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Thursday, August 28, 2014

England Tour 2014 ODIs - Convincing win for India

304 runs. 133 runs. 10 wickets. Those were the total India scored in their 50 overs, the margin of win in the 2nd ODI (after the 1st ODI was washed out) as well as the number of England wickets taken correspondingly. Based on the latest performance in the test series, these numbers were music for Indian fans not just at Cardiff but across the globe.

The opening batsmen were different from the last two that opened in the test series (Old Trafford and Oval) to their credit, they did spend some time to gauge the pace at the beginning of the innings (even though the pitch was no way comparable to those tests). Dhawan threw it away edging to the keeper but Rohit Sharma carried on - he will be under pressure to retain his place not just for this series but also the West Indies ODIs. Virat Kohli tried to be aggressive by running down the pitch to the third ball he faced (not sure what he was thinking) - this move also failed just like the other shots he manufactured during the tests. It might be good for Kohli to take a break in the next ODI to take his mind off. This might actually help him better than continuing to play all games (as he has done - not  just the international games but also the warm-up matches).

Rahane, even though he could not convert his score to a bigger one, seems to be a good choice to play at No. 4 - a batsmen strong in technique who can be the bedrock of the innings in case of a collapse. Especially when Cheteshwara Pujara has not been able to replicate his successes in the shorter format, Rahane is the perfect choice to have in the batting lineup. Just like Suresh Raina is at home where he played yesterday - this gives him the opportunity to rotate strike initially and then go for the big hits in the  last 15 overs. The Indian team now have their strategy clear - ensure that wickets are saved during the first 10 overs, start rotating strike with occasional risk during overs 11-35 and then launch into all-out attack from 36 over (when the PowerPlay overs start again). This seemed to work during the second ODI and there is no reason why they should change this method.

Ashwin and Jadeja have been getting the quick runs in the  two-three overs they get at  the end of the innings while turning their arm for useful wickets. Against teams who are weak against spin, these bowlers were a handful. How they will fare on unresponsive (for them) wickets and stronger (against spin) batsmen remains to be seen. As of now, they will continue for the rest of the matches (unless India win another ODI and the think-tank decide to give Karn Sharma a chance). The pace bowlers did well, especially Mohit Sharma even though he did not get any wicket. There will be days when he will get wickets by the bucket but in this ODI, Shami reaped the benefits. After the poor form in the tests, Shami kind-of redeemed himself but it will be good for him to continue the performance for the rest of the matches. Is the Indian team trying to tire Bhuvi out by playing him for all the matches? Isn't it time he is rested?

Overall, the Indian team ticked all the boxes in this ODI but the series is not over. It is resembling the test series in that there was no decision in the first test and ODI, India won the 2nd match (in both series). What should happen now that the Indian team continue to win instead of going the route the test series ended up. Lets hope the think-tank can guide the team to victory. First ODI win in the third overseas series is a good start but the game is not over.
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