Buoyed by their chase of 351 on Super Sunday, India will be keen to claim the series as the second match gets underway
Buoyed by their chase of 351 on Super Sunday, India will be keen to claim the series as the second match gets underway at Cuttack on Thursday. In a three-match series, it is very difficult for a side that has gone 0-1 down to come back. England are now faced with the herculean task. Apart from their current confidence, their past record at the venue also backs India. This has been one of their most successful venues as they have won 11 of the 15 matches played here. England, on the other hand, need to get their act together. It will be difficult following the Pune debacle, but they have no other option to stay alive.
What would have pleased India most about their triumph at Pune was the adverse circumstances from which they recovered to win with rather ease in the end. Chasing 351, they lost four wickets for under 70, but Virat Kohli yet again held things together and came up with another champion knock. But, it was Kedar Jadhav's innings that stunned England and India as well, but the latter in a positive manner. Jadhav played some scintillating strokes, and never allowed the pressure to build. Considering that India could not afford to lose another wicket at that stage, it was a chanceless innings. England skipper Eoin Morgan admitted that they were caught off-guard by Jadhav as they were concentrating on the Kohli threat.
India though still need some work to do on their batting. It will be difficult for them to recover from losing so many early wickets every time. It is thus imperative for their top and middle order to fire. Shikhar Dhawan has not been having a great time in international cricket of late. Dropped from the Tests, and then getting injured, he needs to get runs in ODIs to keep his place. With Ajinkya Rahane, Lokesh Rahul and the injured Rohit Sharma in the wings, Dhawan needs to perform, and do it now. Rahul himself will have to display better consistency. Given the current scenario, there will also be pressure on Yuvraj Singh and MS Dhoni to perform.
Even if one considers the pitch at Pune as a batting beauty, India's bowling was still highly disappointing. They bowled a lot of boundary balls, which were easily dispatched for fours. Ravichandran Ashwin was the most poor of all. Unlike in the Tests, he could not stop the flow of runs, neither could he get among the wickets. Better will definitely be expected of him at Cuttack. Jasprit Bumrah had a rare off day as he was taken for plenty. He will be looking to make amends. The same applies to Umesh Yadav as well. Of all the bowlers, Hardik Pandya was the one who managed to make a decent impact. In fact, he had a good all-round game.
England would be absolutely deflated with the manner in which they were outdone on Sunday. But, this is one team that is certainly capable of beating India. They were very good with the bat as Jason Roy, Joe Root and Ben Stokes all hit fine fifties. Runs though would be expected from Alex Hales. Eoin Morgan and Jos Buttler played good cameos, but they need to do more. Overall, they would be pleased with their batting though. Like India, bowling would be their worry. Apart from David Willey and Chris Woakes' early breakthroughs, they never really made an impact. The ease with which India played Adil Rashid and Moeen Ali was worrisome. England would need to figure a way out to trouble India with spin.