The second ODI between India and England is scheduled to be played at the Barabati Stadium in Cuttack on Thursday. The match is of extreme significance in the context of the series; India won the first ODI in Pune and a win in this match will give them the three-match series.
From the visitors’ perspective, this is their last chance to save the series.
Having suffered a 4-0 defeat in the Test series prior to Christmas, the visitors will want to salvage something from this tour and aim to give themselves the chance to win the one-day series when heading to Kolkata.
Where Team India is concerned, they will look to win this match and wrap the series. The Barabati Stadium has been a happy hunting ground for Team India; they have won 11 of the 15 one-day internationals they have played at the venue.
In day-and-night contests at the venue, India have won five matches and lost only once. In fact, the boys in blue have been victorious in each of the last five ODIs they have played at the venue.
England have been victorious in the last three ODI series they have competed in and they will look to make it four series wins in a row by winning this series.
On most days, against most opponents, 350 is plenty of runs on the board and should be sufficient to win matches. But it didn’t happen for England in Pune. If they look back at the Pune ODI, they will realise they could have executed better in three areas:
- The England innings had a total of 116 dot balls. Only the English batsmen will be able to answer if those were a few too many. If only even a few of them had been converted to runs, it could have resulted in a completely different outcome to the match.
- The England team management will rue that though every batsman – barring Alex Hales – got starts, no one went on to post the big scores on a fantastic batting pitch. After having done all the hard work, and when it was time to capitalise on familiarity of conditions and bowlers and accelerate, each of the well-set batsmen perished.
- England also need to closely look at their bowling combination. Did the captain Eoin Morgan get his bowling combination and strategies right? For instance, when Chris Woakes had fantastic figures of 0-12, why was his spell restricted to five overs? Why did Woakes not complete his quota of overs?
England cannot afford any more such slip-ups in this crucial game. They need all their players to contribute more than hundred percent against this Indian team which never gives up.
In Pune, the Indian team’s never-give-up attitude came to the fore after they recovered from 63 for 4 to chase down 351 quite comfortably. And in the thick of things was Virat Kohli, who led from the front in his first game as regular captain of the Indian ODI team.
Virat has had a sensational run as Indian captain – not only in Test cricket, but also in ODIs. In the 18 ODIs he has been in charge, the Indian team have been victorious in 15.
With the bat too, Virat has staggering numbers in the few matches he has helmed the ODI side; he has an aggregate of 972 runs from 15 innings, which includes five centuries and three fifties.
For Thursday’s ODI, Virat, along with coach Anil Kumble, will attempt to address a few things that didn’t go the Indian team’s way in Pune.
- In recent times, the Indian team has had trouble getting starts. In the last six ODIs, India have had opening partnerships of 13, 40, 19, 13, 21 and 49. It is critical that the team gets good starts at the top, for that will disrupt the opponent’s plans and put pressure on the opponent from the very beginning. While Rohit Sharma and Shikhar Dhawan are India’s first-choice opening pair, the team management quickly needs to decide who between KL Rahul and Ajinkya Rahane will be the reserve opener and if the other batsman fits in the team’s scheme of things.
- The other important aspect that needs clarity is the batting order. Where does Yuvraj Singh bat? And MS Dhoni? Who are the team’s first-choice finishers?
- The Indian team needs to quickly devise a way to get rid of Joe Root, who has been a run-machine on this tour of India. The 26-year-old has scored at least a half-century in each of the matches he has played on this tour. India need to find a way to dismiss him early in the innings.
- The off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin has been a match-winner for India in Test cricket and T20 Internationals. But he hasn’t been as effective in the 50-over format. Captain Kohli needs to quickly establish how to utilise him best – does he bring on Ashwin as first-change and bowl his ten overs at a stretch, or should he bowl him in short spells?
The last time an ODI was played at the Barabati Stadium, India scored 363-5 batting first against Sri Lanka. If conditions are similar to the one in that match in November 2014, one can expect an entertaining match yet again.
Follow live updates on the second ODI on our live match blog on The Quint.