It is a do-or-die battle for India and England as they face off in the third ODI in Leeds on Tuesday (17 July). Kuldeep Yadav threat looms large over English batsmen
India will aim to achieve a 'Perfect Ten' when they face England in the third and deciding ODI at Headingley Cricket Ground in Leeds on Tuesday.
The Virat Kohli-led 'Men In Blue' pocketed the T20I series 2-1 to kick-start the England tour on a high. Now, they will be hoping to replicate the same performance in the 50-over format.
India have been doing exceedingly well in bilateral limited-overs series. So far, they have strung together nine series wins in a row.
It has been nearly two-and-a-half years since India lost a bilateral ODI rubber. The last reversal was in January 2016, against Australia in an away series. On that occasion, India were beaten 1-4 by the hosts.
Since then, India have won in Zimbabwe, Sri Lanka and South Africa. At home, they got the better of New Zealand (twice), England, Australia and Sri Lanka.
On Tuesday, Kohli and his men will be keen to add another trophy in their cabinet. Chinaman bowler Kuldeep Yadav will again hold the key for the visitors. But the one worry for India is its middle order.
After starting off on a winning note in the first ODI, India faltered in 323-run chase at Lord’s. MS Dhoni came in for criticism for his slow batting but skipper Kohli defended the veteran wicket-keeper.
Shikhar Dhawan, Rohit Sharma and Kohli occupy the top three slots in India’s batting line-up. In the first game, Rohit hit a century while there were contributions from Dhawan and Kohli. India cruised to an eight-wicket win, overhauling the home team’s 268.
The middle order was not required much in Nottingham. At Lord’s, in the second game, the quartet of KL Rahul, Suresh Raina, Dhoni and Hardik Pandya could not accelerate during the 300-plus run chase.
The 37-year-old Dhoni was booed by the crowd as he crawled to a 59-ball 37. India went down by 86 runs as the series was levelled.
Now the focus shifts to India’s middle and lower order again. Rahul, Raina, Dhoni and Pandya have to deliver if the team has to come out on top.
Batting coach Sanjay Bangar felt the team had enough options for the middle order. He mentioned the names of Ambati Rayudu, Manish Pandey and Ajinkya Rahane.
“We are looking at, in terms of the games remaining, where we could look at settling the middle order slots. We will see as to players available, the fitness of the players. So a lot of spots are open. The good thing about that is the bench strength we have in a Rayudu, or a Manish Pandey or Ajinkya Rahane. There are enough spots for each and every eventuality that we might face leading up to the World Cup,” Bangar told reporters on the eve of third ODI.
Joe Root's form
Talking about the hosts, the English side is a hard nut to crack. It has had a good season as far as ODIs are concerned with them winning six of their eight ODIs so far. While the English side did lose to India, some excellent bowling limited India to a mere 236 in the second ODI.
The English batting order would look to Root and Jos Buttler. Root’s innings of 113 from 116 balls brought his average to 50 in ODIs, while Buttler’s innings of 53 runs from 51 balls was the highest in the first match.
The duo of Moeen Ali and Adil Rashid has shared 35 wickets in their previous 10 outings between them. Rashid took 2/38 in last fixture, while Ali got 1/42. Liam Plunkett impressed with 4/46 in 10 overs and this brand of bowling will be expected of him on Tuesday.
It should be a keen contest with the pitch expected to be batting friendly.
India’s bilateral series winning streak
June 2016 – India beat Zimbabwe 3-0 (Away)
October 2016 – India beat New Zealand 3-2 (Home)
January 2017 – India beat England 2-1 (H)
June-July 2017 – India beat West Indies 3-1 (A)
August-September 2017 – India beat Sri Lanka 5-0 (A)
September-October 2017 – India beat Australia 4-1 (H)
October 2017 – India beat New Zealand 2-1 (H)
December 2017 – India beat Sri Lanka 2-1 (H)
February 2018 – India beat South Africa 5-1 (A)
India: Rohit Sharma, Shikhar Dhawan, Virat Kohli (captain) KL Rahul, Suresh Raina, MS Dhoni (wicket-keeper), Hardik Pandya, Yuzvendra Chahal, Kuldeep Yadav, Umesh Yadav, Siddharth Kaul/Bhuvneshwar Kumar.
England: Jason Roy, Jonny Bairstow, Joe Root, Eoin Morgan (captain), Jos Buttler (wicket-keeper), Ben Stokes, David Willey, Liam Plunkett, Moeen Ali, Mark Wood, Adil Rashid.
Match starts at 5 PM IST
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Last Updated 17, Jul 2018, 3:36 PM