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By Shiamak Unwalla
Sep 4, 2014
After their lacklustre loss in the Test series, India have redeemed themselves by winning the One-Day International (ODI) series 3-0 with one match to play. In doing so, they registered their first bilateral series win in England in 24 years.
India have now won eight matches in a row on English soil, following their triumph in the 2013 Champions Trophy. In the process, MS Dhoni became India’s most successful ODI captain with 91 victories.
While one captain prospered, the other sank further. England’s ODI side is currently going a rut that can only be described as abysmal; under Alastair Cook, they have now lost four home ODI series in a row. Ian Bell’s fractured toe means that he will be unavailable for the fifth ODI as well, after having sat out of the fourth ODI.
India looks like a settled line-up, though with the series in the bag it presents and ideal opportunity to give the likes of Sanju Samson, Stuart Binny, Karn Sharma, Umesh Yadav, and Murali Vijay a chance to show their wares. Suresh Raina and Ajinkya Rahane have been in blistering form, while Shikhar Dhawan’s savage unbeaten 97 in the last game will put to rest the doubts regarding his usefulness in ODIs.
On the bowling front, Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Mohammed Shami have been excellent at the start, while Ravindra Jadeja and Ravichandran Ashwin — with the help of Suresh Raina — have choked the English batsmen in the middle overs.
For England, Moeen Ali’s excellent fifty was a lesson in how to dominate spin, but he waged a lone battle. Joe Root and Eoin Morgan threatened to break free, but neither man was able to touch 50 as England crashed to 206 all out. None of their bowlers were able to cause Dhawan and Rahane any trouble, as the two batsmen put on 183 for the first wicket, effectively ending any chance England had of winning.
Headingley is a ground that has traditionally favoured the faster men, and it could be England’s best chance of winning. But given the current form, India will go into the final ODI firm favourites to complete a 4-0 clean sweep.
England: Alastair Cook (c), Alex Hales, Joe Root, Moeen Ali, Gary Ballance, Eoin Morgan, Ian Bell, Ben Stokes, Chris Woakes, Chris Jordan, James Anderson, Steven Finn, Harry Gurney, James Tredwell, Jos Buttler (wk).
India: MS Dhoni (c & wk), Shikhar Dhawan, Murali Vijay, Virat Kohli, Ajinkya Rahane, Suresh Raina, Ambati Rayudu, Sanju Samson (wk), Ravindra Jadeja, Karn Sharma, Ravichandran Ashwin, Dhawal Kulkarni, Umesh Yadav, Mohit Sharma, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Mohammad Shami, Stuart Binny.
Time: 10:30 GMT | 15:00 IST
(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)
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