Moeen Ali was the sole bright light with the bat in England’s previous ecounter © Getty Images
With the aim of salvaging some pride, England look to outsmart India in the fifth and final One-Day International (ODI) at Headingley. Abhijit Banare lists England’s likely XI for the match.
With the series win already out of their reach, the fifth ODI against India at Headingley is dead rubber. But the hosts will be playing almost a dozen 50-over matches before the ICC World Cup 2015. The time is running out for England and they will be eager to reshuffle their cards one last time in the series.
Batting: Moeen Ali was the biggest plus from the embarrassing defeat at Edgbaston. There are reports that Moeen could be promoted to No 3. Call it a knee-jerk reaction but England do need someone to put pressure on the opposition than allow the innings to meander along with singles and twos. Ian Bell too is out with an injury and the decision to not name a replacement means England will go with the same top order as the previous match. Alex Hales and Alastair Cook will open the batting. Hales will have to make these opportunities count and not concede his wickets like he did at Edgbaston. Much has been spoken after each of the ODI losses and there’s not much remaining to define the pressure Alastair Cook is under. Meanwhile, the middle-order comprising of Joe Root, Eoin Morgan and Jos Buttler are yet to make any impact. Root and Morgan stitched an unconvincing rusty partnership but they are capable of a lot more than that. If Moeen bats up the order, Ballance could be used as a floater depending on the situation. The first aim for England will be to last 50 overs and not consume too many deliveries for their starts.
Bowling: England bowling looked toothless in the previous match. The only bowler who looked anywhere close to tidy was Steven Finn. They did commit a blunder by dropping spinner James Tredwell, their best performer so far. However, the pitch here might not be a slow turner and could very well assist the medium pacers. Hence the four-pace bowling attack won’t be a surprise here and Moeen will continue to do the off-spin duties. Seamers could pose a threat on this deck with Anderson finding some swing. Overall it’s a good batting wicket, hence important for England bowlers to hold their line than experiment too much.
Likely XI: Alastair Cook (c), Alex Hales, Moeen Ali, Gary Ballance, Joe Root, Eoin Morgan, Jos Buttler (wk), Chris Woakes, James Anderson, Steven Finn, Harry Gurney.
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(Abhijit Banare is a reporter at CricketCountry. He is an avid quizzer and loves to analyse and dig out interesting facts which allows him to learn something new every day. Apart from cricket he also likes to keep a sharp eye on Indian politics, and can be followed on Twitter and blog)