After 2018 and 2021, it will be the third time that an ODI series between England and India will enter a winner-takes-it-all decider match. Sunday at Old Trafford in Manchester will see both England and India take the field to decide who ends this trip on a high: hosts on visitors.
With less than 18 months to go for the 2023 Men’s Cricket World Cup to be hosted by India, the three-match series has been a medium for England to see how they are standing in life post-Eoin Morgan’s retirement and what they would need more to firm up their plans for a title defence in the subcontinent.
After being blown away by Jasprit Bumrah’s six-fer at The Oval, England gave the same treatment to India at Lord’s through tall left-arm quick Reece Topley’s 6-24, with good support from fellow left-arm quick David Willey and lower-order runs of Willey as well as Moeen Ali rescuing them from a top-six meltdown after Yuzvendra Chahal struck in middle overs. They would like for Jason Roy to find his mojo back at the top.
For India, the opening pair of Rohit Sharma and Shikhar Dhawan chased down 111 at The Oval without breaking a sweat. But at Lord’s, where England had helpful conditions, they were just unable to break free, as the hosts made swift inroads to bounce back in the series.
The pressure from Topley and Willey was such that Rishabh Pant got out for a two-ball duck off a full toss from pacer Brydon Carse trying to make a case for himself as a middle-overs enforcer.
The scrutiny lens on talismanic batter Virat Kohli is set to go up a notch, too. Kohli’s prolonged lean patch has been the burning question and a matter of intense debate among cricket followers, especially with a Men’s T20 World Cup in Australia just three months away.
Another low score at Manchester will increase the decibel levels on Kohli’s lean patch, who has been without an international century since November 2019.
With Sharma stressing on the batters to take up an attacking approach to avoid top-order collapses and get more out of lower order runs, the series decider at Manchester could be the perfect place for India and Kohli to make up for all the previous shortcomings and provide an extension of their attacking batting approach from T20Is to clinch their second series on trot after winning T20I series 2-1.
England: Jos Buttler (Captain), Moeen Ali, Jonny Bairstow, Joe Root, Ben Stokes, Harry Brook, Brydon Carse, Sam Curran, Liam Livingstone, Craig Overton, Matthew Parkinson, Jason Roy, Phil Salt, Reece Topley and David Willey.
India: Rohit Sharma (Captain), Shikhar Dhawan, Ishan Kishan, Virat Kohli, Suryakumar Yadav, Shreyas Iyer, Rishabh Pant (wicketkeeper), Hardik Pandya, Ravindra Jadeja, Shardul Thakur, Yuzvendra Chahal, Axar Patel, Jasprit Bumrah, Prasidh Krishna, Mohammed Shami, Mohammed Siraj and Arshdeep Singh.