England need to rethink to stay in series against India

A five-match series gives the visitors time to fight back, but that recovery has to start in Delhi otherwise there will be too much daylight between the teams.

Updated: October 17, 2011 10:09 IST
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Match Facts

October 17, Delhi
Start time 1430 (0900GMT)

The Big Picture

The first one-day international was a rude awakening for a young England team and already the talk has begun of 'here we go again' when it comes to their one-day record in India. The warning signs are certainly there - three years ago India won the first ODI in Rajkot by 158 runs to begin their march to a 5-0 scoreline before the series was curtailed - and it will be a major test of the Alastair Cook-Andy Flower combination to respond to the opening result. A five-match series gives the visitors time to fight back, but that recovery has to start in Delhi otherwise there will be too much daylight between the teams.

Back on home soil, with time to move on from the defeats in England, India looked much more like the marauding force that took the World Cup. For Duncan Fletcher (and, to a lesser degree, MS Dhoni) the India team is a long-term project as a rebuilding phase begins and he'll be heartened by some of the performances. Put coloured clothes on Suresh Raina and he's a world-beater, R Ashwin is a promising spinner, Umesh Yadav has a bit of pace and the fielding is showing signs of improvement.

Then there's the captain himself. Dhoni is a phenomenal cricketer and not only because of that helicopter shot that keeps depositing balls into the stands. He just keeps on going. Straight after the England tour - which pushed him to the limit - he was leading Chennai Super Kings at the Champions Trophy and now there's this series. Then West Indies arrive for a full tour before a trip to face Australia down under. He's had one break this year, but after his struggles on the early part of the England tour, is back to delivering consistently with the bat.

However, despite the positive signs for the hosts, this series isn't yet beyond England. They have shown, time and again, their ability to bounce back from disappointment. This is a team made of stern stuff. But they need to play smart cricket and think on their feet. The fast bowlers didn't react to Dhoni's onslaught in Hyderabad, while the middle-order collapse against spin wasn't a new phenomenon. The batting order continues to vex minds - for, example, where is Jonathan Trott's best position and should Ian Bell play? - while Samit Patel hasn't really done enough since his return to the team. Flower has made tough calls in the past, but he has also remained calm under pressure. This situation calls for both traits.

Form guide
(completed matches, most recent first)

England LWTWW


In the absence of Harbhajan Singh, R Ashwin has become India's senior spinner in one-day cricket. Tall, able to extract bounce and with a well-disguised carrom ball, he caused England plenty of problems in the opening game. None of the batsmen appeared to be able to pick his variations and were often left waiting to play off the pitch which leaves precious little time to adjust. Harbhajan may well be back before too long, but Ashwin has more than earned an extended run.

Kevin Pietersen has insisted he knows the secret to turning around his one-day form and England need him to prove it in Delhi. Shuffled back up to No.3 on Friday with a tough target to chase, he never settled while making 19 and appeared more troubled by the pitch than many. When the ball bounced, or kept low, Pietersen's reactions made sure everyone knew the ball must have done something alarming. Throw in his poor fielding display, where he let through three boundaries, and it was a performance to suggest all is not quite right.

Team news

There is little reason for India to tinker with their side after such a comprehensive performance. The initial squad was selected for the first two matches so it will be interesting to see if any changes are made for later in the series.

India (probable): 1 Parthiv Patel, 2 Ajinkya Rahane, 3 Gautam Gambhir, 4 Virat Kohli, 5 Suresh Raina, 6 MS Dhoni (capt & wk), 7 Ravindra Jadeja, 8 R Ashwin, 9 Praveen Kumar, 10 Vinay Kumar, 11 Umesh Yadav

England tend not to rush into changes after one defeat so the odds favour them giving the same side a chance to make amends for the opening display. However, legspinner Scott Borthwick and seamer Chris Woakes showed form in the warm-ups and are options to strengthen the bowling attack possibly at the expense of Samit Patel.

England (probable): 1 Alastair Cook (capt), 2 Craig Kieswetter (wk), 3 Jonathan Trott, 4 Kevin Pietersen, 5 Ravi Bopara, 6 Jonny Bairstow, 7 Samit Patel, 8 Tim Bresnan, 9 Graeme Swann, 10 Steven Finn, 11 Jade Dernbach

Pitch and conditions

The Feroz Shah Kotla stadium regained its international status in time for the World Cup after the ICC suspended the venue following the abandonment of the India-Sri Lanka ODI in December, 2009. The old wicket was a flat track full of runs, and while the new strip is not as lifeless, it is unlikely to give the bowlers much joy.

Stats and trivia

England have played two ODIs in Delhi (it would have been three but the 2008 match was cancelled) and they have a 1-1 record. In 2006 they lost by 39 runs but in 2002 clung on for two-run victory which kept them alive in a series they would finish sharing.

In his last four ODI innings, MS Dhoni has hit 284 runs for just once out which has lifted his average back over 50


"We were outplayed by the Indians on this occasion. They out-fielded us - something that doesn't often happen to us - and we didn't deserve to win the game. But one down in a five-match series, we're going to look to do something about that in Delhi."

Andy Flower keeps a level head about England's position

"We always kept our heads high and that probably made the difference in this first game. We would like to continue with that attitude."

Virat Kohli on the virtues of having the right mindset

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