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A lot was expected from the England -India series and the first installment lived up to the billing. Three hard-fought matches saw England finally lose their first series of this summer. India registered its first win and Kohli’s stated ambition of winning everything on this tour has started well. Both teams, though, are better ODI teams than they are T20.
A short three-match series promises to be fast and furious as no team can afford to give away the early advantage. Can England learn from their mistakes and adapt to the challenges thrown at them by India? Can India continue its white ball cricket form and continue to win? We are in for an exciting week of cricket ahead.
The entire summer everyone who watched England cricket or the English fans themselves wanted a tea that would put up a fight. Pakistan was good in patches, Australia was awful, and India seemed to be the best bet for a real fight.
Now that England has lost the opening salvo of this tour, it knows it has to raise its game further.
There are not too many changes between the England side from the T20’s to the ODI’s. In fact, both of the teams are going to change very little personnel for the series and so we have a fair idea of what to expect.
Let’s start with the England batting. Jonny Bairstow should move up the order since he has been scoring centuries at an unbelievable rate from that position. He will partner Jason Roy, another player who decimated Aussie bowling attacks at the top of the order.
Both these players play freely and have the license to keep going once they have got set. India has challenged these players with some spin and we think the longer matches will allow the Indians to test both of the players a little bit more with the slower bowlers.
The openers will also realize that in the absence of Jasprit Bumrah and possibly Bhuvaneshwar Kumar, India’s new ball attack can be put under pressure.
Alex Hales look set to keep the number three spot while we think Joe Root walks back into the side at number 4. Not playing him was a mistake on the part of England because they will have dented the confidence of the best player in the side.
Morgan, Buttler, and Stokes will make up the middle order while Willey, Rashid, Wood, and Plunkett should make up the bowling attack. Moeen Ali could miss out for the series again as will Jake Ball and maybe Chris Jordan.
England has a few tough selection calls to make but the depth in the squad means that there is no weak player in the side. On flat batting pitches, how well England’s spinners are able to cope with the Indian batsmen could be decisive.
For the first time this summer, England is under pressure and how the players will respond will be interesting to see.
Jonny Bairstow, JJ Roy, JE Root, Eoin Morgan, Jos Buttler, BA Stokes, Moeen Ali, David Willey, LE Plunkett, AU Rashid, M Wood.
An easy victory in Ireland has been followed up by a convincing T20 series victory. India could not have been asked to be better placed going into the ODI leg of this series. The confidence among the players will be sky high and they will believe that they can beat England at its own game.
The style of cricket that India and England play is pretty different. England tends to start aggressively from the word go while India likes to take a bit of time before building momentum. There is no doubt that India will be aware of the big totals being posted here and will adapt accordingly.
Thankfully for India, most of its batsmen were able to get a good stint in the middle. Rohit Sharma got a century, Lokesh Rahul got a century, and Kohli played two significant innings as well. Only Shikhar Dhawan struggled to get some runs amongst the top order but we have no doubt he is going to be scoring runs sooner rather than later.
We hope to see Kohli back at number three for the ODI series because that is where he wins the most games for India but the balance of the side may change to accommodate Rahul.
The middle order is the only place where India has a few questions to answer. Dhoni and Pandya will play at 6 and 7 but the place for number 5 is very open. Raina got a look in for the T20’s but he will have competition from Dinesh Karthik and Shreyas Iyer for that spot.
We think Dinesh Karthik has proven himself as a finisher in the last few months and should be given the first opportunity in the ODI series.
Jasprit Bumrah has been injured, Bhuvaneshwar Kumar has a sore back and missed the last match, and this has meant that Shardul Thakur has been drafted into the squad. Umesh Yadav will certainly start and we think that Kumar will be fit for the first match. If he is not then Shardul Thakur could play.
We also see India moving back to the two spinner strategy. There is enough time in an ODI for the spinners to weave their magic and India will be keen to test England on that front once again.
Perhaps fielding has been the only area where India has failed to compete with England so far. In ODI matches that can be crucial. There is no doubt in our mind, though, that India is going to push this England side in England conditions like never before.
Shikhar Dhawan, Rohit Sharma, V Kohli, Lokesh Rahul, SK Raina, MS Dhoni, Hardik Pandya, Siddarth Kaul, Umesh Yadav, Kuldeep Yadav, YS Chahal.
The team winning the toss will likely choose to field first
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A sunny day with next to no chance of rain has been predicted for match day. The weather has not been a problem on the tour so far and the warm conditions will suit India no doubt. The pitch for this match is the same one that England plunder close to 500 runs in the last match. The wicket is beautiful for batting, the outfields small, and another run-scoring feast is on the cards.
Wrist spinners may be hit for sixes but they have the potential to pick wickets and so we believe they will be very important to both bowling attacks.
The last series between England and India (played in India) saw a 300 plus total in every inning of a three-match series. India chased down 350 while England got close to 400 on one occasion. This history, the form of the batsmen on both sides, and the weather makes us certain that 330 is going to be a par score for this match as well.
India won its last ODI series in South Africa 6-1 thanks to its bowling attack and this is what we believe will win them games in England as well.
Back India to win.
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