A change in format can sometimes change the fortunes of the sides as well. And this is exactly what has happened in the one-day series between India and England, currently underway. Although India are still one game away from winning the series, they are in a much better position than England, who will be under extreme pressure knowing that they cannot win the series from here, but need to triumph in both the remaining matches to end the series on level terms with India. Considering the strength of the two sides, the probability looks quite difficult for England.
The problem for England has been that some of their Test heroes have not really stood up to the task in the two games thus far. With the bat, Ian Bell and Joe Root have failed in both the games, which has proved to be a major setback for England’s batting. Further, James Anderson, who was lethal in the five-day games, ending up as the man of the series, has failed to pick up a single wicket in the ODIs thus far. He hasn’t been effective, and it wouldn’t have helped his cause that he was booed by the Indian contingent at Trent Bridge.
What has hurt England in a big way, particularly while batting, has been the fact that a lot of their batsmen have thrown away starts. Alex Hales, who made his ODI debut at Cardiff, looked in fluent touch in both matches but has fallen in the 40s in both the games. Similarly, Alastair Cook has spent decent amount of time at the crease, but hasn’t made the same count. Even the experienced Eoin Morgan has not lived up to the expectations, failing to make a mark in the series thus far.
Spin was expected to be England’s biggest worry in the series, and that has turned out to be the case thus far, with most of the big names in the side succumbing to slow bowling. In fact, the pacemen picked up only two of the wickets to fall on Saturday at Trent Bridge, and that too of the lower order batsmen. That shows to the extent to which England’s batsmen have struggled against spin. England’s lower order batting was a worry going into the series, and Ben Stokes and Chris Woakes have done nothing much change that perception.
If their batting has been poor, their bowling hasn’t been impressive either. Anderson apart, the rest have also struggled to make much of an impact. England had put India under massive pressure at Cardiff, but the bowlers could not exert the pressure throughout. Chris Jordan was thrashed for seven runs an over at Cardiff while both Woakes and Stokes have proved to be expensive though they have been among the wickets. James Tredwell has been the most impactful of all bowlers, but with the others not living up to the mark, his performance has not made much of a difference to the team’s fortunes.
--By A Cricket Analyst