India need early wickets in series decider; Bairstow can break batting records: Buttler - GulfToday

India need early wickets in series decider; Bairstow can break batting records: Buttler


Virat Kohli. File

India and England will lock horns in the third and final One-Day International (ODI) which will decide the winner of the ongoing three-match series here at the Maharashtra Cricket Association Stadium on Sunday.

After India had won the first match by 66 runs, defending 317 runs, England came back into the series hammering the hosts by six wickets in the second match on Friday. They chased the 337-run target in the 44th over.

While the Indian bowlers excelled in the first game as they ran through the English middle-order, they looked easy meat in the second game on Friday.

Spinners Kuldeep Yadav and Krunal Pandya, who were the fourth and fifth bowlers for India, were a let-down, going for 156 runs in their 16 overs. In comparison, England’s spinners Moeen Ali and Adil Rashid were much better. India could rest Chinaman Kuldeep and replace him with leg-spinner Yuzvendra Chahal, who has been Kohli’s other trump card spinner in the ODI set-up. Chahal was not picked in the playing XI for the last two T20Is and the first ODI after he conceded quite a few runs in the initial games of the T20 series.

The pacers have performed well but they have not been effective with the new ball in both the games.

England openers Jason Roy and Jonny Bairstow have been allowed to set up century stands in both the one-dayers, showing Indian bowlers’ weakness in their ability to exploit the new ball.

Newcomer M. Prasidh Krishna admitted that they need to take early wickets.

“Personally I would like to start better. I would like to improve on how I have been starting, bowling with the new ball,” he said.

Allowing a good start to the England openers can be dangerous considering the visitors have a power-packed batting line-up. In fact, their strength in ODIs in recent times has been their batting.

Apart from the openers, the Indians also need to be wary of Ben Stokes who was in a murderous mood in Friday’s match, batting at No. 3. The left-hander clobbered a 52-ball 99 to take the game away from India.

The home team’s batting has, however, looked good with K.L. Rahul coming good in the middle-order and Shreyas Iyer’s replacement in the second ODI, Rishabh Pant scoring a swashbuckling 77 off 40 deliveries. Focus will also be on skipper Virat Kohli who has scored four consecutive half-centuries in ODIs but has failed to convert it into a century.

Both teams, inside the top three of ICC rankings, are known to play fearless cricket. And they take pride in doing that.

Meanwhile, England’s stand-in captain Jos Buttler has backed top batsman Bairstow to become the country’s leading century scorer after his 124 against India helped England level the series going into Sunday’s final game.

Bairstow -- with Ben Stokes’ 52-ball 99 -- powered England to victory in the second of the three-game series, and he said afterwards that he wanted to have the most one-day hundreds for England.

He now has 11 centuries from 85 games, five behind Joe Root, who leads with 16, and just behind Marcus Trescothick on 12 and Eoin Morgan on 13.

“Jonny has been in unbelievable form for the last few years for us, he has been one of the world’s leading batsmen in ODI cricket and he has been amazing to watch,” said Buttler, who is replacing the injured Morgan as captain.

Buttler said the England team wanted to push back “boundaries” with their attacking play and the record was there for the taking for Bairstow, who has been in the world’s top 10 for several years.


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