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Tuesday, September 02, 2014

England Tour 2014 ODIs - India win series after 1990

Despite calls to experiment, India took the field today in a mood to dominate the series like never before. There were few points remaining to be ticked from the Indian perspective - the opening combination in both batting and bowling were the key areas. The players responded in telling fashion at Birmingham. The match was finished with 117 balls and 9 wickets to spare. Imagine what had happened just before the ODI series had started. Obviously, colored clothing transforms the Indians into tigers!

The match started with Bhuvneshwar Kumar making use of conditions that are favorable to him. Dhawal Kulkarni, making his debut, was given the new ball but probably nerves got the better of him. He gave away runs at the other end that were releasing the pressure to some extent. MSD immediately made changes to ensure that Shami and Bhuvi not only regained control but took three quick wickets. It was as though Indian bowlers could do no wrong. Just when they were tiring came the lengthy partnership between Root and Morgan.

The Indian spinners then took over and struck regularly. Suresh Raina excelled both with the ball as well as catching to ensure that the pressure continued to remain on the England side. But for some attacking batting by Moeen, the English should have bowled out for a paltry score. The boundaries were dried up by some pointed bowling coupled with smart fielding (the fielding was probably the best in recent ODIs). 173 dot balls out of 297 bowled reflects the stranglehold the Indian bowlers had over their rivals. Similarly, the entire innings saw 16 boundaries (3 sixes in them) - the English could neither rotate the strike nor hit the long boundaries. The result was an easily chasable 207.

Rahane used to open but plays in the middle-order. Rohit Sharma's injury has given him the option to play higher in the order - a good move for India by which they could spot a replacement opener in case Rohit or Dhawan continue to fail. Today, Dhawan came good as well (to be fair, the pitch did not do anything at all) with an almost-century. Rahane's silken touches were great to see but what would have made the Indian fan the most happy would have been the four boundaries off Anderson. Anderson's failure (because of continuous matches in the summer) is one of the reasons why England have not been able to put pressure on the Indians. Once the new balls were seen off, the Indians just changed gears and never looked back. At the end, it was just embarrassing for the English fans to watch. The Indians won a bilateral ODI series in England after 1990 with MSD becoming the best Indian captain (with highest number of wins).

In the next match, these are the changes that India should go with

  1. Sanju Samson for MS Dhoni
  2. Virat Kohli as captain, Suresh Raina as vice-captain
  3. Karn Sharma for Ravindra Jadeja
  4. Umesh Yadav for Bhuvneshwar Kumar
Will they do this and tick another box in testing their bench-strength? I think they will try this. What do you say?
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