England v India, World T20 2012, Group A, Colombo September 23, 2012

Sharma and spinners destroy England


India 170 for 4 (Sharma 55*) beat England 80 (Harbhajan 4-12, Chawla 2-13) by 90 runs
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details

The result may not have great significance in this World Twenty20 but India could take heart, confidence and bragging rights after an overwhelming victory over England in their Group A game in Colombo. England's confidence, meanwhile, must have been crushed after a defeat that can only be described as humiliating.

Both teams had already qualified for the Super Eight stage of the tournament and this result made no difference to the opposition they will face in those games. But, by inflicting such a resounding defeat on the reigning champions and No. 1-rated T20I side, India underlined the impression they have the personnel to challenge anyone in this competition.

India, despite resting three members of their first choice side, won by 90 runs with England's enduring fallibility against spin bowling exposed in brutal fashion once again. Bear in mind that these two teams face each other in a four-Test series in India in the coming months and alarm bells will surely be ringing at Lord's.

England's first error was to misread the pitch. While India included two specialist spinners, England dropped Samit Patel to make way for the extra seam option of Tim Bresnan. Their ploy of testing the India batsmen with short deliveries was met with a series of cut and pulls that suggested either that England's bowlers - Steven Finn apart - lack the pace for such a ploy, or that, in these conditions anyway, the reputation of Indian batsmen as flat-track bullies has been greatly exaggerated. The truth probably lies somewhere between the two conclusions.

But the defining feature of this match was England's inability to combat spin bowling. India's two frontline spinners claimed six wickets for 25 runs in eight overs as England collapsed from 39 for 2 to 60 for 9. At that stage, England were in danger of being dismissed for the lowest T20I score - beating the 67 by Kenya against Ireland - before a last-wicket stand of 20 prevented that one indignity. Still, England's final total of 80 was their lowest in T20Is, surpassing the 88 they managed against West Indies at The Oval in 2011. The margin of defeat is also the largest, in terms of runs, England have suffered in T20Is and the largest victory inflicted by India.

England were struggling even before the introduction of spin. Set 171 to win, a total some way above par on a pitch that was just a little slower than anticipated and did not allow England any time to settle in, they lost Alex Hales in the first over, bowled by inswing as he attempted to heave one over the leg side, before Luke Wright fell in the third over, attempting to pull a delivery too full for the stroke.

It was MS Dhoni's decision to introduce the spin of Harbhajan Singh in the Powerplay that precipitated England's decline. Harbhajan, playing his first international game for more than a year, produced a wicket maiden to start - Eoin Morgan was bowled by a quicker arm-ball as he made room to cut - before Bresnan top-edged a sweep, Jos Buttler gave himself room but missed and Graeme Swann skipped down the wicket and missed a doosra. Harbhajan finished with 4 for 12, the best figures by an Indian bowler in T20Is.

Piyush Chawla also enjoyed England's clueless batting. Jonny Bairstow, reading the googly as if it were in Greek, missed a slog-sweep, while Craig Kieswetter, his foot nowhere near the pitch of the ball, was undone by a legbreak and edged to slip. It was, by any standards, a dreadful performance with the bat.

Earlier Rohit Sharma helped India plunder 51 from the final four overs of the innings after it appeared they had squandered a decent start. Sharma, who has endured some miserable form in recent times, produced a powerful innings of 55 in 33 balls to lead India to 170 for 4 in their 20 overs.

While a partnership of 57 in 7.5 overs between Virat Kohli and Gautam Gambhir had built India a strong platform of 80 for 1 after 10 overs, a tight spell of bowling from Swann arrested their progress. Kohli, in particular, looked in sparkling form. He got off the mark with consecutive boundaries through the covers: the first a gorgeous, front-foot drive off Finn; the second a punch off the back foot off Stuart Broad. Bresnan's attempts to intimidate him with the short ball were met by an upper cut and then a pull for boundaries.

Gambhir lost little by comparison. He took successive boundaries off Jade Dernbach in the second over of the innings, first pulling a long-hop through midwicket before guiding a wider ball to point, while throwing his hands whenever offered any width and crashing boundaries through point off Finn and Broad.

Kohli gave one desperately difficult chance. On 25 he came down the wicket and, with that characteristic flick of the wrist, cracked Broad over midwicket where a leaping Swann could only get his fingertips on the ball as it raced to the boundary.

Swann was the one man to apply some control for England. Coming on after the six Powerplay overs had realised 52 runs for the loss of one wicket, his four overs conceded just 17 runs and produced the key wicket of Kohli who, beaten in the flight, lofted his attempted on-drive to deep midwicket.

It might have been better for Swann. Had wicketkeeper Kieswetter been able to gather cleanly, Gambhir might have been stumped on 26 with the score on 80 for 1. The batsman, deceived in the flight, was drawn down the wicket and stranded when Swann beat him but Kieswetter could only deflect the ball and allowed India to steal a bye.

Still, Swann's spell and the wicket of Kohli slowed India's run rate. From the halfway stage of the innings they were able to add only 39 from the next six overs as Broad shuffled his bowlers - England's captain bowled his four overs in four separate spells - to good effect.

