Upbeat India eye series

Red-Hot: Opener Rohit Sharma's form augurs well for India ahead of the second ODI against England at Lord's. Reuters

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.

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 travelling to London on Friday, there might not even be enough time to sit down for some video analysis. 

It will be easier said than done. Some of it is down to shot selection. At 70-odd for no loss after 10 overs, Jason Roy didn’t need to play the two reverse sweeps in two overs against the wrist spinners, the second resulting in his dismissal. Skipper Eoin Morgan didn’t play the best shot against Yuzvendra Chahal either. Kuldeep outfoxed both Jonny Bairstow and Joe Root, with the latter in particular looking all at sea.

It has been a poor ten days for Root, and England’s prime batsman for the summer is looking bereft of any confidence. This was the third time in three innings that he was out to wrist spin, falling to googlies in the two T20Is he played. A sharp leg break did the job at Trent Bridge, in what is quickly becoming a problem for Root.

Jos Buttler could be elevated in the batting order once again. He looked the most composed amongst English batsmen and extended his good run of form to get another half-century under his belt, albeit batting too low at number six.

Alex Hales has now been ruled out of the entire ODI series owing to a side strain. He had earlier been ruled out of the first ODI, with the team management keeping an eye on his recovery for the remaining two games. Middlesex batsman Dawid Malan will stay with the England squad for the second ODI.

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.

 

 

 

 

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Upbeat India eye series

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