Lithium-sulphur batteries have generated tremendous research interest due to their high theoretical energy density and potential cost-effectiveness. The commercial realization of Li-S batteries is still hampered by reduced cycle life associated with the formation of electrolyte soluble higher-order polysulphide (Li2Sx, x = 4–8) intermediates, leading to capacity fading, self-discharge, and a multistep voltage profile. Herein, we have realized a practical approach towards a direct transformation of sulphur to Li2S2/Li2S in lithium-sulphur batteries by alteration of the reaction pathway. A coconut shell derived ultramicroporous carbon-sulphur composite cathode has been used as reaction directing template for the sulphur. The lithiation/delithiation and capacity fading mechanism of microporous carbon confined sulphur composite was revealed by analyzing the subsurface using X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy. No higher-order polysulphides were detected in the electrolyte, on the surface, and in the subsurface of the cathode composite. The altered reaction pathway is reflected by a single-step profile in the discharge/charge of a lithium-s ... mehrulphur cell.