England will face India in the third and deciding ODI at Old Trafford on Sunday, July 17th. The match is due to begin at 11 am local time.
The series is delicately balanced after two matches of contrasting fortunes in London.
In the first match at The Oval, Jasprit Bumrah took 6 – 19, the best ever by a bowler in ODIs between England and India as the home side were dismissed for just 110. An unbeaten stand between Rohit Sharma and Shikhar Dhawan saw England reach their target with more than 30 overs to spare and with all their wickets intact.
But England bounced back two days’ later at Lord’s. Bowled out for 246, another inspired bowling performance this time from Reece Topley, saw the tourists finish exactly 100 short. Topley’s 6 – 24 was the best by an Englishman in ODIs against India and meant that the series was all set for a decider.
So far on this short tour, India have lost the Fifth Test at Edgbaston, but won the T20I series. They would like to depart having won the ODIs as well, not least for the boost to team morale.
Chahal has been in top form recently. He was the Player of the Series against Ireland and also did well in the T20Is. He produced a fine display of spin bowling at Lord’s using variable speed and flight to outwit a number of the top order English batting. On another day, his performance might have won the day for his side. He could have a big part to play on Sunday.
Although he did not get the same help from the pitch and conditions at Lord’s as he did at The Oval, Jasprit Bumrah still took two wickets and gave the English top batters plenty to think about with the new ball. If the conditions are suitable for swing bowling on Sunday, there is no better practitioner of the art in limited overs’ cricket at the moment.
Playing on his home ground, Buttler will have every incentive to do well and he will be keen to prove that the burdens of captaincy have not inhibited his natural game too much. So far he has failed to show the same sort of for that earned him the Orange Cap and MVP Player in the Indian T20 league this year. However, when his country needs it the most, this could be the time to pull one more big innings out of the bag.
Topley produced his best ever T20I performance in the third match at Trent Bridge and then followed that up with his heroics at Lord’s. With so many front-line bowlers missing for England this summer for one reason or another, this could offer the left-armer another chance to stake a claim for the World Cup T20I and ODI squads.
The UK is in the middle of a heatwave currently and the forecast is hot and humid conditions for Sunday. Cloud cover might help the swing bowlers, though, but there is almost no chance of rain.
Matches at Old Trafford tend to be high scoring encounters, with a par score of around 260. The team winning the toss has traditionally preferred to bat first, but the conditions could help the seamers. It is unlikely to offer much turn.
It is difficult to envisage either team make any changes from their Starting XI at Lord’s given what is at stake.
Jos Buttler will be looking to win his first series as captain, whilst with some of India’s big guns – Rohit Sharma, Rishabh Pant, Virat Kohli, and Jasprit Bumrah – rested from the limited overs tour of West Indies, they can afford to give one more collective effort before a well-earned rest.
Given the events of the first two ODIs, predicting the outcome of thins match is no easy task. India dominated the first match at The Oval, but were then well beaten just two days later at Lord’s.
Bowlers have had the edge so far, and there will be a number of batters on both sides who will feel they have yet to produce their best.
Familiarity with the conditions may just tilt the balance in favour of England, but Jasprit Bumrah may yet have something to say about that.
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