England face true test of ODI skills and mindset to keep series alive
Is this looming as a summer of torment by spin for England? The signs are heading that way. The weather continues to be hot, the pitches are dry and there are some masterful tweakers in the opposition. Eoin Morgan was putting on a brave face after his side succumbed to Kuldeep Yadav for the second time in a couple of weeks – and there is an element of truth in his comments that England won’t see many of his style – but they need a swift response at Lord’s.
They showed it was possible during the T20 series, winning Cardiff after Kuldeep’s matchwinning haul at Old Trafford, with such effectiveness that Kuldeep didn’t play the deciding match in Bristol. How India manage their new wunderkind will be fascinating; he has the potential to cause all manner of problems.
But it wasn’t only the impact of Kuldeep that was a concern for England. Their formidable record over the last few years has been built on the immense batting that can either set a huge target or chase one down. Now they are facing an opposition who can do the same. Chasing 268 there posed no scoreboard pressure on India, but the way they cantered to victory suggested that another 100 runs would have been well within grasp as well. There has been a challenge laid down to England’s bowlers as well as their batsmen.
England will hope that the venues for the next two matches – Lord’s and Headingley – will provide conditions more conducive to them, but they are facing a side who appear to have most bases covered.
(last five completed matches, most recent first)
In the spotlight
Ben Stokes has rarely had to work harder for his runs than in Nottingham. His 102-ball fifty was the second slowest by an England player in ODIs since 2001 and by 39 balls Stokes’ slowest in ODIs. Until his reverse sweep against Kuldeep – just as England wanted a late push – he was at least able to survive, even if not always convincingly but could not put the pressure back on India’s bowlers. Some rustiness is to be expected after a lengthy lay-off but England need him to move through the gears quickly.
Virat Kohli is a man on a mission this tour – and he’s starting to tick with the bat. His 75 at Trent Bridge included some supreme shots, it was a surprise when he was beaten by a neat legbreak from Adil Rashid and stumped for just the third time in his career. Kohli has only played two previous matches at Lord’s – an ODI in 2011 and a Test 2014 – making 41 runs in three innings. His chance of a defining moment will come in August during the Test series, but do not be surprised if he graces the famous ground with something special this weekend.
England tend not to overreact to a defeat so they could easily go with the same XI. Dawid Malan is now a permanent member of the squad after Alex Hales’ injury while Sam Curran and Jake Ball are there if they want to freshen up the pace attack.
England (probable) 1 Jason Roy, 2 Jonny Bairstow, 3 Joe Root, 4 Eoin Morgan (capt), 5 Ben Stokes, 6 Jos Buttler (wk), 7 Moeen Ali, 8 David Willey, 9 Adil Rashid, 10 Liam Plunkett, 11 Mark Wood
The only change India are likely to consider is bringing back Bhuvneshwar Kumar if he has recovered from his back niggle. He would replace Siddarth Kaul.
India (probable) 1 Rohit Sharma, 2 Shikhar Dhawan, 3 Virat Kohli (capt), 4 KL Rahul, 5 MS Dhoni (wk), 6 Suresh Raina, 7 Hardik Pandya, 8 Siddarth Kaul, 9 Kuldeep Yadav, 10 Yuzvendra Chahal, 11 Umesh Yadav
Pitch and conditions
Lord’s generally produces true pitches for one-day cricket although the bowlers can be in the game. England’s last outing there, albeit on a grassy surface that is unlikely to be seen this time, saw then 20 for 6 against South Africa. There was turn on offer in the recent Royal London Cup final. The forecast is for another warm, sunny day.
Stats and trivia
MS Dhoni remains 33 runs short of 10,000 in ODIs.
Kuldeep Yadav needs five wickets to reach 50 in ODIs. If he does it with another five-wicket bag at Lord’s he would become the second fastest man to the milestone (22 matches) after Ajantha Mendis
The last time England lost two consecutive ODIs was 35 matches ago in January 2017 when they faced India in Pune and Cuttack; their last ODI series defeat at home was against Australia in 2015
“You have to give credit where it is due, he did bowl well and we need to clarify our plans and commit to them and just be better.”
Eoin Morgan on the Kuldeep factor