Game preview – India vs England, England tour around India 2020/21, 3rd ODI

Big picture

More than seven weeks after England played their first day of cricket in India, it ‘s time for the final. It’s a Sunday afternoon game, the ODI series is tied 1-1, and it has everything to play. What more do you want?

Well, if you’re a Virat Kohli, you want more from your spinners. In 35 years, they have taken 283 runs at an economy of 8.09 for just one wicket. Whether it’s an IPL experience or a real skill (or a combination of both), the English bats have been very confident against the spinners. Some said that the collapse of Kuldeep Yadav after one game would be too hard on him, but now India seem to have no choice. After spending some time on the bench, it may be time for Yuzvendra Chahal to figure out why he should be the first spinner on India’s ODI team page every time .

And then there’s the sad word ‘I’: intention. Par scores can be judged not only by the surface you are playing on, but also by the face you are up against. India had a unique approach in the T20Is. They threw a warning to the wind while batting, even though it meant they lost two of the five games, but that template has gone out the window in the ODIs. They will need the high command to score faster or start the attack late earlier.

Either way, the final ODI will be a test of India’s batting streak, especially if Kohli’s hat-trick has lost the throw. Finding the gaps and running hard pairs in the first 30 overs establishes a solid foundation, but against England, more front-line shots are needed from the top order. Friday’s target of 337 was run down by 6.3 overs to enter and even in the first ODI, let’s be honest, England were well ahead of the game for the first 20 goals of the second innings .

The batting of England is still the greatest strength. Their philosophy has not changed, the openers are firing, Ben Stokes has been on a rampage and the injured have fallen in. They know the fast archers are inexperienced, even more so if Mark Wood is not fit for the decision, but that is not under their control. However, they will be happy as Adil Rashid and Moeen Ali have gone around. At the beginning of the spells, they have done enough to ensure that India does not get the better of them, and the guests, perhaps, leave some run out of there by being not to go harder at both.

All in all, it’s a fitting end to the tour. The team that lost the first game of each series has gone on to win. That was India in the first two times, but can England finish back for themselves? If they do, it will be a fitting reminder of why they are world champions.

Form instructions

(Last five games completed first)

India: LWWLL
England: WLLWL

In mind

When it’s a big game, expect to see a different version of it Mount Stokes (remember Headingley and Lord 2019?). In the first ODI, his 3 broke for 34 Indian partnerships every time they were looking to change gears. In the second game, it hit the fastest 99 in ODI history. India will be hoping that Stokes numbers will only be a footnote in game stats because if it is not, his contributions are likely to win games. In the last game, his bowling numbers were below par and he could not get that one extra run to dedicate an era to his late father. He looks to change those two things.

Hardik Pandya not bowled in the series yet, leaving India with just five bowling options. But he made a bowl in the T20Is, so even if Kohli uses Hardik for just four petals, it will reduce the load on the colorless bowler and could be a missing piece in a bowling jigsaw of India. There is also more that Hardik, the bat, can do. In the XI, he is one of the best spies and was able to do for Moeen and Rashid what Stokes did in the second ODI to Kuldeep and Krunal Pandya. If the above order has established a solid foundation, it is worth placing it above KL Rahul and pressing the envelope on what India can achieve. He hit 35 off 16 balls last game. Subtract that score if it was against, say, 50 members.

Team news

Batting all India try, is to add 10-15% more runs to their scores, so part of the XI should remain unchanged. They could connect to the bowling though, Chahal for Kuldeep being the most likely change. And T Natarajan could replace one of Prasidh Krishna or Shardul Thakur, both for his left hand and for his ability to deploy a more consistent staff. Keeping Thakur giving the team more batting depth is probably a consideration.

India (able): 1 Rohit Sharma, 2 Shikhar Dhawan, 3 Virat Kohli (capt), 4 Rishabh Pant, 5 KL Rahul (wk), 6 Hardik Pandya, 7 Krunal Pandya, 8 Bhuvneshwar Kumar, 9 Shardul Thakur, 10 Yuzvendra Chahal, 11 Prasidh Krishna / T Natarajan

If Mark Wood qualifies, he will replace either Reece Topley or Tom Curran, and the latter more likely after conceding 83 runs in the last game.

England (able): 1 Jason Roy, 2 Jonny Bairstow, 3 Ben Stokes, 4 Dawid Malan, 5 Jos Buttler (capt & wk), 6 Liam Livingstone, 7 Moeen Ali, 8 Sam Curran, 9 Mark Wood, 10 Adil Rashid, 11 Reece Topley

Park and conditions

With not much for spinners, Pune is as ‘international’ as you can get in India. A good afternoon batting area turns into a great batting ground in the evening. For the team that bats first, aiming for scores above 330 should be at the lowest level.

Stats and trivia

  • India is looking to avoid the loss of a tertiary ODI series. They lost 1-2 in Australia and 0-3 in New Zealand.
  • Dhawan needs 90 to become the 10th Indian to get 6000 ODI runs.
  • Bairstow and Roy had beaten 13th-century standings as openers in ODI cricket, mostly by a pair from England and fifth-highest among openers.
  • In Pune’s last five games, the first-innings average score is 303.20 with the 3-2 wins for the running side.

Sreshth Shah is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo. @sreshthx