As India look to seal series, England suffer Morgan blow - GulfToday

As India look to seal series, England suffer Morgan blow


England’s Jason Roy (right) and wicketkeeper Josh Buttler during a practice session ahead of their second ODI match against India in Pune on Friday. Agence France-Presse

England captain Eoin Morgan will miss the last two one-day internationals against India in Pune, the England and Wales Cricket Board announced Thursday.

The batsman has been ruled out after sustaining a split in the webbing between the thumb and index finger of his right hand while fielding during England’s 66-run defeat in Tuesday’s series opener, an injury that required four stitches.

Former Ireland international Morgan went through a fielding drill during training at the MCA Stadium in Pune on Thursday and afterwards declared himself unfit. Jos Buttler will captain 50-over world champions England in Morgan’s absence, with Liam Livingstone set to make his ODI debut in Friday’s second match of the series.

“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,” said Morgan in an ECB statement.

England batsman Sam Billings will also be unavailable for Friday, with a decision on his availability for Sunday’s final match yet to be taken.

Billings did not train on Thursday after he suffered a bruised left collarbone while fielding on Tuesday. Dawid Malan, with the tour party as cover, has been drafted into the squad and is available for selection.

India meanwhile, will look to seal the three-match series against England in the second One-day International at the Maharashtra Cricket Association Stadium on Friday.

The Virat Kohli-led side won the first ODI by 66 runs. The victory was scripted largely by the performances of youngsters, pace bowler M. Prasidh Krishna and all-rounder Krunal Pandya, both debutants.

India will miss middle-order batsman Shreyas Iyer who dislocated his left shoulder during the first ODI and it will be interesting to see who India play in his place. Suryakumar Yadav can replace him.

India’s strength has been their pace bowlers’ ability to use change of pace to make things difficult for the English batsmen.

England 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.

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.

STOKES INSISTS ENGLAND TO REMAIN AGGRESSIVE: England will not change their aggressive style of play even if they lose the one day series against India, after their defeats in the Test and Twenty20 games, Ben Stokes insisted on Thursday.

England must beat India in Pune on Friday to keep alive their hopes of winning the series. Defeat could see them lose their number one world ODI ranking to India. “We would be bitterly disappointed to lose a series as we would with any other one,” said Stokes, who was the hero of England’s World Cup triumph in 2019.

“We deserve to be number one because of our results and the way we play our cricket and we won’t go away from that.”

No longer being number one would not be the end of the world, the star all-rounder said.

“Our driving force is the way we go about it and our attitude towards playing the game.

“That is what has made us be successful and the more successful we are then the more opportunities we have got to be at number one.

“So our driving force is making sure we stay true to ourselves and our belief in how we play the game -- and that is something we will not change.”

England were thrashed by 66 runs in the first game, adding to alarm bells after their 3-2 defeat in the T20s and 3-1 loss in the Tests. “We know we are a much better team than that,” said Stokes.

“We are bitterly disappointed but what we have been very good at is putting previous games to bed quickly whether we have had a successful game or a poor game, and all our concentration will be on tomorrow.”

Stokes also said England would not be panicked into changing their batting lineup. He has played at number three for the one day games because of the absence of Joe Root.

“Just because we lost the T20 series doesn’t mean we need to start changing things around.

“When we win nobody says too much but when we lose everyone starts to pipe up again. I am happy where everything is in our white ball team because that is our best formula to win.”

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