Battle of batting heavyweights in the series opener

A five-wicket haul, a century and three nerve-wracking matches. The three-match T20I series lived up to its expectations with India emerging victorious in the third and final match. The hosts will look to carry their confidence and the momentum into the three-match ODI series starting Thursday in Trent Bridge.

The ODI series will also be a platform for team India to try and test their team combinations ahead of the 2019 World Cup in England. Before the series kick-starts, here’s all that you need to read about the first ODI.

From the Indian dugout:

Jasprit Bumrah’s loss and Bhuvneshwar Kumar’s stiff back will mean that India will take the field without two of their premier seamers. While Kumar’s availability is still a mystery, this is an opportunity for the likes of Siddharth Kaul and Shardul Thakur to take up the responsibility and prove their mettle. Umesh Yadav is expected to lead the attack.

India’s investment in wrist-spin has been productive. After last year’s Champions Trophy, India moved away from the services of Jadeja and Ashwin on flat English tracks so the real test for India’s spin-twins - Yuzvendra Chahal and Kuldeep Yadav begins now.

India can afford to play a seamer less with Hardik Pandya living up to his reputation of being a genuine all-rounder. The way he bounced back at Bristol to break England’s back impressed India’s skipper Virat Kohli who heaped praises on the Mumbai Indians’ stalwart in the post-match presentation.

Rohit Sharma made the Country Ground in Bristol look like Wankhede on his way to a 56-ball hundred. He made a mockery of the fence and cleared it five times during his match-winning ton. He will be England’s biggest threat on a Trent Bridge wicket which is expected to be another belter but with comparatively larger boundaries.

His opening partner Shikhar Dhawan will look to get back among runs with KL Rahul posing a serious threat to his position but right now, it only looks like a situation with both of them playing.

Virat Kohli gave away his number three position in the T20Is so to fit Rahul, we can again expect him to bat at number four. Suresh Raina did a decent job, but the prolific left-hander will be put under pressure by the presence of Shreyas Iyer, who also scored heavily in the recently concluded ‘A’ tri-series.

MS Dhoni will likely bat at number six or five depending on the situation with the hard-hitting Hardik Pandya to follow.

India also have the likes of Axar Patel and Dinesh Karthik available for selection.

From the English dugout:

England may not have won their last limited overs match, but the hosts will have fond memories of playing ODI cricket in Trent Bridge. In the last two completed matches, England have re-written history. They made 444/3 in 2016 against Pakistan and bettered it by piling 481/6 against Australia just over three weeks back.

Jason Roy and Jonny Bairstow open the batting in the 50-over format. While Roy top scored in Bristol, Bairstow couldn’t make a big impact in the T20Is. The explosive right-hander will be eager to score at a batting-friendly Trent Bridge wicket.

Alex Hales and Joe Root are the contenders for the number three and four position which makes England’s top-order look all the more formidable.

Further down, they’ve got the experience of Eoin Morgan and the red-hot form of Jos Buttler. If this isn’t enough, England also have the services of Ben Stokes and Moeen Ali to choose from.

While England’s batting looks lethal, their bowling doesn’t seem to look like a threat to the likes of Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli and Co. Jake Ball, Tom Curran, David Willey and Mark Wood are the four regular seamers in the squad for England.

A lot will also depend on how Adil Rashid bowls his full-quota. He was able to cause problems to Suresh Raina and MS Dhoni in the second T20I but when India’s batsmen will have time up their sleeve to knock him around, the battle will be different.

Overall, one can expect this to be a run-feast when the two sides loaded with heavy batting artillery clash at Trent Bridge in Nottingham on July 12.


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