For a change, India altered their image of slow-starters as they initiated the proceedings through a comprehensive 66-run victory over England in the series-opener of the three-match ODI series. It took no less than five series for India to restrict their rut of losing the first game before they would – often – go onto pull things miraculously to pocket them.
Both India’s victory and England’s loss were emblematic of the nature of this great sport: it is never over until it is over. It will be trite to state that everything is possible in cricket, but England’s innings of two halves in the first ODI is certainly the most recent addition to that everything-is-possible list. How else does one define the kind of defeat they suffered? A dramatic collapse from 135 for 0 in 14 overs in a 318-chase to 251 all out?
The degree of carnage that the Indian bowlers wrecked was no less than one that Roy and Bairstow caused at the top of the order during England’s chase. It was a game defined by comebacks and change of fortunes, and each time England threw India under the pump, they roared their way back in a way that the visitors had nowhere to search for answers. Unlike the Roy-Bairstow’s blitz of a start – 89/0 in the first 10 – Indian openers Dhawan and Rohit mustered merely 39.
And even as Dhawan played a typically fluent ODI knock during a 105-run stand for the second wicket with Virat Kohli, who got a well-paced 56 himself, England seemingly quashed India’s hopes for a sturdy finish, accounting for two main middle-order guns – Shreyas Iyer and Hardik Pandya – for nearly nothing. India turned it around. And through whom? A man who needed a turnaround of his own desperately (read: KL Rahul) and an emotional debutant, Krunal Pandya, who vroomed to the quickest ODI half-century on debut.
Once beyond 300, Indian bowlers had sufficient to defend, but it still takes something to defeat that kind of an order of batsmen that England boasts and their skipper is proud of. For another debutant, Prasidh Krishna, things were not one-tenth as merry as for Krunal. Prasidh leaked runs at the pace at which Krunal scored them. But if England’s innings was one of two halves, so was Prasidh’s spell: 37 runs for no wicket in his first three overs, followed by 4/17 in the next 5.1, to finish with the best figures by an Indian on ODI debut.
The Indian pacers, who scalped nine of England’s 10 that night, ensured that the KL-Krunal show was not India’s last turnaround for the day. But that it did occur was not only thanks to the Indian pacers’ ability and belief but also England’s overly aggressive approach. Perhaps, the only way to lose in a chase of 183 from 35 overs with 9 wickets in hands – what England needed after the fall of Roy – was that approach. One that has now cost England three failed chases in three games on the trot running since the 4th T20I in Ahmedabad.
With the series on the line tomorrow, should they change that? Maybe (not). Will they change that? Definitely not. “Sometimes that doesn’t work because we don’t get it right but for us losing like that is way better than losing by 10-15 runs playing in a different manner, that doesn’t suit us. This is the way we play and this is the way we will continue to play”, said Morgan, after the loss.
Pitch and conditions
Pune has had a reputation of being a belter, and the track was near that in the first ODI. The value it offers was on display in parts, although bowlers from both sides discovered that chipping away with regular wickets can still make things jolly for them. What might not be possible, however, is keeping batsmen quiet for too long in the middle. Expect another warm evening and another sensational batting track where bagging regular wickets will be the only escape for bowlers.
Playing combinations for India vs England
Shreyas Iyer was taken for scans after subluxation in his shoulder while fielding, an injury that has ruled him out of not only the current series but has even put his IPL participation in jeopardy. India’s spectacular bench strength would not let them miss Iyer much, with Suryakumar Yadav, Rishabh Pant, and Shubman Gill warming the bench. Rohit Sharma did not take field either after he copped a blow on his elbow from a Mark Wood delivery. Kuldeep Yadav, after a fairly average outing, might pave way for Yuzvendra Chahal.
Predicted XI: Shikhar Dhawan, Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli (C), Rishabh Pant/Suryakumar Yadav, KL Rahul (WK), Hardik Pandya, Krunal Pandya, Shardul Thakur, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Kuldeep Yadav/Yuzvendra Chahal, Prasidh Krishna
Eoin Morgan, who split the webbing and batted with stitches in the previous ODI, and Sam Billings, who injured his collar bone, remain doubtful for the second ODI. England’s idea to promote Ben Stokes at number three did not materialize, and with a couple of injuries, it seems that Liam Livingstone is in line for making his ODI debut. With Adil Rashid and Moeen Ali being in the mix, the addition of Matt Parkinson seems improbable. Reece Topley might make in. England has three covers in Dawid Malan, Chris Jordan, and Jake Ball.
Predicted XI: Jason Roy, Jonny Bairstow, Liam Livingstone, Dawid Malan/Eoin Morgan (C), Ben Stokes, Jos Buttler (WK), Moeen Ali, Sam Curran, Reece Topley/Tom Curran, Adil Rashid, Mark Wood
IND vs ENG Head to Head
Played – 101 | India – 54 | England – 42 | Tie/NR – 5
Played – 49 | India – 32 | England – 16 | Tie/NR – 1
IND vs ENG Broadcast Details
Match Timings – 1:30 PM IST
TV – Star Sports Network
Live Streaming – Disney+Hotstar
Source: The source of this content is our cricket news platform Crictracker.
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