- England v India, 3rd ODI
England seek limited-overs reboot
Saturday, August 30, 2014
Start time 10.30am local (0930 GMT)
There was a century from an Indian middle-order batsman to resuscitate an innings going astray. In reply, England's batting faltered. That only increased questions over Alastair Cook's captaincy. India went 1-0 up. England in disarray. We've been here before. The rigours of limited-overs cricket might pale to Tests, as MS Dhoni has often pointed out on this tour, but in a four-match series success hinges on the ability to harness advantages. England will know India haven't been outstanding in that department. And India will know England are still discovering their identity as an ODI side.
They are testing a new opening partnership, which in the last two years has produced only one century stand. Cook was part of that and has politely brushed aside the punches aimed at himself and his team through the summer. Occasionally he has thrown them back. But his words will ring hollow unless accompanied with examples on the field. Lately though, the ammunition is in the hands of their critics: West Indies had them 89 for 6 chasing 160 in March, Sri Lanka routed them for 99 in May, India had given them a shock at the Champions Trophy final and did it again in Cardiff. The visitors have England down, but how long can they maintain that?
Rohit Sharma, one of the more important variables in India's one-day formula, is out injured. The top three haven't managed the kind of foundations Dhoni prefers. The India captain likes his cogs in place. He likes a strong score on the board. He likes to come in late and hike the total further. He likes a couple of early wickets so his spinners can prey on uncertain batsmen. He knows how to work his individual resources to harmonise with each other, like an orchestra conductor. However, in the past five years, India have lost four series on the road and one of their two successes have been against Zimbabwe. Dhoni and his team would want to prove they have the requisite ruthlessness that comes with being world champions.
Form guide (last five completed matches, most recent first)
Players to watch
India's top order has often been stuck in the dressing room, watching their team-mates or their opponents cash in when the pitch eases out. None would know that rankle as much as Shikhar Dhawan. He sees the region outside his off stump as if it is poison. His feet are often splayed on leg stump with his hands leading away from him. When in form, he can be fluent through that very region but he needs to last beyond the early overs to rediscover that.
England might be reeling under the impression of being stolid, but in Eoin Morgan they have a batsman that can upset most bowling attacks. His range of strokes often goes beyond the textbook, unlike the top order's which has helped him average 55.50 in the Royal London One-Day Cup. He has Middlesex's lone century so far in the tournament so far and England will hope the seeds he sowed in the domestic circuit bear fruit for them too.
England's batting, if they can live up to potential, can offer challenge. But the composition of their bowling might be of greater concern. They have a left-arm seamer in Harry Gurney with the squad who could offer some variation.
England (probable) 1 Alastair Cook (capt), 2 Alex Hales, 3 Ian Bell, 4 Joe Root, 5 Eoin Morgan, 6 Ben Stokes/ Moeen Ali, 7 Jos Buttler (wk), 8 Chris Woakes, 9 Chris Jordan/ Harry Gurney, 10 James Anderson, 11 James Tredwell
The loss of an opening batsman leaves India with little options. They have flown M Vijay back, but he hasn't arrived in England yet. The team management is likely to promote Ajinkya Rahane to open and employ Ambati Rayudu at No.4.
India (probable) 1 Shikhar Dhawan, 2 Ajinkya Rahane, 3 Virat Kohli, 4 Ambati Rayudu/ Sanju Samson, 5 Suresh Raina, 6 MS Dhoni (capt & wk), 7 Ravindra Jadeja, 8 R Ashwin, 9 Bhuvneshwar Kumar, 10 Mohammed Shami, 11 Umesh Yadav
Pitch and conditions
Trent Bridge has plenty to make up for after the pitch for the opening Test was deemed poor. A chance to redress that comes with the added bonus that rain would be expected to play, at worst, a minimal part. The batsmen can expect a true deck, with Alex Hales, the hometown boy, bashing a century and overpowering a target of 303 last week.
Stats and trivia
- James Anderson averages 19.37 at Trent Bridge, as compared to an overall figure of 28.91
- India have only played four ODIs at Trent Bridge and have lost three of them. Their lone victory was against England in 1990
"We still need to achieve a lot of goals, goals that we have set in team meetings. Hopefully we will do well in upcoming games."
Suresh Raina relays that India are keen to build on their work so far
"We're not hiding behind the fact it was a poor team performance all round but we spoke about it, wiped the slate clean and we've talked about our tactics and we're feeling fresh and confident heading into this game.''
Alex Hales and England are looking for a new start.
Alagappan Muthu is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo