Yuvi
© IANS

In all honesty, there was no battle between batters and bowlers, for the tracks were featherbed for the former. Bowl full and it goes soaring over the boundary line. Bowl short and it is scythed over the slip cordon. Bowl a full-toss and you are reduced to nothingness. In the first two ODIs, the bowlers had a torrid time containing the onslaught. And for the third and final ODI at Kolkata’s Eden Gardens, we are likely to see a reminiscence of the Pune and Cuttack ODIs. Whatever little grass grew on the track was cut off by the curators, signalling that it is going to be yet another 300-plus match. Let us now look at the key battles for this crackerjack of a contest between India and England:

Yuvraj Singh vs Moeen Ali: Yuvraj heaved a sigh after scoring his first hundred since ICC Cricket World Cup 2011. And he ended the six-year drought with a swaggering 150. He took only 127 balls to paint the match-winning hundred, including 21 fours and 3 sixes. But only one boundary came off Moeen’s 18 deliveries he faced. Yuvraj, however, tried to fire on all cylinders, but Moeen, unlike other bowlers, managed to keep a lid on Yuvraj’s runs flow.

Full cricket scorecard: India vs England, 3rd ODI

Joe Root vs Hardik Pandya: No wonder why Root is considered one of England’s finest, for he has scored a fifty in each match of the series. While others are busy slogging the ball, he simply plays textbook cricket, keeping the conventions of the game alive.

Pandya, on the other hand, was fiery with the ball in the series opener, clocking over 140 kmph as well as taking crucial wickets. It was his all-round effort in pressure situation that took India over the line.

These two are likely to be pit against each other if England lose early wicket.

Virat Kohli vs Chris Woakes: A straight drive followed by another stunning straight-drive a delivery later, Kohli got off to a flying start at Cuttack against England. And at the receiving end was Woakes. But little did Kohli know that he was being set up.

Though the deliveries Kohli hit boundaries for were pitched up, other three he faced were fired at a good length, keeping him on his toes. Therefore, he got stuck in his crease when Woakes bowled another out-swinging half-volley, eventually resulting in a wicket. Regardless, Kohli is reputed for avenge, and  is expected to do so with yet another Kohli special at Kolkata.

Jason Roy vs Bhuvneshwar Kumar: Roy could not hit a single boundary off Bhuvneshwar in his 82-run knock in the last ODI. The Indian pacer read Roy’s foot work and bowled accordingly, not letting him free his arms. Bhuvneshwar, for that matter, can swing the ball both ways. But he curbed his urge to do so and instead bowled straight to Roy, keeping his rampage at bay. Now that England have nothing to lose, it will be interesting to see Roy’s approach against Bhuvneshwar.

Eoin Morgan vs Ravindra Jadeja: Had Yuvraj and MS Dhoni not rolled back the clock, captain Morgan’s 81-ball 102 would have got more praises. But no matter the magnitude of the innings, it goes in vain if it comes in a losing cause.

Amidst the rampage, Morgan faced 14 of Jadeja’s deliveries and failed to amass a boundary in what was eventually an innings comprised of 6 fours and 5 sixes. As a result, this battle between the southpaws is sure to set the roaring Eden Gardens on fire.

MS Dhoni vs England bowling unit: We witnessed a different Dhoni in the last two ODIs. There were no ugly heaves. There was no helicopter shot. Instead, there was deft touch full of panache. Instead, there was a leg glance full of flair. And more importantly, he picked the right deliveries instead of targeting a bowler. In other words, it was difficult to find chinks in the once-unconventional Dhoni’s batsmanship. He, now, can take on any bowler.