India keen to tighten the noose in 3rd ODI

Updated: 20 November 2008 11:07 IST

England will require more than a spark of inspiration to defeat the buoyant Indian team in the third One-day International in Kanpur on Thursday.


England have its tail tucked between legs after the twin mauling in Rajkot and Indore and will have to quickly find a way to stop India's in-form batsmen from launching another assault when they go into the third cricket one-dayer on Thursday.

With pitch curator Shiv Kumar predicting a bowlers' bloodbath tomorrow, England pacers would have their task cut out when they mark their run-up against India's awe-inspiring batting order and a defeat here would leave them with the improbable task of winning the remaining four matches to win the series.

It was not merely the margin of defeat but the manner of it that exposed England's lack of resources in all three departments and Pietersen and party are simply clueless how to silence Yuvraj Singh's booming blade.

Eight years in the business and still not a certainty in the Test squad, Yuvraj unleashed his pent-up frustration with some power-hitting and the English bowlers can consider themselves simply unlucky to find themselves in his line of fire.

In two matches, Yuvraj proved he could be swashbuckling and sublime as well. His 78-ball 138 in Rajkot was pure aggression but the ton in Indore, on a two-paced track, would rank even higher because of its influence on the outcome of the match.

Spread-eagled by Yuvraj's blazing blade, Stuart Broad and his bowling colleagues can only hope for the law of average to catch up with the England bugbear on Thursday.

So far, India has kept things simple, raise a mountain of runs and bury England under it. English bowlers bled 679 runs in just two matches -- 372 of it in fours and sixes -- failing to bowl out the hosts even once.

Not that Yuvraj alone milked the English attack dry.

Gautam Gambhir's back-to-back fifties got overshadowed by Yuvraj's successive tons but the pint-sized powerhouse has been in terrific form of late and he does not look in a mood to relax.

Along with Yuvraj, Gambhir raised those 134 runs that steadied India's rocking boat in Indore after England had reduced the hosts to 29 for three to give themselves the best chance of the series so far.

And if Virender Sehwag has his way, life would be difficult for the English bowlers, who simply lack the sting of firepower to reign him in.

Mahendra Singh Dhoni has long ago shed the reckless reveller's tag and is more of the crisis man these days and having a long-hitter like Yousuf Pathan only eases the pressure on the India skipper.

That Pathan can use the long handle with lethal effect was on ample display in the Indian Premier League and having been at the receiving end of his pyrotechnics in Indore, the visitors would be at their wit's end, wondering how to straitjacket the towering India.

In the bowling department too, India's embarrassment of riches contrasts England's thin resource, both in the spin and pace segments.

For India, Zaheer Khan has been both probing and poaching, while Munaf Patel has been difficult to score off. R P Singh did go for a few runs but India's spin attack, especially the part-timers, has more than compensated for that.

Interestingly, Harbhajan Singh had a very limited role in the series so far while the part-timers made merry. In fact in Indore, Yuvraj, Sehwag and Pathan shared as many as eight wickets among them.

Overall, the series so far has been a lop-sided affair with India treating England with utter disdain and though Pietersen and his teammates would be hoping to be third time lucky, they would have to conjure an extraordinary show tomorrow to halt the Team India juggernaut.

Teams (From):

India: MS Dhoni (C), Virender Sehwag (V-C), Gautam Gambhir, Suresh Raina, Rohit Sharma, Yuvraj Singh, Yusuf Pathan, Harbhajan Singh, Zaheer Khan, Virat Kohli, Munaf Patel, Ishant Sharma, R P Singh and Murali Vijay.

England: Kevin Pietersen (C), James Anderson, Ian Bell, Ravi Bopara, Stuart Broad, Paul Collingwood, Alastair Cook, Andrew Flintoff, Steve Harmison, Samit Patel, Matt Prior, Owais Shah, Ryan Sidebottom, Graeme Swann, Luke Wright and Tim Ambrose.

Umpires: Amish Saheba, Russell Tiffin

Third Umpire: Suresh Shastri

Match Referee: Roshan Mahanama

Hours of Play: 9 am to 12.30 pm, 1.15 pm to 4.45 pm.

Topics : Cricket Sreesanth
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