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Can England find a way past Kohli and Team India in 2nd ODI?

January 18, 2017 15:49 IST

India have a good record at the Barabati Stadium in Cuttack, where they have won 11 out of their 15 ODI games.

Team India

IMAGE: Captain Virat Kohli speaks to his players ahead of the first ODI in Pune. Photograph: BCCI

A flamboyant Indian team that has converted chasing down incredible targets into an art form are once again ready to show their ruthless streak as they aim for a series clinching victory against England in the second One-Day International match, in Cuttack on Thursday.

With captain Virat Kohli leading from the front as he continues his golden run with the bat -- playing one magical knock after other, notching up 300 plus scores has been like a walk in the park for the Indians.

Kohli himself has taken the responsibility of guiding the team home in big run chases, smashing 17 centuries at a staggering averaging of 97 plus in matches where India has chased a target.

Interestingly, India are the only team to have chased 350-plus three times and with hundreds in each of them Kohli has proved to be the backbone of the batting line-up.

Virat Kohli

IMAGE: Virat Kohli hits out during the first ODI in Pune. Photograph: BCCI

And with India's penchant of producing quality batsmen, it was Kedar Jadhav, who matched his skipper stroke-for-stroke during his 65-ball-hundred in the first ODI in Pune on Sunday.

As the teams gear up for the second ODI at Cuttack, the visiting England team will certainly feel a bit deflated after failing to defend a total of 350 despite having got four top-order batsmen back in the hut for less than 100.

"We went to alternative plans, primarily trying to get Virat off strike. But we certainly did not expect Jadav to play like that. India kept up with the rate, and kept coming, and the wicket allowed them to do that," Morgan had said after the match.

India have a good record at the Barabati Stadium in Cuttack, where they have won 11 out of their 15 ODI games.

While the Indian bowling was taken to task by the England batsmen on a Pune flat track, Mahendra Singh Dhoni and Yuvraj Singh's failure with the bat was the only blot in their victory. It will be interesting to see if India continue with Yuvraj at No. 4 and Dhoni at No. 5 or if they swap their batting positions and give the latter more time to settle down and get his eye in.


Shikhar Dhawan, who also perished cheaply, is another worry for India and Ajinkya Rahane, who hit a 83-ball 91 in the second warm-up match is breathing down his neck. With Rohit Sharma waiting to comeback from injury and plenty of young batsmen waiting in the wings, time is certainly running out for Dhawan.

IMAGE: David Willey celebrates the wicket of Shikhar Dhawan during the first ODI in Pune. Photograph: BCCI

While the onus will be on Dhawan to return to his best, all eyes would also be on the experienced Yuvraj, who is six matches shy of his 300th ODI appearance.

For India, another area to work on would be their bowling. The Indian bowling attack looked ordinary on a flat Pune track, with the pacers struggling to keep the runs down, especially towards the end overs, but captain Kohli continued to back his bowlers, saying the pitch was heavily loaded in the favour of batsmen.

On the other hand, England would need something extraordinary to recover from the thrashing they received in the series opener, having also lost the Test series 0-4.

Back to lead the side after pulling out from the Bangladesh series, English limited overs skipper Morgan will be under pressure to transform their bowling unit which performed abysmally in Pune.

Barring Chris Woakes and David Willey's twin breakthroughs early on, the English attack lacked intensity and were wayward, as they gave away too many extras.

No doubt, Ben Stokes did well with the bat with his 40-ball 62 to take them to their best ever but his effort with the ball (2-73) was found wanting as they struggled to take a wicket for 25 overs when Kohli-Jadhav built the partnership in the middle overs.

IMAGE: Mahendra Singh Dhoni stumps Jason Roy off Ravindra Jadeja's bowling during the first ODI in Pune. Photograph: BCCI

The English bowling is still struggling to find a way to stop Kohli, who started his new year with another magnificent century but allowed the inexperienced Jadhav to walk away with the plaudits.

For the visitors to make inroads into India's batting, they would need to find a way to dismiss the in-form Kohli early, especially in a run chase.

If England's batting looks full of firepower, it's their bowling that has been struggling in the past something they would look to make amends before the ICC Champions Trophy at home in less than six months' time.

As for the venue, Barabati Stadium hosted its last ODI more than two years ago when India put up a record 363 for five, en route to thrashing Sri Lanka by 169 runs in November 2014 to set the tone for a 5-0 clean sweep.

However, India last played here on October 5, 2015 in a Twenty20 International that they lost by six wickets after being skittled out for 92.

The Cuttack crowd became furious at India's abject batting surrender and hurled missiles on the field as the play was held up. The stadium's security has been beefed with extra security cover.

Teams:

India: Virat Kohli (captain), KL Rahul, Shikhar Dhawan, Yuvraj Singh, Mahendra Singh Dhoni (w/k), Kedar Jadhav, Hardik Pandya, Ravindra Jadeja, Ravichandran Ashwin, Jasprit Bumrah, Umesh Yadav, Ajinkya Rahane, Manish Pandey, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Amit Mishra.

England: Eoin Morgan (captain), Jason Roy, Alex Hales, Joe Root, Jose Buttler (w/k), Ben Stokes, Moeen Ali, Chris Woakes, David Willey, Adil Rashid, Jake Ball, Liam Dawson, Jonny Bairstow, Sam Billings, Liam Plunkett.

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