Chinaman Kuldeep Yadav once again cast a spell on the England batsmen with his mesmerizing wrist spinners as his career-best 6 for 25 restricted the hosts to a moderate 268 in the first ODI, here today.
Once Virat Kohli opted to field, the English script unfolded very much on similar lines with the T20 series, where things went downhill as soon as Kuldeep was introduced into the attack.
None of the England batsmen were able to read him and a testimony to that was his brilliant figures of 10-0-25-6. He bowled an astounding 38 dot balls and not once was he hit for a boundary. This was Kuldeep’s first five-for in ODIs after he had recently achieved the same feat in T20Is during the Manchester encounter.
As usual Jos Buttler (53 off 51 balls) looked the most comfirtable while Ben Stokes (50 off 103 balls) played a painstaking knock. Together, they added 83 for the fifth wicket showing signs of recovery but he dismissed the two set batsmen in quick succession to bring about the home team’s downfall.
Moeen Ali (24) and Adil Rashid (22) added a few quick runs ro help England cross the 250-run mark before they were all out in the final over with a delivery left.
That Kuldeep was singularly responsible for England’s batting collapse was evident more so because the next best figures were 2 for 70 in 9.5 overs by Umesh Yadav.
Even Kuldeep’s spin twin Yuzvendra Chahal (1/51 in 10 overs) was not exactly economical.
The match started with both Jason Roy (38) and Jonny Bairstow (38) launching into Yadav and debutant Siddarth Kaul (0/62 in 10 overs) with a flurry of boundaries.
They added 73 for the opening stand before a wrong execution of reverse sweep brought about Roy’s downfall.
Kuldeep was not afraid to flight the ball and dipped viciously having the batsmen in two minds. Some played with the turn and some tried against the turn — both with dismal outcomes.
At the start of the 13th over, Joe Root (3) was completely befuddled by a ripping leg break and was trapped lbw. Four balls later, Bairstow was trapped lbw via DRS, failing to read the googly.
England had collapsed to 82 for 3, losing three wickets for nine runs in the space of 16 balls. Soon, it became 105-4 as Chahal got into the mix of things with Eoin Morgan (19) caught at cover.
This brought Stokes and Buttler together at the crease, and they put on 93 runs for the fifth wicket. Losing too many wickets meant that they had to take time and rebuild the innings, with Stokes in particular scoring at a very low strike-rate.
Buttler though continued his rich vein of form and smacked his 18th ODI half-century off 45 balls. In doing so, he put on 50 off 59 balls with Stokes, yet it was only a part-recovery for England.
Throughout his innings, Buttler batted with most ease against both pace and spin, and hit five boundaries in all. It appeared as if he was preparing for an assault in the death overs, but Kuldeep sucked out any momentum that he had built.
Buttler was caught behind down leg side off the left-arm wrist spinner in the 39th over as England were just short of the 200-mark.
It made a huge impact on the run-rate as only 16 runs came in the next five overs, blowing away any hopes the hosts had of reaching 280-300.
Stokes too completed his 12th ODI half-century in the interim, off 102 balls, but it was only an anchoring knock.
Kuldeep wasn’t finished yet though. In the 45th over, Kaul held a brilliant diving catch at short third-man to reward him with a maiden five-wicket haul. Then, five balls later, David Willey (1) also holed out.
Moeen swung his bat around, as England managed to cross 250 in the penultimate over.