In what could be a first for this current tour, India have the chance to wrap up the ODI series at the earliest opportunity when they do battle with England again on Friday.
The hosts had to battle back from losing the first Test to ultimately win that series 3-1, while they were 2-1 down in the T20 series, and needed to win the last two games – batting first in each – to make it two from two, and duly obliged.
Now they go for the hat-trick and would love to wrap up the three-match one-day series on Friday, while there is the carrot of becoming the number one-ranked ODI side if they were to go on and make it a whitewash on Sunday with a 3-0 series win.
There is no doubt that England have the talent to tie things up, tempting at
5/4 perhaps, as they aren’t the world champions without good reason, but maybe form is not quite with them and India look worthy favourites at
4/7 to seal the series on Friday.
India Versatility the Key
Virat Kohli’s side look to have all the tools to emulate England and become a dominant force in the one-day game.
They are, of course, not that far away in terms of the rankings but they now appear to be more intent on taking England on at their own game, and their adaptability with the bat certainly did for Eoin Morgan’s men in the first instalment on Tuesday.
They have become more aggressive in intent and added power-hitting to the line-up and that makes for a very dangerous side, while their bowling attack compares favourably to any in the world with its variety in both spin and pace, and it is not hard to see why they are one of the favourites for the World Cups.
Allied to that is the advantage of home conditions, while their players are so used to dealing with high-pressure situations due to their IPL upbringing, so England have their work cut out.
The tourists do have a couple of injury concerns as well, with Morgan needing stitches after splitting his webbing between his right thumb and index finger on Tuesday, while Sam Billings sprained his collar bone in the field.
Even though neither player has been ruled out yet, Liam Livingstone could well be making his ODI debut given the way England’s innings meekly folded in the run-chase last time.
Roy and Bairstow Can Strike Opening Blow
That is not to say that England do not have hope, particularly if Jason Roy and Jonny Bairstow carry on from where they left off on Tuesday.
Roy’s rapid 46 was second fiddle to Bairstow’s blistering 94, coming off just 66 balls, which included seven sixes, as the pair combined for an opening stand of 135 in just 14.2 overs.
Given that sort of hitting, it may pay to side with the tourists to record the highest opening partnership in the match at
1/1, particularly with Rohit Sharma having taken a blow on his elbow, while England are
23/20 to hit the most sixes, after smashing 10 to India’s eight in the first ODI.
There is no doubt that Joe Root is a big miss for England, and what he could have done when stepping out to the middle at 135-1 may well have turned the first ODI, but his absence and the misfiring middle order only enhances India’s claims.
Shreyas Iyer looks set to miss the rest of the series after partially dislocating his shoulder in the opener, but there is plenty of talent ready to step in with Rishabh Pant, Suryakumar Yadav and Shubman Gill all in waiting, and India can claim another confidence-boosting win.
*All odds correct at time of writing.