India batsman Suresh Raina will hope to extend his good form with the bat after scoring an impressive century in the second game at Cardiff © Getty Images
With India coming out on top against England in the second One-Day International (ODI) at Cardiff, the visitors are 1-0 up in the series. However, they will not feel too full of themselves yet, given that they were similarly ahead in the Test series before being ransacked by the English in the last three Tests. Shiamak Unwalla looks at some of the key battles that could dictate the fate of the match.
James Anderson vs Virat Kohli: Virat Kohli’s absolute bane in the Test series was James Anderson. The swing and pace was almost always too much for Kohli, even after he got set. Kohli is back playing the format he loves though, and despite his duck in the second ODI, he can never be written off. Their clash ought to be an interesting one.
Bhuvneshwar Kumar vs Alex Hales: The hard-hitting right-hander played a sedate yet promising innings of 40 on debut, ending up being the highest scorer for his team. Despite his incorrect reputation of being a slogger, he showed that he could play a long knock, facing 63 deliveries before being snapped up by Ravindra Jadeja. How he plays India’s best new ball bowler Bhuvneshwar Kumar at Trent Bridge could well decide how well England do with the bat.
James Tredwell vs Suresh Raina: The workmanlike James Tredwell snared both the set batsmen, Rohit Sharma and Ajinkya Rahane, in the previous game. He has traditionally done well against India, and his simple, no-nonsense off-breaks are tough to get away. But with his scintillating ton in the previous game, Suresh Raina showed that he is someone the opposition should get out as early as they can. If he cuts loose again, not even Tredwell will be able to halt his charge.
Ravindra Jadeja vs Joe Root: Ravindra Jadeja seems to revel against England. The all-rounder has an exceptional record against them in ODIs, and he showed his abilities in the last match with another tremendous spell. Joe Root dealt with him remarkably well in the Test series, and could be England’s key to combat him at Trent Bridge.
Chris Woakes vs MS Dhoni: Chris Woakes is a far more accomplished limited overs bowler than he is in Tests, and he revels in bowling at the death. In the recent T20 Blast final between his side, Birmingham, and Lancashire, his spell at the death helped his side win even as Andrew Flintoff was rampaging at the other end. MS Dhoni is perhaps the best batsman in the world in the slog overs, and stopping him early was a remarkable effort from Woakes. If he manages to keep Dhoni quiet at the death again, India will fall short of the burst of runs at the end that is by now a staple from their captain.
Ravichandran Ashwin vs Eoin Morgan: Ravichandran Ashwin was overshadowed by his fellow spinner Jadeja in the last ODI, but he still finished with admirable figures of two for 38. While Jadeja got all the wickets, it was Ashwin’s sustained pressure at one end that helped India choke England. Eoin Morgan is one of the biggest hitters of the England line-up, and a master of the reverse sweep. If he can manoeuvre Ashwin, it will also result in Jadeja’s potency being reduced. Whichever player wins the battle of wits will help their side that much better.
Please note: Not all the players mentioned above may play the third ODI for one reason or another.
Complete coverage of India’s tour of England 2014
(Shiamak Unwalla is a reporter with Cricket Country. He is a self-confessed Sci-Fi geek and Cricket fanatic who likes to pass his free time by reading books, watching TV shows, and eating food. Sometimes all at the same time. You can follow him on twitter at @ShiamakUnwalla)