England skipper Eoin Morgan felt that the hosts could counter spin-twins Kuldeep Yadav and Yuzvendra Chahal with ease this time as the difference in the conditions between Manchester and Cardiff gave the Three Lions an upper hand, where the bowlers and Alex Hales helped England win the 2nd T20I by 5 wickets at Sophia Gardens in Cardiff.
England levelled the three-match series 1-1 and its all to play for on Sunday to decide a winner at Bristol.
Thanks to a quicker and bouncier pitch, India were restricted to 148 for five. Despite a poor start, the hosts were able to chase it down with two balls to spare.
Kuldeep Yadav returned 0-34 from his four overs and was rendered ineffective, after England's pacers had reduced India to 22-3 with a short ball plan.
"Conditions were different today. Kuldeep's a very good bowler and he'll bowl well the majority of the time. But I thought conditions at Old Trafford suited him more than conditions today. With the pace and bounce of the wicket that the seamers might have dominated a bit more, but I thought our plans were a lot clearer. We played him well," Morgan explained.
"When David Willey had bowled three balls and three of them flew through, I was quite surprised that the ball carried through so much. And when it did, with the big square boundaries, it is naturally a plan that we do bowl into the wicket. But that's a plan because it's two-paced, not a plan because it flies through. Inevitably it ended up staying the same. That was the reason behind it (bowling short)," said Morgan.
India used the conditions to good effect as well, and reduced England to 44-3 but Alex Hales anchored the innings with a sedate half-century and took them home when things got tight in the end.
He was also helped with an 18-ball 28-run cameo from Jonny Bairstow.
"Alex really did play brilliantly. He's played a lot of T20 International cricket, and he's obviously played a lot around the world and he certainly used that tonight. Having the composure to play quite a mature innings, as he did, and then towards the end, he's not known as a big hitter but anybody who watched the game at Trent Bridge will realize he hits the ball quite a long way, even yorkers. We had quite a lot of confidence in him, but it is very nice to get over the line," said the winning captain.
"If we'd had a bigger partnership up front, we might have maybe pushed it in the 16th or 17th over. But we didn't, so it was always going to be a cagey affair when we continued to lose wickets. We played better than we did at Old Trafford. Certainly the plans we had, we committed to them a lot more. There was a lot more clarity in the shots we played I thought," he added.
Morgan was in full praise of his bowling line-up's performance and hoped for similar conditions in Bristol. At the same time, he said that there could be changes for the series' finale on Sunday with all-rounder Ben Stokes returning from injury.
"I thought they bowled brilliantly. Certainly conditions out there surprised me quite a bit. The bounce was a lot more than we thought it was going to be. David Willey set the tone. Jake Ball on his debut bowled three really good overs. When there's bounce like that it always presents opportunities to take wickets, or at least have chances. They did that well, and obviously, Adil (Rashid) bowled well too," said the skipper.
The England captain announced that Ben Stokes will be available for the third and final match at Bristol after the all-rounder was ruled out due to injury.
"Ben comes into the squad for the next game. He's obviously a fantastic player, and there will be a difficult decision to make. We've made calls like this in the past, but we hope we'll make it for the betterment of the team and put out our strongest XI. Alex always makes it difficult, particularly in T20 cricket. He's played a lot for us. He's one of our highest run-scorer, a very experienced campaigner, and an innings like that tonight makes him a pretty strong case for the next game," he signed off.
England host India in the series decider on Sunday (July 8) at County Ground, Bristol.