Mark Wood seeks knock-out vibe as England press for series win
England will use the third and final ODI at Headingley to simulate the pressure of a World Cup knockout, according to Mark Wood. With the series locked at one-all and the previous two games ending in a comfortable win for each side, the scales are balanced. However a win for England, after losing the T20I series and suffering a big loss in the opening match, would be a welcome boost ahead of the upcoming Test series, and with the World Cup less than a year away.
"I think for the Test-match side of things, it is great to get certain people out or get runs against them," said Wood. "But it is more of impact for the World Cup.
"If we can use this game as a semi-final, a must-win with the pressure on, we can learn what we are doing wrong if we don't win or what we are doing right if we do win. Over the past year we have dealt with these situations well and hopefully we can carry on that trend tomorrow."
Jason Roy is in doubt for the decider after lacerating his right little finger while fielding at Lord's on Saturday. He will be assessed in the morning and, if he is deemed unfit, will likely be replaced by James Vince, who came into the squad when Dawid Malan was called up for the England Lions' four-day match against India A. Sam Billings will also join the squad as cover.
Whichever batsman completes the line-up, the challenge of negating the left-arm wrist-spin of Kuldeep Yadav, who has taken a total of 14 wickets in four limited-overs matches on this tour, remains a key focus for England.
Joe Root's century was instrumental to the victory at Lord's and the way he grew more assured in picking the variations of Kuldeep is an encouraging sign for the England camp.
"It's definitely a plus point for our players to bat well against him," said Wood. "I know he still took wickets but we managed to get some runs against him and put him under a little bit of pressure.
"I think the main thing is he keeps getting wickets in his first over. So I think that's the key going into this game, that if he gets a wicket early doors, his confidence is up again. So if we can try to nullify that wicket-taking option that he's got straight away, then hopefully we can shift the momentum against him to us."
Continuing the theme of an unusually hot and dry English summer, the pitch at Headingley had barely any tinges of green showing on the eve of the day, and Wood believes that, once again, there will be little assistance to the fast bowlers in terms of swing or seam in the early overs.
"The grounds have all been drier," said Wood. "The pitch on top has looked pretty good and looked like normal wickets but we found at Lord's we went to cutters and shorter balls earlier than we would if it had been normal weather and the ball nipping around.
"We have had to bowl more variations. I feel with my skiddy pace, I am a similar height to the Indian lads so I'm used to what they are facing. With my pace on slower wickets it is actually easier for them to play. We made the decision last game that more cutters were needed and that helped with trying to pick up earlier wickets."
Melinda Farrell is a presenter with ESPNcricinfo