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With the first One-Day International (ODI) between England and India being washed out, the second game at Cardiff is expected to be fought more keenly, especially for India who are looking to salvage some pride from the limited-overs after the hammering in the Tests. Amit Banerjee takes a look at the possible eleven that England might field at the Sophia Gardens on Wednesday.
The English team will be entering the Sophia Gardens relaxed and positive after having handed India a 3-1 thrashing in the five-match Test series earlier in the tour. After the first match got abandoned without a ball being bowled at Bristol, the hosts will look to win the second game in order to take an early lead in the series, which should further deprive the Indians of their confidence and effectively crumble in the remaining matches of their tour. A series win in the limited-overs would be a great boost to England’s preparation for the upcoming 2015 World Cup in Australia and New Zealand.
Alex Hales will be looking forward to make the most out of his debut, which he missed in the washout at the County Cricket Ground in Bristol. What remains to be seen is whether skipper Alastair Cook opts for the Steven Finn or Harry Gurney. (Click here to read about India’s likely XI)
Following are the players in their batting order that are likely to take the field against India for the second 50-over encounter in the series:
Alex Hales: Hales will look to make the most of his ODI debut by helping England get off to a flying start. An impressive performance in this match as well as the series should also seal a berth for Hales in the World Cup starting in February.
Alastair Cook: The skipper managed to silence all of his critics with gritty knocks that thwarted the Indian bowlers and helped England post daunting totals in the last three Tests of the five-match series. Cook will look to continue his purple patch for the remainder of the tour and should form a steady opening combination with Hales.
Ian Bell: The Warwickshire batsman has had a good run in the recent matches. Bell struck a majestic 167 in the third Test at Southampton and continued his form with a half-century in the next Test. He will be a crucial figure in England’s top-order.
Gary Ballance: The Zimbabwe-born southpaw finished 15 runs behind Joe Root on the list of leading run-scorers in the Test series, with two centuries and as many half-centuries to his credit. Ballance will look to extend his golden touch in the ODIs and improve his statistics in the 50-over format in the process.
Joe Root: Phenomenal is the word that comes to mind when describing Root’s performances in the recent Tests. With 518 runs from seven innings at an astounding average of 74, the 23 year-old batsman is expected to be a prized scalp for the Indian bowlers, given the fact that Root has an ODI strike rate of 79.27 and has the ability to take the control away from the opposition in a jiffy.
Eoin Morgan: Though Morgan has had a lean patch while playing for Middlesex, with the exception of a century against Surrey, in the ongoing Royal London One-Day Cup, one cannot dismiss the hard-hitting Ireland-born batsman for his value in the limited overs. With an ODI average of 39 and a strike rate of 87, Morgan will be expected to be the backbone of England’s middle-order and pull his team out of an early mess.
Jos Buttler: Buttler will be expected to join hands with Morgan in playing the role of an enforcer in the middle order, aside from donning the wicketkeeper’s gloves. The Somerset batsman had earlier made his Test debut at in the third Test at Southampton and went on to score 200 runs in three innings during the Test series at an impressive average of 66.
James Tredwell: Tredwell’s inclusion in the squad and his possible preference to be included in the final eleven over Moeen Ali might raise an eyebrow or two, but the off-spinner from Kent is known to be valuable with the bat as well and had excelled in the limited overs series during England’s tour of India in 2012.
Steven Finn: The 6’7 pacer can and will generate a lot of bounce courtesy his height and supporting pitches. The lanky bowler makes his return to the squad after nearly a year and will look to utilise this opportunity to make it to the World Cup.
Chris Jordan: The Barbados-born fast bowler was played a vital in India’s demolition in both of their innings during the final Test at the Oval, finishing with match figures of seven for 50. Jordan is expected to make early inroads into the Indian batting lineup along with James Anderson.
James Anderson: Anderson looked unstoppable during the Tests as he emerged the leading-wicket taker with 25 scalps at an average of 20.6. His intense on-field rivalry with Ravindra Jadeja made things interesting then, and one may speculate that things may not have entirely cooled off between the two. Anderson was instrumental in getting the early strikes in the earlier part of the tour and continuing the trend in the ODIs is what the team will be expecting from him.
(Amit Banerjee, a reporter at CricketCountry, takes keen interest in photography, traveling, technology, automobiles, food and, of course, cricket. He can be followed on Twitter via his handle @akb287)
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