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Can Team India continue winning momentum?

Last updated on: August 29, 2014 18:54 IST
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India fielders MS Dhoni (r) and Suresh Raina celebrate after India had dismissed Jos Buttler

India fielders Mahendra Singh Dhoni (right) and Suresh Raina celebrate after Jos Buttler was dismissed in the second ODI on Wednesday. Photograph: Stu Forster/Getty Images

Seeking to continue their winning momentum and take an unassailable 2-0 lead, India were dealt a blow ahead of the third one-dayer against England at Trent Bridge, on Saturday, as opener Rohit Sharma was ruled out of the remainder of the tour because of injury.

Sharma, who scored a well-crafted half-century in India's 133-run hammering of England in the second game, suffered a fracture on the middle finger of his right hand.

Murali Vijay has been picked as Sharma's replacement for the rest of the series.

Sharma's injury has turned out to be India's biggest worry going into the third one-dayer.

India put on a clinical all-round display in Cardiff to easily beat the hosts (via D/L) and take a 1-0 lead in the series after the first ODI in Bristol was abandoned due to rain.

Having recorded his first century outside the sub-continent with a blazing 75-ball 100, Suresh Raina will look to carry on in same fashion as will Ravindra Jadeja, the pick of the bowlers in the second game.

The two teams have played at Trent Bridge (1st Test) earlier this summer and there were two resultants from that match.

First, the pitch for that match was deemed poor by the match referee, David Boon, and the groundsman received an official warning from the ICC. There was nothing in it for the bowlers who toiled as the batsmen – mostly tailenders from both sides – made merry.

Push-gate controversy at Trent Bridge

James Anderson, left, of England shakes hands with Ravindra Jadeja of India after India's 133 run victory

James Anderson, left, of England shakes hands with Ravindra Jadeja of India after India's 133-run victory. Photograph: Michael Steele/Getty Images

A similar pitch is expected for the third ODI, which will be exciting for batsmen and fans.

This was the ground that saw the Ravindra Jadeja-James Anderson spat and the match has come about to enliven the episode again.

As the two teams walk through that infamous narrow corridor of the pavilion at Trent Bridge, they will feel differently about the episode.

India will feel that they have a point to prove and must now go for the jugular.

Taking a 2-0 lead in the series will not only give them the upper-hand, but will also help build ahead of the ODI World Cup by registering as many consistent performances as they can in the next six months.

In that light, India's success at Cardiff was a great starting point. Four of the six batsmen scored runs. Among them, it was vital for Rohit and Ajinkya Rahane to come good.

While the former is now ruled out, the clock was beginning to tick on the latter's role as the number four bat. In scoring 52 and 41 runs respectively, they have bought some time for themselves and reduced one area of concern for the management.

Raina to continue batting at Number 5

Raina and Dhoni

Suresh Raina (left) of India is congratulated by captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni after reaching his century in Cardiff. Photograph: Michael Steele/Getty Images

Indian skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni confirmed after the match that Raina will continue to bat at number five and the declaration sews up the batting order.

However, Shikhar Dhawan's and Virat Kohli’s form continues to be a worrying factor.

While India will surely be patient with their vice-captain, the same cannot be said about the left-hander.

In New Zealand, Dhawan had been dropped once during the five-ODI series and Kohli opened the innings. Such a move is unfathomable now, but with scores of 12, 0, 32, 12, 28, 9 and 11 (7 innings in South Africa, New Zealand and England) in conditions that will be similar to the World Cup, the attacking opener is not doing himself any favours.

Indian bowlers were satisfactory in 1st ODI

Mohammed Shami,right, of India celebrates with Suresh Raina, second right, and MS Dhoni after capturing the wicket of Alastair Cook of England

Mohammed Shami, right, of India celebrates with Suresh Raina, second right, and Mahendra Singh Dhoni after capturing the wicket of Alastair Cook of England. Photograph: Michael Steele/Getty Images

For once, India's bowling attack isn't cause for concern. However, it will be interesting to watch how the bowlers cope if they have an unhelpful track at Trent Bridge.

To a certain extent, their frailties were hidden by bowling-friendly conditions at Cardiff, not to mention that England are a bit of a mess as an ODI outfit at the moment.

Their success will mean that there might not be any changes to the playing eleven and Umesh Yadav will have to wait longer for his chance.

England have to pull up their socks in next ODI

Alex Hales

Egland batsman Alex Hales reacts after getting out in the second ODI. Photograph: Stu Forster/Getty Images

Meanwhile, it can be said that after a massive loss in the previous game, the euphoria of the Test series will have died down. As much as they care about the longer format, the English team management's sole focus now is on the upcoming World Cup and their performance at Cardiff was proof of no serious preparations made so far.

Alex Hales and Chris Woakes were the two positives from that second ODI but the rest of the team simply failed to turn up.

England are already without the services of experienced Stuart Broad and they have a challenge up ahead. Instead of playing two spinners, their most plausible change could be bringing in Steve Finn for the off-colour Chris Jordan.

For some inspiration, they will look to James Anderson again. The fast bowler will have shrugged off unwanted memories from that 'pushgate' scandal, but it remains to be seen whether returning to the scene of the incident can fire him up enough to carry his team forward.


India: Mahendra Singh Dhoni (capt and wk), Shikhar Dhawan, Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli, Ajinkya Rahane, Suresh Raina, Ambati Rayudu, Stuart Binny, Sanju Samson, R Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja, Karn Sharma, Mohit Sharma, Umesh Yadav, Mohammad Shami, Dhawal Kulkarni, Bhuvneshwar Kumar.

England: Alastair Cook (capt), Moeen Ali, James Anderson, Gary Ballance, Ian Bell, Jos Buttler (wk), Steven Finn, Harry Gurney, Alex Hales, Chris Jordan, Eoin Morgan, Joe Root, Ben Stokes, James Tredwell, Chris Woakes.

Match starts at 1500 IST.

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