Wrist-spin in focus again as England and India clash in T20 decider at Bristol

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India's wrist-spinners will be key once again in the decider.

Less than 48 hours after England beat India by five wickets in the second T20 to level the three-match series at 1-1, the two sides will meet once again for the decider to be held at Bristol on Sunday.

India started the series on fire with a crushing eight-wicket win in the opener at Manchester before the hosts pulled things back at Cardiff.

With all to play for on Sunday, we look at the key talking points ahead of the clash.

ENGLAND FACE BEN STOKES DILEMMA

Ahead of the second T20 in Cardiff, England recalled star all-rounder Ben Stokes to the side for the final match. Stokes had missed out on the first two matches due to a hamstring injury but showed that he is back to full fitness with an unbeaten 68-ball 90 for Durham against Yorkshire in the T20 Blast.

Stokes’ late call up could have had something to do with Alex Hale’s struggles in the first T20 where the batsman scratched around for eight from 18 balls. However, Hales roared back into form with a match-winning unbeaten 58 in England’s win a Cardiff.

Skipper Eoin Morgan will need to make a tough call on how to possibly accommodate both Hales and Stokes. Other options for the England skipper are to drop Joe Root, which looks unlikely, or not include Stokes.

Ben Stokes has thrown up a selection headache for Morgan.

Ben Stokes has thrown up a selection headache for Morgan.

BATTLE OF WRIST-SPIN IN FOCUS

England were blown away by Kuldeep Yadav’s wrist-spin in the first T20 with the youngster returning with figures of 5-24 in India’s big win. How the hosts handled the wrist-spin duo of Yuzvendra Chahal and Kuldeep was always going to be the defining battle of the series.

Like the series, that battle is also locked at one apiece with England showing much better application in their handling of the pair in the second T20.

It will be interesting to see if India’s spinners alter their strategy after England’s new approach in Cardiff.

Kuldeep Yadav and Chahal could be forced to alter their strategy.

Kuldeep Yadav and Chahal could be forced to alter their strategy.

BRAGGING RIGHTS FOR REST OF THE SUMMER

With a three-match ODI series and a five-match Test series to follow, the outcome of the T20 decider could set the tone for the rest of the English summer.

Both sides have been in excellent form in white-ball cricket of late and are the two early favourites for the World Cup to be held in England next year.

A win for either side on Sunday could provide a much needed mental edge going into the rest of the clashes, especially the ODI series.

Both skippers will aim for a confidence boosting win ahead of the ODIs.

Both skippers will aim for a confidence boosting win ahead of the ODIs.

ROHIT AND DHAWAN EYE PERSONAL MILESTONES

While England has not been a happy hunting ground for Shikhar Dhawan so far in the series with a combined total of 14 runs, the India opener is closing in on 1,000 runs in T20I cricket. The left-hander needs 28 more runs to get to the landmark.

On the other hand, his opening partner Rohit Sharma is on the verge of becoming only the second Indian batsman to score 2,000 runs in the T20I format. The Mumbai-man is currently 14 runs short of the mark and should he reach the mark on Sunday, he will become only the fifth batsman overall to do so and the second from India after skipper Virat Kohli breached the landmark in the first T20 at Manchester.

Rohit Sharma is just 14 runs shy of the 2, 000-run mark.

Rohit Sharma is just 14 runs shy of the 2,000-run mark.

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Glenn Maxwell targeting Test return with Australia for Pakistan series

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Glenn Maxwell has played only seven Tests so far in hi career.

Glenn Maxwell has not given up on his dreams of a Test return with Australia despite his not so great numbers in the format over the years.

The Australian batsman has played just seven Tests so far in his career and averages a lowly 26. His last Test appearance came during Australia’s tour of Bangladesh in September last year.

On Friday, Maxwell struck a 38-ball 56 in the T20 Tri-Series clash against Zimbabwe at Harare to lead Australia to a narrow five-wicket win.

“I would love an opportunity to play in the Test team again, I have had mixed opportunities with the Test side and probably haven’t quite grabbed it with both hands every time I have had the opportunity. If I do get the opportunity I will hopefully take it with both hands this time,” Maxwell was quoted as saying by cricket.com.au after his half-century performance.

The 29-year-old is targeting a return to the Australian Test side for the two matches against Pakistan which will take place in the UAE in October this year.

Maxwell's last Test appearance came against Bangladesh.

Maxwell’s last Test appearance came against Bangladesh.

The right-hander was initially supposed to be a part of the Australia ‘A’ side which will tour India later this year but has now dropped those plans.

“I was hoping to go on it (Australia A’s tour of India), but as they pointed out I have been to India 16 or 17 times so there is no real need for me to go over there and prove what I can do,” he said.

“I got a Test hundred over there (India) last year and hopefully I can get up to Brisbane (to the Bupa National Cricket Centre) if I get the chance to go up there,” Maxwell added.

Maxwell will be in action once again on Sunday when Australia lock horns with Pakistan in the final of the T20 Tri-Series at Harare.

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Dinesh Chandimal and Faf du Plessis seek more clarity on ball-tampering laws ahead of Galle Test

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The South Africa and Sri Lanka skippers pose together in Colombo.

Ahead of the first Test between Sri Lanka and South Africa which gets underway at Galle on July 12, the two skippers have sought clarity from the ICC on rules pertaining to eating candy in the wake of recent sanctions for ball-tampering.

Faf du Plessis and Dinesh Chandimal have said that they will meet with the ICC match referee ahead of the Test to determine what is acceptable.

Sri Lanka skipper Chandimal was recently fined 100 per cent of his matches fees and banned for the third Test against the West Indies after being found guilty of tampering with the ball.

The Sri Lanka captain was adjudged to have used saliva containing the residue of some other substance during the match. Currently, ICC rules permit the use of saliva and sweat to shine the red ball but using any other substance such as a sugary residue from sweets is prohibited.

Chandimal was recently found guilty of tampering with the ball.

Chandimal was recently found guilty of tampering with the ball.

“They still haven’t said what is allowed and what isn’t. Is chewing gum allowed or not? You want consistency,” du Plessis told reporters in Colombo.

“We will meet with the umpires and the match referee and ask what we can carry with us to the field. What sweets we can put in our mouths and when,” Chandimal said on his part.

Earlier this week, the ICC had unveiled tougher sanctions for ball-tampering with the offence being upgraded to Level 3 from the previous Level 2. The offence carries a maximum of 12 demerit points which could see guilty players being banned for up to six Tests matches or 12 ODIs for the offence.

The new sanctions were added in the light of the ball-tampering episode which occurred during Australia’s tour of South Africa.

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