Ahmedabad: England have parked their T20I guns on India's lawn, as they thrashed India by eight wickets in the first T20 International here at the Motera Stadium here on Friday.
The visiting England side first restricted India to 124 for seven in their 20 overs before coasting to the 125-run target in 15.3 overs to win the first game of the five-match series.
Jason Roy scored a well-calculated 49-run knock while Jonny Bairstow's big hits showed there were no demons in the pitch as the Indians made it seem after being invited to bat by England skipper Eoin Morgan.
"Better than a slap in the face, I'd take 49 at the start of the day. To come out and bowl and field like we did in the first game was great and will hold us in good stead," said Jason Roy who struck a well-calculated 49-run knock.
Indian batsmen struggled to score freely before Shreyas Iyer showed the way with a dogged 67-run knock that took the hosts to 124 for seven.
The home batsmen never got the momentum going in the series-opener as England's pace-heavy attack, led by Mark Wood, used the extra bounce effectively to trouble them.
Most of the Indian batsmen went for flashy shots when placement would have served them well. The track had varied pace and required patience from batsmen.
Iyer though gauged the nature of the pitch quickly and adjusted his game accordingly, playing a sensible innings that helped them cross the 100-run mark.
Laced with eight boundaries and a six, and coming off 48 balls, it is Iyer's best T20 knock. He fell in the last over.
"A challenging score, hopefully our bowlers bowl well to defend this, said Iyer after his known which saw India post 124 on board, said Iyer.
Commenting on the wicket, the Mumbaikar stated, “that ball wasn't coming on, bit uneven so I'll play cricketing shots and let's see. Worked out well for me and hopefully a decent total”.
“Not sensing dew right now, will help the spinners as well as the seamers on this wicket," said the top scorer Iyer.
England surprised India by opening the attack with leg-spinner Adil Rashid, who was not only economical but also dismissed Virat Kohli (0) after KL Rahul (1) dragged one back onto his stumps from Jofra Archer (3-23).
Feeling the heat, Shikhar Dhawan, who got the opportunity since Rohit Sharma has been rested, attempted to break the shackles with a flashy shot off Wood but completely missed the line to see his timber disturbed.
In-form batsman Rishabh Pant (21) was prompted to number four. He struck the ball clean, which included a reverse-flick off Archer for a six, but the England bowlers kept it tight for the home team, which was tottering at 34 for three in eight overs.
Pant and Iyer added 28 runs for the fourth wicket before the former hit one straight to Jonny Bairstow off Ben Stokes.
That brought Hardik Pandya to the crease, who true to his style, looked for some big hits but could not do much.
The visiting players wore black armbands in memory of former cricketer Joey Benjamin, who died Wednesday.
Outgunned by England on a tricky pitch, India skipper Virat Kohli admitted that they were clueless about handling the challenge posed by the conditions in the first T20 international.
"We just weren't aware of what we had to do on that pitch, lack of execution on our shots and something we have to address," kohli said after going down by eight wickets.
"Accept your faults, come back with more intent, clarity of areas you want to hit. Wicket didn't allow you to hit the shots we wanted to."
Kohli was pleased with the determination showed by Shreyas Iyer, who hit a half-century to help India post a respectable total.
"Shreyas showed how to use the crease and ride the bounce. Below par batting performance and England made us play. We looked to try a few things, but having said that you have to accept the conditions.
Earlier, England captain Eoin Morgan opted to chase in the series opener, citing the dew factor. His opposite number Virat Kohli was wary of the dew, too, which made chasing easier at this venue in the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy, India's domestic T20 tournament.
While England picked just one spinner in Adil Rashid, India packed their attack with three, legspinner Yuzvendra Chahal and fingerspin-bowling allrounders Washington Sundar and Axar Patel. In the absence of Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Shami and T Natarajan, Bhuvneshwar Kumar returned for his first international since December 2019. Shardul Thakur was selected as the second seamer ahead of Deepak Chahar and Navdeep Saini.
On the eve of the first T20I, Kohli had said that Rohit Sharma and KL Rahul were India's first-choice opening pair in the lead-up to the T20 World Cup. But on Friday, India shook things up by resting Sharma and pairing Rahul up with Shikhar Dhawan. Kohli said that Sharma will be resting for the first couple of games of the series.
S Dhawan b Wood 4
KL Rahul b Archer 1
V Kohli c Jordan b Rashid 0
R Pant c Bairstow b Stokes 21
S Iyer c Malan b Jordan 67
H Pandya c Jordan b Archer 19
S Thakur c Malan b Archer 0
W Sundar not out 3
A Patel not out 7
Extras: (w-2) 2
TOTAL: (20 overs) 124-7
FoW: 1-2 (KL Rahul), 2-3 (Virat Kohli), 3-20 (Shikhar Dhawan), 4-48 (Rishabh Pant), 5-102 (Hardik Pandya), 6-102 (Shardul Thakur), 7-117 (Shreyas Iyer)
BOWLING: Adil Rashid 3-0-14-1, Jofra Archer 4-1-23-3, Mark Wood 4-0-20-1, Chris Jordan 4-0-27-1, Ben Stokes 3-0-25-1, Sam Curran 2-0-15-0
J Roy lbw b W Sundar 49
J Buttler lbw b Chahal 28
D Malan not out 24
J Bairstow not out 26
Extras: (w-3) 3
TOTAL: (15.3 overs) 130-2
FoW: 1-72 (Jos Buttler), 2-89 (Jason Roy)
BOWLING: Axar Patel 3-0-24-0, Bhuvneshwar Kumar 2-0-15-0, Yuzvendra Chahal 4-0-44-1, Shardul Thakur 2-0-16-0, Hardik Pandya 2-0-13-0, Washington Sundar 2.3-0-18-1