Cricket-Jos Buttler
England's Jos Buttler in full flow during his match-winning innings of 83 during the third T20 match against India. Image Credit: ANI

Kolkata: Jos Buttler, England’s wicketkeeper-batsman, underlined his reputation as one of the best strikers of the white ball when he hit a brilliant 83 as England beat India by eight wickets on Tuesday to take a 2-1 lead in their five-match Twenty20 series.

Earlier, Indian skipper Virat Kohli continued his return to form with a 77-run blitz as India recovered to post 156-6 at the Narendra Modi stadium in Ahmedabad which was kept empty because of the rising number of coronavirus cases in India.

Buttler carried his bat through the innings, smashing four sixes and five fours, to guide England to 158 for two with 10 balls to spare. Jonny Bairstow made an unbeaten 40 to keep up the pace.

Kohli, for whom this was the second half-century after 73 in the last game, took 46 balls while the innings was studded with eight fours and four sixes as wickets around him kept falling.

India had been reduced to 24 for three in the sixth over with K.L. Rahul, Rohit Sharma - who came back to the side - and Ishan Kishan back in the pavilion. Jofra Archer (0/32), Mark Wood (3/31), Adil Rashid (0/26) and Chris Jordan (2/35) bowled in the power play and made things difficult for India.

The Indian captain added 40 runs with Rishabh Pant for the fourth wicket in just under six overs to bring India’s innings back on track.

Pant was run out and Shreyas Iyer followed soon after. Kohli added 70 runs for the sixth wicket with Hardik Pandya (17 off 15 balls), who played second fiddle to his captain.

India would have been in a poor position had they not managed quick runs in the slog overs. They made 69 in the last five overs with majority of those runs coming off Kohli’s bat.

The fourth match of the series is on Thursday in Ahmedabad.