Over to Lord's now for next slice of action

Over to Lord's now for next slice of action

Desperate India must win to keep hopes of squaring series alive

Over to Lord's now for next slice of action

The batting has more resilience now and the energy the youngsters have brought to the field is apparent but MS Dhoni hasn’t been able to fix that missing link in the jigsaw puzzle.

Having harboured hopes of a win in the abandoned first one-dayer at Chester-le-Street, the reigning World champions once again sighted their first international win of the tour on Friday night at The Oval only to be denied in the end as the hosts raced to an unbeatable 2-0 lead in the five-match series. Obviously, India can’t win the trophy from this stage but they can salvage something if they manage to win the next two matches, the first of which will be played at Lord’s on Sunday.

Ravindra Jadeja made a stirring return to international cricket, winning man of the match award for his fine all-round show within 24 hours of his arrival. The left-hander successfully slipped into the fifth bowler’s slot sorting one of Dhoni’s many headaches but with more than one regular bowler proving ineffective, the Jharkhandi once again had to return empty-handed.

Disappointing as India’s performance has been on this tour, Dhoni has severely been handicapped by the absence of eight of his first-choice players and having been forced to field the fresh arrivals at short notices. Manoj Tiwary had to pad up a few hours after his arrival in Southampton while Jadeja had slightly more time in hand before he got on with business. Despite the challenges in difficult conditions and the inadequacies in the ranks, India haven’t at any stage looked like they have given up on fight.

“That is one thing where we have been good,” Dhoni remarked talking about team’s morale. “The boys are very excited in the sense that when they turn up on the field, they want to give more than 100 per cent whether it is a practice session or in a match. When it comes to the motivational factor we are not really down and out. At times luck has not been with us but the morale has been good, you will win quite a few games and lose quite a few but what is important is to not get over-confident or get into depression,” he offered.

On Sunday, India will need to bring to the table more than just the motivation against England who will be keen to win the match and clinch the series. There is a strong possibility of rain affecting the match in which case Alastair Cook’s men would win the rubber before the Cardiff game on September 16.

“We’re delighted to be 2-0 up but we've come here to win the series,” said Cook after a nervy three-wicket win at The Oval. “We’re another step closer to doing that. It’s a very quick turnaround to Lord’s but the biggest positive is the way we handled that pressure towards the end — a lot of credit to the way Ravi Bopara played especially, backed up by Tim Bresnan.”

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