England v India: Alex Hales guides hosts to five-wicket win in second Twenty20
|Second Twenty20 international, Cardiff:|
|India 148-5 (20 overs): Kohli 47 (37), Plunkett 1-17|
|England 149-5 (19.4 overs): Hales 58* (41), Bairstow 28 (18)|
|England won by five wickets|
Alex Hales' unbeaten 58 took England to a dramatic final-over win in the second Twenty20 international against India.
Chasing 149, England slipped to 44-3, but Hales led a recovery that left them needing 12 from the final over.
He hit Bhuvneshwar Kumar for six, then four, with David Willey scoring the winning runs to level the series and set up a decider in Bristol on Sunday.
England's bowlers earlier adapted well to the dimensions of the Cardiff ground to restrict the tourists to 148-5.
Wily England respond
After dominating a weak Australia side, England were chastened by an eight-wicket defeat at the hands of impressive India at Old Trafford on Tuesday.
Familiar frailties involving spin - India left-armer Kuldeep Yadav picked up five wickets before England's slow bowlers were treated with disdain - presented concerns for the rest of the summer, which includes three one-day internationals and five Tests.
In Cardiff, England recognised that the short straight boundaries could be difficult for spinners to bowl with and omitted Moeen Ali in favour of debuting pace bowler Jake Ball.
Ball formed part of an excellent display by England's four fast bowlers, but India took 22 off his final over, then carried that momentum into the field.
Hales, in an unfamiliar position of number four, batted with intelligence and composure to lead England's navigation of India's spinners - Kuldeep and Yuzvendra Chahal returned a combined 1-62.
Still, the visitors' death bowling was brilliant, ramping up the tension in front of raucous India fans in sun-kissed Cardiff.
Hales, though, hit Bhuvneshwar's first ball of the final over for a huge straight maximum, completing his half-century and effectively sealing victory.
Hales navigates England home
To combat the threat posed by Kuldeep and leg-spinner Chahal, England have been using the Merlyn, the spin-bowling machine that helped them to victory in the 2005 Ashes.
Initially it looked to have had little success. With the ball gripping and turning, the hosts were in danger of being suffocated - Kuldeep and Chahal conceded only 12 runs from their combined first three overs, while a sweeping Joe Root misread a Chahal googly and was bowled.
Hales and Eoin Morgan clung on, at first surviving, then growing in stature. Hales hit two sixes in as many overs to take England back to a position of strength.
Though Morgan was brilliantly caught at long leg by Shikhar Dhawan off the medium pace of Hardik Pandya, Jonny Bairstow arrived to sweep successive maximums off Kuldeep.
With 23 needed from 18 balls, Bairstow was caught at long leg off Bhuvneshwar as he and Umesh Yadav combined to concede only six runs from 10 deliveries.
But Hales drove Umesh's penultimate delivery for four, then took 11 more off Bhuvneshwar to leave Willey to seal victory with two balls to spare.
Late surge aids India
England's plan to bowl back-of-a-length, varying their pace, forced India to hit towards the long square boundaries and choked the tourists.
Rohit Sharma skied Ball, Dhawan was run out because he dropped his bat and KL Rahul was bowled looking to loft Liam Plunkett, leaving India 22-3.
India found the boundary only four times in the opening 10 overs, but England missed the opportunity to remove Kohli on 21 when a diving Jason Roy dropped a very difficult chance at long-on off Adil Rashid. The captain went on to make 47.
At the beginning of the 19th over, India had reached only 126-5, Plunkett excellent for 1-17, Willey similarly so to return 1-18.
However, by this point England had become predictable. MS Dhoni, playing his 500th international match, read Ball's plan and swatted 17, while India were boosted by a no-ball that raced to the fine leg boundary for five.
It took them to a total that was almost enough.
'Think how strong England could be with Stokes' - what they said
England captain Eoin Morgan on Sky Sports: "To get over the line has boosted our confidence. The momentum does ebb and flow throughout the game and the series.
"Alex played magnificently today. Small partnerships here and there are very powerful when you're chasing."
India captain Virat Kohli on Sky Sports: "Credit to England with the way they started with the ball. When you lose momentum it's very difficult to get it back.
"We would have liked 10-15 more runs. England played Kuldeep really well today - they'd done their homework.
"We had a good game but England were better than us."
Former England batsman James Taylor on BBC Test Match Special: "Alex Hales' innings was very smart, very controlled, and he took the right decisions at the right time. He took the responsibility on and he led his side to victory.
"If Ben Stokes comes in for Jake Ball, just think how strong that England batting line-up will be. They've got so many world-class players to pick from."
Man of the match Alex Hales on batting at number four: "The long-term goal is the 2020 World Cup, so any position in this team is good with this powerful batting line-up.
"It's two very strong teams, both at the top of their game, so Sunday should be a cracker."