Kanpur: Indian batsmen were found struggling against a disciplined England bowling attack which restricted the hosts at 147 for 7 in the first T20 International, in Kanpur on Thursday evening.
Loss of wickets at regular interval did not allow India to accelerate even though MS Dhoni's 36 off 27 balls towards the end helped them get closer to 150.
The other contributions came from captain Virat Kohli (29 off 26), who opened the batting, and comeback man Suresh Raina (34 off 23).
Offie Moeen Ali was the stand out bowler for England, ending with figures of two for 21 in four overs. It was expectedly a packed house for the first ever T20 International at the Green Park.
The conditions were overcast when the two teams came out for the national anthem and that meant the first ball was bowled with all four floodlights fully operational.
Kohli, who had dropped hints of opening the batting in the pre-match press conference yesterday, kept everyone guess till the toss before coming out to open against Lokesh Rahul.
He made the move keeping the balance of the side in mind, allowing him to accommodate Raina at three and Manish Pandey at six.
India reached 47 for one in six overs with Rahul falling cheaply for the fourth time in as many innings. He was bounced out by pacer Chris Jordan to be caught at short-fine leg.
Kohli began his innings with a cracking boundary through backward point off Tymal Mills, rated as one of the fastest bowlers in England. The second over bowled by Jordan saw couple of plays and misses from Kohli before the star Indian batsman spanked the English pacer over mid on for a four.
Local hero Raina was at the other end and with Rahul back in the dressing room in the fifth over, it was a golden chance to make a statement in his first match for India since the World T20 in March.
With Kohli watching from the non striker's end, Raina began in a fluent fashion hitting Liam Plunkett for two fours including a dead straight one with the ball bouncing just before the ropes.
Both Kohli and Raina looked good in the middle but were unable to build on their solid starts. Yuvraj Singh , who was in top form during the ODI series, also did not last long as he was holed out at fine leg off Plunkett.
Captan Kohli fell in the seventh over, trying to whip Ali over midwicket but the ball went straight into the hands of his counterpart Eoin Morgan.
Raina departed in the 13th over and a ball after hitting the first six of the match. Ben Stokes came with up a fitting response after getting whacked as he bowled a shuffling Raina behind the stumps with a well directed yorker.
India kept losing wickets way too frequently and that pushed the scoring rate down. Pandey got the opportunity after warming the bench for the entire ODI series.
He, however, could not make it count, falling lbw to Ali to leave India at 98 for five in the 14th over.
Thanks to a late burst from Dhoni, India were able to post a fighting total. He smashed Jordan for consecutive fours in the final over, much to the delight of the vociferous crowd.
England batsmen got off to a flying start chasing a modest target of 148 runs and were 48 for 2 after six overs.
Updated Date: Jan 26, 2017 18:47 PM