The final four overs of the India innings brought 51 runs, however. First Rohit Sharma gave himself some room and dabbed a short ball from Broad over the vacant first slip area to the boundary before, next delivery, he took advantage of the short fine leg to pull another short delivery behind square to the boundary. In all the over cost 13.

It signalled the acceleration from India. Dhoni punished a full toss from Dernbach through the covers, before Sharma hit two more full tosses - one from Bresnan the other from Dernbach - for four and six to third man and point respectively. Sharma brought up his 50 - from just 31 balls - with a sweep off another full toss from Dernbach.

While Dhoni was brilliantly caught in the final over - Buttler, on the boundary, took the catch but, feeling himself falling over the boundary, threw the ball to Hales who completed the dismissal - the damage had been done. England's bowlers, who contributed eight wides and a plethora of full tosses and short balls, might not attract the criticism of their batting colleagues, but they were little more impressive.

George Dobell is a senior correspondent at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • sharks on September 26, 2012, 16:22 GMT

    @Meety, contd. Regarding bowlers, you will get no argument from me. Aus has perhaps the best emerging fast bowlers in Pattinson/Starc/Cummins. However, you seriously believe that without an excellent spinner, on Indian pitches those bowlers will be too effective against Indian batsmen ? Maybe, that IPL experience that you said might help a lot, you know in the shorter versions- ODIs and T-20s. Good Luck to your team though, imo they will need it badly ;-).

  • sharks on September 26, 2012, 16:13 GMT

    @Meety, thanks for replying, sorry i got busy so couldnt reply earlier. IMO, you know,you did raise a valid point but I dont think,that IPL T-20 experience you said,are going to matter much when it comes to tests. Though that will certainly help the players to get better acclimatise to the conditions/climate quickly.In your comment,you did say 10 years,but just for argument's sake,you know,that Steve Waugh's team that visited here back in 2001,that team has some of the best players of spin that Australian cricket has ever had imo,but even that team was unable to decipher the spin of Bhajji,who was still a rookie bowler back then,infact our main spinner Kumble was injured in that series.Now,even with all the ipl experience i dont think today's Aus team can play better against spin compared to Waugh's team of 2001,and Indian team today is certainly better,infact a lot better than that of 2001,especially when it comes to spinners.

  • Paul on September 26, 2012, 13:23 GMT

    We ended up in the group Id rather England be in so not all is bad :)

  • rahul on September 26, 2012, 5:28 GMT

    @SIRSOBERS forget it ENGLAND you dont have the power to play against spin!atleast now ENGLAND should be happy they have lost in a group match not in super 8's with a huge margin

  • George on September 26, 2012, 4:42 GMT

    For Match against Pakistan, India should definitely play Sehwag. Pakistani bowlers feras him the most.

  • Andrew on September 26, 2012, 0:07 GMT

    @Ajmith Thazhayhappadathhywhatevery - on (September 25 2012, 10:57 AM GMT) - mate, I was TRYING to have a good natured conversation with a bloke. You have just lowered the standard. I DID say that I expect Kohli to have a great series, & I DID say that I am wary of the TURBANATOR. That all being said, I am still very confident that we can win the series. I think Lyon is a better spinner than Hauritz, (you may not rate him, but I do), & Clarke handles spinners as captain, much better than Punter did (post Warne). I think we are more experienced in India than in previous years. "...we Indians always need either an Aussie or English team to bring out the best in us." - the LAST 2 letters need to be changed to VVS. No VVS, (sad but had to happen), is of great relief to Ozzys - I rate Pujarra highly, but do not rate Raina & think SRT is diminishing in value, much like Sehwag. In broad terms, (IMO), Oz are rising, India falling.

  • amit on September 25, 2012, 22:32 GMT

    Well played to India, Eng have a lot of young players, many of whom probably haven't played on the subcontinent much. They will get better. Must say the constant jibing by fans is really annoying. This result will have no bearing on the test series later on. India have some fine players coming through the ranks and Eng have some very good players who will come back into the test side. As for this tournament, anyone of the eight teams can still win it.

  • Sheik on September 25, 2012, 21:36 GMT

    @ alikhan224 - just one question for you - when was the last time pakistan won a INTERNATIONAL GAME against India ????? Man - you have to be nuts to be gloating about our teams head to head contests - when we have thrashed your team in your own backyard - TWICE yes TWICE in back to back Test series and ODI series in 2004 and 2007 - remember Multan ??? or have you conveniently forgotten that?? ... when was the last time your team won a Test series in India - 1986/87 ? 25 years ago !!! that is one generation - Virat Kohli was not even born then... and i bet Afridi was still 25 though :) :).. get real mate!!

  • sourabh on September 25, 2012, 18:04 GMT

    @alikhan take ANY DATE for your so called 10 (for you I took 12 years) year period and you are on losing side, mine shows 25 Sep 2000 to 25 sept 2012 , that we won 19 and lost 17!!? you have never ever recovered in that 12 years, and you just conveniently gave just enough old date to look yourself winning!!?

  • sourabh on September 25, 2012, 15:23 GMT

    @Alikhan224 btw ours may not be extremely good against Australia and SA but Pakistanis have far worse record against these team for the same time period, plus I hope you saw the time frame of 10 years (take 12 lets say 25 sep 2000 to 25 sep 2012) what does your team's record say against India (did you thrash us?) it will turn out that WE HAVE THRASHED YOU!

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