Injured Morgan, Iyer Out as India Look to Complete ‘Hat-Trick’
India have beaten England in the Test and T20I series during their current tour.
India will look to seal the three-match series against England in the second ODI itself when the teams take the field on Friday night at the Maharashtra Cricket Association Stadium in Pune.
The Virat Kohli-led side won the first ODI by 66 runs with the victory scripted largely by the performances of the two debutants- pace bowler M. Prasidh Krishna and all-rounder Krunal Pandya.
India will be missing the services middle-order batsman Shreyas Iyer who dislocated his left shoulder during the first ODI and it will be interesting to see who the hosts play in his place with Suryakumar Yadav seeming like one of the front-runners for the spot.
England though have more troubles with injuries with their skipper Eoin Morgan ruled out of the series due to an injury with Sam Billings also unavailable for the second ODI after injuring his collarbone in the series-opener on Tuesday.
Jos Buttler will captain England in Morgan’s absence and Liam Livingstone will make his ODI debut on Friday.
India's strength has been their pace bowlers' ability to use the change of pace to make things difficult for the English batsmen. England’s pace bowlers, on the other hand, are a bit one-dimensional as they have not been able to master, or use, the change in pace. And to add to their woes, their strike bowler Jofra Archer is out of the ODI series due to injury.
England have also not been able to conjure up the form that won them the 2019 World Cup. They have lost four of the last five matches they have played, including the previous game.
The visitors' middle-order batting has struggled throughout the six shorter format matches in India. Even in the first ODI, while the openers provided a blistering start, raising 135 in just over 14 overs, the middle and lower-order came unstuck against India's tight and inspired bowling.
Adding to their woes will be the absence of skipper Eoin Morgan who sustained a split webbing between his thumb and index finger in Tuesday's series opener, an injury that required four stitches.
The captain went through a fielding drill during training at the MCA Stadium on Thursday and afterwards declared himself unfit.
Morgan said: "I had the hand re-dressed before the start of training today but it quickly became apparent that I found myself protecting the injury and getting into the wrong positions to catch the ball.
"There's nowhere to hide on the field in international cricket these days, especially in limited-over formats so it didn't require any great thought to make myself unavailable," he added.
"It was a freak injury and it's extremely frustrating but there's nothing I can do about it. It's now just a case of letting the cut heal. I have every confidence in Jos and the rest of the squad coping without me."
India, on the other hand, came into this series after two successive ODI series losses in New Zealand early last year and in Australia, in late last year. Playing in familiar conditions has been a change and has helped them. They look like a well-oiled machine.
If India win this game, it will be a hat-trick of wins across the three formats against England in the ongoing tour.
India had beaten England in the Test series 3-1 and won the T20 International series 3-2.
(With inputs from IANS)
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