England won the match by 5 wickets in the last over © Getty Images
England won the match by 5 wickets in the last over © Getty Images

Kuldeep Yadav had stunned the England middle-order at Old Trafford. The English attack was then made to look feeble against the mastery of KL Rahul. But England rose to the challenge at Cardiff. Their bowlers bowled to a plan; their fielders had an excellent day; and when they chased, though the Indian bowlers ensured their side stayed in the game, Alex Hales  made sure there were no last-over hiccups, helping them England the series.

The Indian bowlers have done a wonderful job. After having a rare off day in the first T20I, Bhuvneshwar Kumar bowled beautifully in the second before his three boundary-less overs were undone by Hales. Umesh Yadav, bowling straight and fast, has picked up crucial wickets.

Yuzvendra Chahal bowled intelligently in both matches, though he still does not have one of those outstanding spells to his name. Kuldeep, handled well by Hales at Cardiff, will want to get his revenge. Hardik Pandya has gone unnoticed with ball, but his series figures (8-0-61-2) tell the story.

Apart from Rahul, no Indian batsman has actually played an outstanding innings. Rohit, having made to graft at Old Trafford, threw it away at Cardiff. Virat Kohli looked in good touch before he got out, but his series strike rate reads 112. Shikhar Dhawan has failed so far. Suresh Raina will be retained (India need that sixth bowler), as will MS Dhoni.

India likely XI for 3rd T20I: Shikhar Dhawan, Rohit Sharma, KL Rahul, Virat Kohli (c), Suresh Raina, MS Dhoni (wk), Hardik Pandya, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Kuldeep Yadav, Umesh Yadav, Yuzvendra Chahal.

Ben Stokes’ return will alter things for England. Jason Roy, Jos Buttler, and Alex Hales have all looked good at various points of time. Eoin Morgan and Jonny Bairstow played neat cameos at Cardiff. The axe may fall on Joe Root.

On the other hand, the fast bowlers — Liam Plunkett, David Willey, and Chris Jordan — have all bowled intelligently and tightly. Jake Ball was taken apart in the last over by Dhoni, but Stokes will play as a specialist batsman.

England may consider picking Moeen Ali instead of Ball on the small Bristol ground. At number eight, Willey is certainly batting a couple of slots higher than he should.

India likely XI for 3rd T20I: Jason Roy, Jos Buttler (wk), Alex Hales, Eoin Morgan (c), Jonny Bairstow, Ben Stokes, Moeen Ali, David Willey, Chris Jordan, Adil Rashid, Liam Plunkett.

Predictions: The Englishmen seem to have adapted well against Chahal and Kuldeep. Stokes’ return will also provide a major boost. On the other hand, the Indians will take heart from the fact that England are yet to muscle their way to those big totals they did against Australia. The English batsmen did well to come back at Cardiff, but there were no easy runs to be taken.

Both sides have bowled well, and the better bowling side is likely to triumph at Bristol. This also means that the Indian wrist-spinners may turn out to be the deciding factor.