Bristol: After having been thoroughly outplayed in the opening Twenty20 International, England staged an excellent comeback in their second outing at Cardiff, winning by five wickets to level the three-match T20I series 1-1.
Kuldeep Yadav had stunned the England middle-order at Old Trafford. The English attack was then made to look feeble against the mastery of KL Rahul. But England rose to the challenge at Cardiff.
Their bowlers bowled to a plan; their fielders had an excellent day; and when they chased, though the Indian bowlers ensured their side stayed in the game, Alex Hales made sure there were no last-over hiccups, helping them England the series.
Yuzvendra Chahal bowled intelligently in both matches, though he still does not have one of those outstanding spells to his name. Kuldeep, handled well by Hales at Cardiff, will want to get his revenge.
For England -- Jason Roy, Jos Buttler, and Alex Hales have all looked good at various points of time. Eoin Morgan and Jonny Bairstow played neat cameos at Cardiff. The axe may fall on Joe Root.
On the other hand, the fast bowlers — Liam Plunkett, David Willey, and Chris Jordan — have all bowled intelligently and tightly. Jake Ball was taken apart in the last over by Dhoni, but Stokes will play as a specialist batsman.
England may consider picking Moeen Ali instead of Ball on the small Bristol ground. At number eight, Willey is certainly batting a couple of slots higher than he should.
England: Eoin Morgan (Capt.), Moeen Ali, Jonny Bairstow, Jake Ball, Jos Buttler (wk), Sam Curran, Alex Hales, Chris Jordan, Liam Plunkett, Adil Rashid, Joe Root, Jason Roy, David Willey, Ben Stokes.
India: Virat Kohli (Capt.), Yuzvendra Chahal, Deepak Chahar, Shikhar Dhawan, MS Dhoni (wk), Dinesh Karthik, Siddarth Kaul, Kuldeep Yadav, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Manish Pandey, Hardik Pandya, Krunal Pandya, KL Rahul, Suresh Raina, Rohit Sharma, Umesh Yadav
Pitch and conditions
The surface is likely to be better for strokeplay first up and teams might want to bat first. The temperature in Bristol is again expected to be hot.
Stats and trivia
14 runs needed by Rohit Sharma (1,981) to reach the 2,000-run mark.
13 runs needed by MS Dhoni (1,487) to reach the 1,500-mark.
28 runs needed by Shikhar Dhawan (972) to reach the 1,000-run mark.
1 catch needed by Dhoni to reach the 50-catch mark as wicketkeeper. Nobody else has even 35. Denesh Ramdin has 34 while Quinton de Kock has 30.
Sunday July 8, 2018
Start time 14:00 local (13:00 GMT)