Depleted tourists face tough challenge in ODIs

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India and England meet in the first of three one-day internationals in Pune on Tuesday.

Virat Kohli

India beat England 3-2 in a pulsating Twenty20 series and there should be more entertainment when the teams meet in the first of three one-day internationals in Pune.

India are 4/7 to win the first ODI with England 5/4 and Eoin Morgan’s tourists are missing some key players from their first 11.

Joe Root, England’s leading runscorer during their triumphant 2019 World Cup campaign, has been rested along with Chris Woakes, whose accuracy and wicket-taking threat in the Powerplay overs will be missed.

And Woakes’ regular new-ball partner Jofra Archer, who unsettled India’s batsmen at times in the T20s, is out of the series with an elbow injury.

England still have five of their top six from their thrilling World Cup final victory over New Zealand with openers Jonny Bairstow and Jason Roy joined by captain Morgan, Ben Stokes and Jos Buttler.

Hard-hitting Hosts can Punish England Bowlers

While the Twenty20 series was a major step in England’s build-up to October’s T20 World Cup in India, there may be more experimentation in the ODIs with Liam Livingstone, Sam Billings, Reece Topley and leg-spinner Matt Parkinson among the fringe players hoping to impress.

India could also shuffle their pack as the IPL starts next month and they showed their strength in depth in the T20s when Ishan Kishan and Suryakumar Yadav both scored brilliant half-centuries in their maiden international innings.

India have won 22 of their 35 home ODIs since the start of 2016 and whatever 11 they select should pose a serious challenge for England.

The hosts are also worth considering at 20/23 to hit more sixes than England in the first ODI. They struck 35 maximums to England’s 32 in the five-match T20 series and if the likes of Rohit Sharma (six sixes from 63 balls faced in the T20s) and Hardik Pandya (six from 61) get more time at the crease they could do some serious damage.

Captain Kohli a Class Apart in Pune

The Maharashtra Cricket Association Stadium in Pune played host to an amazing game between these sides in 2017 when India battled back from 63-4 to chase down a victory target of 351.

Virat Kohli scored 122 in that chase and the India skipper is well worth backing at 9/4 to be the home team’s top batsman in the first ODI.

His four one-day innings in Pune have yielded 319 runs and he looked back to his best in the T20 series, scoring 73 not out, 77 not out, one and 80 not out in the last four games.

The top England runscorer market is always a tough one for punters given the quality of their top six but Sam Billings should not be overlooked at 6/1 in the top away batsman market.

The Kent captain always seems to make the most of his limited international appearances, scoring 67 not out, 46 not out and 19 against Ireland and 118, eight and 57 against Australia in six ODIs last year.

Billings has plenty of experience in Indian conditions after spells with Chennai and Delhi in the IPL and is a good player of spin so he could have a big role to play if England lose early wickets.

*All odds correct at time of writing

Warren has been employed as a sport journalist for over two decades and as well as years of written experience, has also worked in other areas of the media including radio and television. Football has always been his number one passion, but has also commentated and written on a number of other sports including golf, cricket, tennis and rugby.

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