India’s batting woes were exposed by England’s spinners at the Wankhede Stadium as the visitors trailed 2-0.

While the hosts were indecisive with the bat, England’s bowlers excelled at varying pace and lengths.

Shruti Rabindranath

Charlie Dean was adjudged the man of the match after dismissing both the Indian openers cheaply ECB via Getty Images

Wankhede surface suitable for batting. Short boundaries. In the pitch report, broadcasters said it should be a „belter”. But a brilliant display of control and adaptability from England’s bowlers – and misjudgments from India’s batsmen – took all that out of the equation.

It’s a case of India’s batsmen being out of doubt on a pitch that doesn’t have much turn. Both sides agreed that the ball was „skid on”, but it was the England bowlers who were more adept at varying their pace and length. For Charlie Dean, there are „no real ghosts” on the pitch. It was a „tricky pitch” for Deepti Sharma.

Offspinner Dean was told on Saturday morning that he would have to open the bowling in competition with left-armer Smriti Mandhana. She ended up doing more than expected. He came into the game having missed the first T20I with a stomach bug. But her impact was felt immediately as she had India in trouble within eight deliveries.

The first ball – a length ball on the off stump – went straight back to Dean, Shafali Verma, next ball, played a similar delivery to the turn and looked to work it down the leg side. She mounted the front straight and took off for a duck. It was Verma’s 20th dismissal as an off-spinner in 43 T20Is.

Mandana settled down to some extent by hitting the fast bowlers with a couple of fours. After bowling the second and third overs to Heather Knight, Lauren Bell and Nat Skiver-Friend, Dean bowled the ball back to the left-hander. Expecting the ball to return, Mandana swung back to cut a length delivery outside off, but was instead rapped on his pads and given out by the umpire. She reconsidered to no avail.

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„There were a lot of wickets in the game today,” said Dean after the match. „I won’t have any complaints on the pitch. Of course I won’t, I’m a bowler and I don’t get a chance to bat there, but it’s good. A lot of our guys have said that. It’s a bit slippery but there are no real demons on the pitch. I guess pressures and weaknesses in certain areas.

„We executed our plans very well and so did India, to be fair they set very aggressive pitches. They had to because of the way the game was dictated.”

Harmanpreet Kaur injected some positivity into the innings by scooping skewer-front of fuller balls for back-to-back boundaries over fine leg. But Skiver-Brunt quickly changed his length and turned a length ball sharply past Harmanbreet’s knees to seal his exit. TRS couldn’t save Harmanpreet either and India burnt the criticism of both in the fifth over.

And India’s misery continued. Deepthi was going for the drive only to edge the ball to the wicketkeeper. Another wicket came with the introduction of another spinner, Sophie Ecclestone, sending Richa Ghosh back for 4 runs.

It was legspinner Sarah Glenn’s turn to take down Pooja Vastrakar. Vastrakar, bowled by Glenn in the eighth over, charged down the track before playing for the turn but the ball went through his bat and hit the off stump. At that time, India were 45 for 6 and Jemima Rodrigues was their only hope.

Ecclestone, with his subtle variations and stump-to-stump deliveries, ensured India pressed in the middle overs, where they did not hit a boundary for 40 balls. It was Rodriguez who broke the pressure with two quick boundaries hoping to give India a boost. It all crumbled when he tried to play one down the leg side against Glenn who changed his length after a couple of toss up deliveries and was out lbw.

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It didn’t take long for England to wrap up proceedings as their lowest T20 score against England bundled India out for 80 runs.

According to Deepti, who is playing her 100th T20I, the pitch is not „difficult” to play properly.

„It wasn’t a 70- or 80-run wicket; we could have scored a bit more at 110-115,” he said. „But sometimes it happens when the circumstances are not in your favor. You try to play well as a team, but everyone gets an off day.

„I don’t think it was difficult. We had to play to the merit of the ball. We had a lot of takeaways, but it wasn’t difficult. We’ll see what we can do to make it better in tomorrow’s game.”

They have lost 10 of 16 wickets to fall to the spinners in two T20Is. England carried out its plans and exploited India’s weakness with relative ease. With the next T20 World Cup in Bangladesh – where the slow bowlers will play a big role – less than a year away, England will be happy to fine-tune their spin department.

Meanwhile, India’s batsmen will have to work on changing their patterns against the spinners.

Shruti Ravindranath is Associate Editor at ESPNcricinfo

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