Preview : England has been on top of its limited-overs game since its disappointing ICC World Cup 2015. On Sunday (January 15), in the first One-Day International in Pune, it posted 350, the team’s highest ODI score in India. But, despite that, and having India 63 for 4, it lost the match.
Now, after a 4-0 Test drubbing, and going down 0-1 in the three-match series, it finds itself in a must-win situation in the second ODI in Cuttack on Thursday.
A hard and even batting beauty in Pune allowed batsmen from both sides to go hard at the bowling, and 701 runs were amassed. The pitch at the Barabati stadium is also expected to be a batting delight, but the local authorities have backed the black-soil based approach, so that could lead to variable or low bounce.
To suggest that this will worry the two teams, however, would be stretching things. India has a batting line-up replete with talented strokemakers, and England bats deep, all the way to No. 8.
For India, death bowling is a concern. In Pune, it conceded 105 runs in the last eight overs, with only Hardik Pandya and Ravindra Jadeja going for less than 5.5 an over. While Jasprit Bumrah had a rare off day, conceding 53 off his last five overs, he is still Virat Kohli’s best bet to contain runs in the slog overs.
India’s come-from-behind win, sealed by Kohli and Kedar Jadhav’s 200-run fifth-wicket association, also highlighted the side’s opening frailties. Shikhar Dhawan especially will be keen to prove a point and come good in the game.
Jadhav, meanwhile, had a chance to showcase his Dhoni-esque finishing skills. Kohli’s ability in run chases is undisputed, but it was Jadhav’s mesmeric effort and Pandya holding his nerve in the end that gave India’s lower-middle order the belief that they could pull of an improbable chase.
In the last ODI at this venue, India had cantered to a 169-run win over Sri Lanka after posting 363 for 5 in November 2014. Both Dhawan and Ajinkya Rahane had scored a century, while Kohli led the side in Dhoni’s absence. India would certainly hope for an encore.
India: Virat Kohli (captain), Mahendra Singh Dhoni (wk), KL Rahul, Shikhar Dhawan, Manish Pandey, Kedar Jadhav, Yuvraj Singh, Ajinkya Rahane, Hardik Pandya, R Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja, Amit Mishra, Jasprit Bumrah, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Umesh Yadav.
England: Eoin Morgan (capt), Moeen Ali, Jonathan Bairstow, Jake Ball, Sam Billings, Jos Buttler (wk), Liam Dawson, Alex Hales, , Liam Plunkett, Adil Rashid, Joe Root, Jason Roy, Ben Stokes, David Willey, Chris Woakes.