|Scorecard:||India v England|
|Event:||England in India 2012/13|
DateLine: 19th January 2013
India v England
3rd ODI 2013
While the England vs India 3rd ODI will be played in Ranchi on Saturday, January 19, 5-match ODI series between England and India is leveled 1-1. England won the first ODI narrowly, but was thrashed by India in the second. But to be fair, a number of umpiring decisions went against the visitors.
We saw an existing state of affairs in Kochi when England went down by a whopping 127 runs. It was an age-old problem of playing spin which saw their challenge unpicked. Ravi Jadeja's figures were a barely believable two for 12 off seven overs while Ravi Ashwin claimed three wickets and Yuvraj Singh was also miserly. So why did England struggle against turn in this match as opposed to dominating the twirlers in game one? The obvious answer is scoreboard pressure. In the first match there was none. They batted first, they set the tempo. But in Kochi they had to dance India's tune. England are a far more palatable prospect when batting first and the advice would be to only follow them if they get the chance to set a target.
Indian captain MS Dhoni, popularly called MS, can appropriately be described as a thorn in England's side. He almost chased down the 300+ runs total in the first ODI and set a target that was beyond England's reach in the second ODI.
This third ODI between the two sides will be a very special game for MS as it is being played in his hometown, where he enjoys a huge fan following. Ranchi rarely gets an International game and MS will want to deliver and deliver big on this occasion.
A sports person is considered outstanding when he is praised by his opponents. Dhoni's England counterpart Alistair Cook has spared no accolades in commenting about MS. In the post-match presentation Cook said that Dhoni is probably the best player in the world batting in the death.
Dhoni was superb with the willow in the series defeat by Pakistan and so far in this contest he has grabbed matches by the scruff of the neck. Arguably his 72 off 66 balls coupled with Ravindra Jadeja's unbeaten 61 off 37 balls at a crucial time in the innings ensured India a definite 1-1.
Another positive was the failing middle-order's comeback, with Suresh Raina notching a half-century and Virat Kohli, who was going through a rare lean patch, showed some flair in his 37. It would also augur well for India as the think-tank may not look to fiddle with the batting line-up, even as the poor run of Gautam Gambhir continues to baffle.
But come tomorrow, and it will be all about Dhoni when India play their first match at the skipper's home ground.
They could make changes, however. Cheteshwar Pujara looks certain to get a game in the opening berth, most probably replacing Ajinkya Rahane or Gambhir.
England's hope for a repeat of the 1984/85 series, where they won both the Tests and ODIs, would largely depend on how Kevin Pietersen performs in the upcoming games. The middle-order batsman is yet to convert his starts (44 in Rajkot and 42 in Kochi) in the series.
Down 0-1 in the Test series, Pietersen had turned it around with a series-leveling 186 in Mumbai to help England pocket it 2-1, their first in 28 years. England have not won an ODI series since then, as their last best performance on Indian soil was the 3-3 result in 2001-02.
On a Rajkot-like batting-friendly pitch, the opening duo of Cook and Ian Bell, who had put 158 together in the first ODI, will once again look to set the platform for the visitors.
Stuart Broad is due to link up with the squad for the final two matches but he is not expected to play. A good question might be: What on earth is he doing there then? We are not sure either.
Steven Finn, Jade Dernbach and Chris Woakes were all expensive in Kochi (2nd ODI), so England need to find someone who is capable of keeping the opposition under pressure rather than England. Dernbach, whose economy for the series is far too high at 7.47 might be axed. Stuart Meaker could come in although Tim Bresnan could also return.
In the spin department, off-break bowler James Tredwell, after an encouraging 4/44 in Rajkot, will look to relish the Indian conditions, while Samit Patel would be useful with his left-arm orthodox.
India: Mahendra Singh Dhoni (capt and wk), Ajinkya Rahane, Gautam Gambhir, Virat Kohli, Yuvraj Singh, Suresh Raina, Ravindra Jadeja, Ravichandran Ashwin, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Ishant Sharma, Shami Ahmed, Rohit Sharma, Cheteshwar Pujara Amit Mishra and Ashok Dinda.
England: Alastair Cook (capt), Ian Bell, Kevin Pietersen, Joe Root, Eoin Morgan, Craig Kieswetter (wk), Samit Patel, Chris Woakes, James Tredwell, Steven Finn, Jade Dernbach, Tim Bresnan, Danny Briggs, Stuart Broad, Jos Buttler, Stuart Meaker
(Article: The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author only.
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