With the series already in the bag, India would look to inflict more damage when they take on England in the third ODI at the Eden Gardens in Kolkata on Sunday. The hosts would look to complete a whitewash over England and address any chinks in their armour in their final ODI before the Champions Trophy to be held in England in June. Two matches and two 350 plus scores for India. Superlative batting performances by India in both the first and second ODI has seen them score in excess of 350 on both occasions. England batting has also been doing well and they came within touching distance of India’s mammoth score of 381/6 in second ODI in Cuttack. Bowling, however, will be a concern for both teams.
Both set of bowlers have been somewhat undisciplined in the previous two ODIs and will be looking for a better performance on Sunday.
Virat Kohli will know that India’s death bowling is a cause of concern and will be hoping his bowlers turn up for the final ODI. Meanwhile, England have had a disastrous tour so far, having failed to win even a single match.
After their 4-0 drubbing in the Tests, a lot more was expected from the England ODI side, led by Eoin Morgan. However, they have seen two masterful partnerships, in the previous two matches, that have floored them completely.
In the first match, it was captain Virat Kohli and Kedar Jadhav who knocked the wind out of the English, while in Cuttack it was India’s golden oldies Yuvraj Singh and Mahendra Singh Dhoni.
For India, the performance of Shikhar Dhawan and KL Rahul will be worrying. In both matches the openers failed miserably, putting immense pressure on the middle-order.
India will need to iron out their mistakes at the top of the order before the Champions Trophy comes calling. Dhawan has been given the long rope time and again. Consistency has been the biggest drawback for the left-hander and maybe it’s time to look beyond him and give Ajinkya Rahane a shot at the top order. Especially keeping his technique in mind.
A solid base in swinging conditions in England and Wales will hold the key for India in the Champions Trophy and a misfiring Dhawan is not what India would want right at the top.
The other opener Rahul too is yet to replicate his Test form into ODIs and has scores of eight and five in the two ODIs so far.
Rohit Sharma, who is recovering from an injury will be sorely missed at this venue given that in the last match here two years ago, he had struck a world record 264.
Rohit’s epic knock had powered India to 404/5 against Sri Lanka, who lost by 153 runs on November 13, 2014.
The rest of the batting line-up looks set and need not be tinkered with but Kohli may look to tweak his seam attack a bit with Hardik Pandya’s bowling lacking bite.
The series surely has sprung a few surprises from the Indian camp and none better than Kedar Jadhav, whose 76-ball 120 in Pune played a key role in overhauling a 351-run target.
They went a notch higher in Cuttack where India’s net gain in two warhorses, Dhoni and Yuvraj, coming among runs put them right in frame ahead of the Champions Trophy.
A seaming all-rounder, Pandya conceded 60 without taking any wicket in Cuttack as Morgan hammered him with disdain.
Looking forward to the Champions Trophy, Pandya may seem to be an investment but only time will tell whether it’s wise or not.
On the other hand, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, who was brought in place of Umesh Yadav in Cuttack, showed terrific control at the death.
Kohli would hope that the likes of Pandya and Jasprit Bumrah lived up to the faith and hit the yorker length consistently.
The last match witnessed an aggregate of 747 runs and in such a scenario, the battle will boil down to the two teams’ bowling attack and seamers will play a big role.
It’s an area where England has struggled to match India, leading to their downfall this series.
Ben Stokes may be a valuable member of the side with his contribution with the bat but he has leaked runs abundantly in Pune and Cuttack.
Liam Plunkett, who replaced Adil Rashid, was also expensive, giving away at 9.10 runs per over.
England need to find better bowlers and Morgan needs to be a little more aggressive in his captaincy.
Morgan’s defensive mindset was clearly seen in Cuttack when he took away Chris Woakes after a brilliant spell of 5-3-14-3. Woakes was reintroduced only in the 39th over when it was too late with India eyeing 300-plus easily.
He also let batsmen settle down by giving them easy singles, removed slips where two catches of both Dhoni and Yuvraj flew past.
England have suffered an injury blow with opener Alex Hales ruled out with a broken right hand. Johnny Bairstow has come in to replace Hales.
India: Virat Kohli (c), KL Rahul, Shikhar Dhawan, Yuvraj Singh, MS Dhoni (wk), Kedar Jadhav, Hardik Pandya, Ravindra Jadeja, Ravichandran Ashwin, Jasprit Bumrah, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Ajinkya Rahane, Manish Pandey, Umesh Yadav and Amit Mishra.
England: Eoin Morgan (c), Jason Roy, Joe Root, Jose Buttler (wk), Ben Stokes, Moeen Ali, Chris Woakes, David Willey, Liam Plunkett, Jake Ball, Sam Billings, Liam Dawson, Jonny Bairstow, and Adil Rashid.