Free Press Journal

India eye series win

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Men in blue will look to continue their winning run against England.

London : A high-on-confidence India look set to wrap up another series on the UK tour unless England find a way to tackle the marauding Kuldeep Yadav when the two teams clash in the second and penultimate ODI at Lord’s here on Saturday.

It is a short turn-around from the first ODI at Trent Bridge, as also from the T20I series that finished 2-1 in India’s favour earlier.


Perhaps the game was scheduled for Saturday, keeping in mind the FIFA WC final on Sunday.

But, with only a day’s gap between the two matches, it hasn’t worked out in England’s favour who have their task cut out once again after going down by eight wickets in the series opener.

In conditions resembling those in Manchester, in terms of a dry pitch, the English batsmen failed to comprehend Kuldeep’s wrist spin. Like at Old Trafford, he was also helped by the breeze blowing across the ground and gained drift, bamboozling the batsmen to pick his best figures in ODI cricket.

Unlike in the T20I series, England do not have the option of battling this phenomenon with a practice outing against the spin-bowling machine, Merlyn.

With both teams travelled to London on Friday, there might not even be enough time to sit down for some video analysis. In that light, the English batsmen will have to contend mentally with how to play Yadav on Saturday. Skipper Eoin Morgan didn’t play the best shot against Yuzvendra Chahal either. Yadav outfoxed both Jonny Bairstow and Joe Root, with the latter in particular looking all at sea.

India, meanwhile, are unbeaten in bilateral ODI series since the tour of Australia in January 2016.

They have won nine successive contests thereafter, with the 2017 Champions Trophy the only tournament wherein they failed to return with a trophy.

Barring any unforeseen fitness issues, the same playing eleven could feature at Lord’s. Bhuvneshwar Kumar was seen bowling at Trent Bridge ahead of the first ODI, albeit the team management might not want to rush him back in view of sterner challenges ahead.

It will be a comfortable bus journey from Nottingham to London for the Men in Blue. In the knowledge that just six days after drawing first blood on this long tour, they now have a chance to register another serious blow to England. Wrapping up the ODIs with a 2-0 unassailable will also close the gap between the two sides in the ICC rankings. More importantly, it will hand over bragging rights to India ahead of the five-Test series.

Teams:

India: Virat Kohli (c), Shikhar Dhawan, Rohit Sharma, KL Rahul, MS Dhoni (wk), Dinesh Karthik, Suresh Raina, Hardik Pandya, Kuldeep Yadav, Yuzvendra Chahal, Shreyas Iyer, Siddarth Kaul, Axar Patel, Umesh Yadav, Shardul Thakur, Bhuvneshwar Kumar.

England: Eoin Morgan (c), Jason Roy, Jonny Bairstow, Jos Buttler (wk), Moeen Ali, Joe Root, Jake Ball, Tom Curran, Dawid Malan, Liam Plunkett, Ben Stokes, Adil Rashid, David Willey, Mark Wood.

Match starts at 3.30 pm IST.