Captain Kohli eyes another triumph, England determined

India and England have battled each other up and down the country over the last three months, and they meet in Bengaluru on Wednesday for the final act of what has been a long, engaging drama.

Virat Kohli will be aiming for his first T20I series win as captain in Bengaluru, a city that he calls his "second home".   -  pti

Virat Kohli was last at the M. Chinnaswamy Stadium back in the summer, when a remarkable Indian Premier League (IPL) season ended in defeat in the final. He returns now, to a ground he calls his second home, in search of a happier ending. India and England have battled each other up and down the country over the last three months, and they meet here on Wednesday for the final act of what has been a long, engaging drama.

Kohli has his bowlers to thank for keeping this three-game T20 series alive, Jasprit Bumrah and Ashish Nehra snaffling victory from under English noses in Nagpur. Bumrah's last two overs yielded only five runs, and much as Eoin Morgan may fume about the umpiring -- he has a point -- there is no denying that England looked clueless against the Gujarat bowler's assortment of yorkers and off-cutters. Nehra has lost little of his competitive fire; any lack of speed on the field (there was an occasion in Nagpur when one commentator remarked on air that the 37-year-old was "escorting the ball to the boundary") is compensated for with experience and bowling skill.

Up until the closing stages at the VCA Stadium, though, the visitor's bowlers had outshone their counterparts in the T20s. Chris Jordan, who appears to enjoy operating at the death, and Tymal Mills have hit the right lengths in the two games, and used their slower deliveries to great effect. Moeen Ali, meanwhile, has figures of three for 41 from his eight overs.

India's batsmen will hope for greater success against them, on a surface that is likely to be more amenable to run-making than the one they last encountered. The KSCA curator, K. Sriram, has said he expects scores in the region of 170; the size of the ground (with its immaculately lush outfield, thanks to a new vacuum-powered drainage system) will also help in this regard.

It is a relief to India that K. L. Rahul has found form at the top of the order. The Karnataka batsman had made scores of 8, 5, 11, and 8 leading up to his swashbuckling 71 on Sunday. He is another of those who featured here in the IPL final last May (Jordan, Yuzvendra Chahal, and Bhuvneshwar Kumar the rest), the end of a tournament that saw him destroy any notion that he was a player unsuited to limited-overs cricket.

It remains to be seen if India will make any changes. Rishabh Pant, who arrives with the reputation of being an enormously powerful striker of the ball, ought to be given a chance. Both Chahal and Amit Mishra were fielded in the last match; it is possible only one of them will figure here.

England, which finally has a chance to win some silverware on this tour after disappointment in the Tests and ODIs, is likely to field an unchanged side. At Sunday's presentation ceremony, Kohli promised to "be more expressive" in Bengaluru. He will not want to lose another title here.