taking the tourists past 150. An impressive cameo from the wicketkeeper-batsman, who struck no fours but three sixes.
2:45pm - WICKET! Bresnan c Kohli b Dinda 0; Eng 139/6 - Kohli moves in sharply from long-on, claiming an excellent catch to snare Tim Bresnan first ball. A fine over costs just two.
2:42pm - WICKET! Patel c Rahane b Dinda 24; Eng 138/5 - The right-hander locates long-off in a necessary show of aggression during the innings’ penultimate over.
2:38pm - Chawla and Jadeja bowl tight overs to Patel and Jos Buttler to really stifle England, who need a productive last three to set a testing total. Buttler responds by depositing an Ashwin long-hop over midwicket and into the stands. Patel follows suit from a full delivery later in the over that yields 15.
2:30pm - Samit Patel punches Yuvraj through extra-cover for the first four in five overs. Yuvraj completes an impressive allocation of 3-19 from four overs, which has pegged England back significantly.
2:23pm - WICKET! Morgan c Rahane b Yuvraj 5; Eng 100/4 - The left-hander slog-sweeps but top-edges high into the night sky only to fall into the safe hands of Ajinkya Rahane at mid-on. Yuvraj now has three wickets with his left-arm spin.
2:21pm - WICKET! Hales b Yuvraj 56; Eng 99/3 - Jadeja sends down a boundaryless over and, immediately after Eoin Morgan edges a sharp chance behind to the upstanding Mahendra Singh Dhoni, Hales aims an expansive shot only to be comprehensively bowled. It ends another impressive international innings from the youngster.
2:13pm - WICKET! Wright c Rahane b Yuvraj; Eng 89/2 - The right-hander holes out to long-off, ending a 68-run alliance that has put the tourists in a strong position.
2:10pm - Wright, who has clearly benefited from playing for the Melbourne Stars in the Big Bash, heaves Dinda for four over midwicket as England reach 89 for one at the halfway point of the innings.
2:03pm - FIFTY! Hales (26b, 7x4, 2x6) - Wright clubs Virat Kohli’s part-time seamers for a straight six to herald the fifty partnership in just 28 balls. Hales then nudges Yuvraj Singh for a single to reach a superb half-century in the ninth over.
1:57pm - Leg-spinner Piyush Chawla is into the attack and Luke Wright, who played at this ground for Pune Warriors in the Indian Premier League, dabs and then cuts two consecutive fours. Hales ends the over by mimicking Wright’s second boundary. England are flying along at 66 for one from seven overs.
1:49pm - Hales, who looks in fantastic touch, advances to the spin of Ravindra Jadeja to lift six over long-on immediately before sweeping for four. In the next over, the last of the powerplay, the right-hander takes an identical maximum off Ashwin and hits a full-toss to the point boundary to bring up England’s fifty.
1:43pm - WICKET! Lumb lbw Ashwin 1; Eng 21/1 - The left-handed Lumb tries to sweep Ashwin but misses and is hit in the line of off stump. Although he was a good way forward, that is a fair decision and - like in the Tests - there is no Decision Review System to question it.
1:38pm - Debutant Parvinder Awana immediately takes over from Dinda and, once Lumb narrowly survives being lazily run-out at the non-striker’s end, Hales drives four over extra-cover and flicks another boundary to fine-leg.
1:35pm - Despite the opening over suggesting the pitch is unusually fast for this ground, spinner Ravichandran Ashwin shares the new ball and bowls an impressive maiden to Lumb.
1:30pm - Alex Hales and Michael Lumb are at the crease, with the latter facing Ashok Dinda in the first over. Hales pulls the seamer for two consecutive fours, the former the game’s first boundary. There is a good atmosphere but the Subrata Roy Sahara Stadium is far from full.
1:20pm - Seamer Parvinder Awana is India’s only debutant, making his first appearance in any international format. He is part of an experienced team but, like England, one that was knocked out of the recent World Twenty20 at the Super-Eight stage.
1:15pm - The major news from the England selection is Jos Buttler has been preferred to Jonny Bairstow behind the stumps, meaning the former keeps wicket in an international for the first time. Stuart Meaker and James Tredwell make their T20 international debuts.
1:11pm - The India side is: Gautam Gambhir, Ajinkya Rahane, Virat Kohli, Yuvraj Singh, Suresh Raina, Mahendra Singh Dhoni (capt & wk), Ravichandran Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja, Piyush Chawla, Ashok Dinda, Parwinder Awana.
1:10pm - The England team, in likely batting order, is as follows: Alex Hales, Michael Lumb, Luke Wright, Eoin Morgan (capt), Samit Patel, Jos Buttler (wk), Tim Bresnan, James Tredwell, Stuart Meaker, Danny Briggs, Jade Dernbach.
1:05pm - INDIA WIN TOSS AND BOWL - Stand-in England captain Eoin Morgan calls incorrectly and Mahendra Singh Dhoni opts to bowl first, citing the likely evening dew that could make bowling and fielding tricky in the second innings.
1pm - Good afternoon and welcome to ecb.co.uk’s live coverage of the first of two Twenty20 internationals between India and England. Today’s game comes from Pune where the hosts will be looking to gain some revenge for their Test series defeat. News of the toss follows shortly and the action is due to begin at 1:30pm.