England vs India: Third T20I Preview

Cricket Ball on Pitch

England and India meet in Gloucestershire on Sunday to in what is effectively a T20I series final. 

England found a way to just about cope with India's spin threats when batting second on a quick track in Cardiff to set up a series decider in Bristol.

India will feel they were ambushed somewhat by a really good start from the English seamers in Cardiff that prevented their batsmen from getting off to the kind of start that would have provided the platform necessary for a 160+ score.

England vs India | Sunday 08 July | Gloucestershire County Cricket Ground, Bristol | 15:00 

To Win Match 
England 8/10
Tie 35/1 
India 21/20

England 
The hosts go into the game knowing that their spin woes are far from solved simply because they got past India in a single T20I. It was clear early on that the slower bowlers were able to put the squeeze on the normally fluent top order.

It would be Jonny Bairstow and Alex Hales who found a way to punish Kuldeep Yadav and Yuzvendra Chahal at last and swing the series momentum back in their favour.

Jos Buttler finally had to endure failure but looked in fine touch while he was out in the middle so there won't be too many concerns about his place at the top of the order or in the team.

Ben Stokes returned to action for his county this week but still seems unlikely to feature until some point in the ODI series.

Jake Ball didn't have the kind of debut that would suggest he will keep Moeen Ali from returning to the XI in Bristol. The dimensions of the Cardiff ground a factor in the off-spinner being left out for the second match.

England's bowling attack in the shortest format is starting to take shape but the search for a reliable death bowler goes on in stark contrast to their opponents who are blessed in this regard.

India 
On paper it is hard to imagine any side beating India in almost any conditions in the shortest format of the game such is the balance of their side and the level of skill each member of the side possesses.

Umesh Yadav has stepped up brilliantly and looks to be a excellent stopgap for the injured Jasprit Bumrah as Bhuvneshwar Kumar's partner up front and at the death.

Bhuvneshwar conceded just seven runs in his first three overs in Cardiff before missing his length in the final over to allow Hales to clear the fence and take the tie away from India, but he will learn from the experience and will likely be eager to prove himself in the decider.

India's top order struggled against pace up front and this may prompt another shuffle from Virat Kohli and the brains trust as they look to find a way to seal the series and carry that morale boost into the ODIs. 

An option available to India might be to turn to the left-arm spin of Krunal Pandya ahead of his brother Hardik. Although the gamble of not having their finisher in play in a critical match might prove too risky a prospect.

There was enough to suggest England will continue to struggle against the wiles of Kuldeep and Chahal and exactly how the hosts cope with their threat is likely to determine the outcome of the series.

Verdict: India 21/20
The tourists will learn from their mistakes in Cardiff and if they play to their potential they should have more than enough quality to put another one past their hosts to take home the series. 

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Written by James Richardson for Hollywoodbets.

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