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Saturday, September 03, 2011 1:33:43 PM (IST)  

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Live Cricket Score : 1st ODI - India Vs England

Preview by Saurabh Somani - Cricbuzz

Follow Live Cricket Score - from 2.45pm IST onwards (Sep 3) - Click Here

London, Sep 3: Five international matches, five defeats. That's been the Indian story so far in England, with the ODI series about to start. To say that the tourists have a chance at redemption will be putting it too strongly, since even an unlikely white-wash in the ODIs, will not compare with the 0-4 Test series defeat, but it is true that a measure of balm can be achieved if India win the ODI series.

For England, whose confidence must be at an all-time high, a win will not only be the outcome aimed at, it will be the outcome that is heavily expected - from the fans and the team. And for both sides, setting the winning tone early is vitally important.

India: A one word description of the Indian team, its state of mind and its fate in England would be 'battered'. A team that had seldom known defeat, is suddenly looking as if it doesn't know where its next win is coming from. India has not managed to remain competitive for any extended duration throughout this summer of discontent, and against an opposition that has been relentless, their bouts of fluctuating intensity have hit them hard. The fact that there has hardly been enough time to lick old wounds before new ones are inflicted hasn't helped - but the team must somehow find the belief in itself again. Not too long ago, India were the World Champions and the Number One ranked team in Test cricket, and even if their cricket has been hardly befitting that, a good team does not become terrible overnight. Consequently, India must believe they are good enough and carry that belief onto the ground, where it will translate into performance.

After Ajinkya Rahane's splendid Twenty20 debut, it will be hard to leave him out of the playing eleven, while Rahul Dravid's superb form in the Test and handy knock in the Twenty20 mean he too should be there. Given that India have to pick at least four bowlers and of course MS Dhoni, that leaves spots for four batsmen. They are almost certain to be Sachin Tendulkar, Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma and Suresh Raina. With Kohli, Raina and Sharma, there will be options for the fifth bowler's slot too. Among the bowlers, Praveen Kumar, Munaf Patel and R Ashwin should be certainties, but the fourth bowler's slot could see an interesting tussle between Vinay Kumar, Varun Aaron and Amit Mishra. On balance, the team doesn't look bad on paper. The batting though, is the clear strength. If Tendulkar and Rahane open, the team could have the flexibility to send in Dravid if a wicket falls early or Kohli if a good partnership is established.

England: Every factor that will work against India, will conversely be working for England. The hosts will not be lacking in belief, in confidence and have established a happy winning habit which they revel in. Their intensity and level of preparation has been marvelous. Nowhere have the bowlers allowed freebies, attacking in a pack with both discipline and menace. The batsmen have not been satisfied with any score - however big - and the depth in the line-up has meant that the wherewithal to counter-attack has always been there. In the field, England might have dropped catches, but their ground-fielding has been expectedly superior than their opponents'.

What is likely to be England's greatest strength in the series is the presence of Tim Bresnan and Stuart Broad. Good enough to command a spot on their bowling alone, their batting skill means England can go in with five bowlers, if they choose to. Even so, they can be beaten in ODIs when put under pressure - even in home conditions - as Sri Lanka showed in the tour preceding India's. What will be in England's favour is that since the ODI series against Sri Lanka (which they won 3-2), the players seem to have hit a rich vein of form and the opposition has kept wilting. They will be missing the enormous presence of Kevin Pietersen in the batting line-up but in Cook, Kieswetter, Trott, Bell and Morgan - there is still enough fire-power to be a threatening batting unit. In contrast with India, England's strength though is bowling. Anderson, Broad and Bresnan wrecked havoc in the Test series and Graeme Swann has looked like he's finding his form again. Dernbach was the Man-of-the-Match in the Twenty20 and if England choose not to go with him, Ben Stokes all-round talents or Steve Finn would be good replacements, as would Samit Patel if the need is for two spinners.

Weather Update: The forecast is for light rains. If the rain stays light, the most it could do is shave off a few overs, but the match itself should not be in danger of being washed out.

Final Word: Given the way the tour has gone, England go in as favourites for this match. The real worry for India is losing the first ODI. If that happens, the already low morale might take a hit from which it will be impossible to recover. It is thus far more important for India to win this match than England, because even if the hosts do lose the match, they will not have any trouble with morale or mental fragility. England, however, as they have shown consistently, are in no mood to let up on their intensity and ruthlessness.

Teams:

India (From): MS Dhoni(w/c), Sachin Tendulkar, Rahul Dravid, Suresh Raina, Amit Mishra, Munaf Patel, Praveen Kumar, RP Singh, Virat Kohli, Parthiv Patel, Rohit Sharma, Vinay Kumar, Ravichandran Ashwin, Varun Aaron, Ajinkya Rahane, Ravindra Jadeja

England (From): Alastair Cook(c), Craig Kieswetter(w), Jonathan Trott, Eoin Morgan, Ian Bell, Stuart Broad, Tim Bresnan, Graeme Swann, Ravi Bopara, Steven Finn, Jade Dernbach, Samit Patel, Ben Stokes, James Anderson

Follow Live Cricket Score - from 2.45pm IST onwards (Sep 3) - Click Here


Comments on this article
Joydip, Bangalore
Friday, October 14, 2011

I want to see the scores.

manoharan, coimbatore
Saturday, September 03, 2011

i love cricket

 
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