England v India, 5th ODI, Cardiff September 15, 2011

India face the final curtain


Match facts

September 16, Cardiff
Start time 1400 (1300 GMT)

Big Picture

One more match, 100 overs of effort at best, and India's dreadful tour can finally be consigned to history. Cardiff was the scene of England's first match of an eventful 2011 summer, against Sri Lanka back in May, and now it is preparing to lower the curtain on the season as well. Two ad-hoc Twenty20s remain to be completed against West Indies next week, but to all intents and purposes, with the midpoint of September already passed, this contest possesses a true air of finality.

India achieved a victory of sorts at Lord's last week, insofar as they managed not to lose the fourth ODI - a match that was decreed to be a tie by Messrs Duckworth and Lewis after rain wrote off the final seven deliveries of the match. As had been the case with the wash-out in Durham, the arrival of rain probably did India a disservice at that particular moment in time, given that with Stuart Broad injured, England would have struggled to rustle up 11 more runs with one fit tail-ender still in hand.

Given the vast improvement in their performances in this one-day leg of the tour, it is perhaps a pity that India do not have at least a share of the series to fight for on Friday, not least for the sake of the hardy Welsh souls who will brave the autumnal conditions in Cardiff - and with any luck there will be more than 922 punters in the ground, which was the number that turned out to watch England's astonishing victory over Sri Lanka four months ago.

Nevertheless, all throughout this summer, England have proven the more resourceful at the critical moments of each contest, and the prospect of sending the World Champions home without so much as a consolation victory in ten international fixtures ought to be more than enough incentive to keep the intensity levels topped up for one more day.

Whether India are quite so motivated remains to be seen. Certainly the team's failure to attend the ICC Awards in Mayfair on Monday night - despite staying at a hotel less than ten minutes down the road - gave the impression of a squad that has mentally checked out of this tour. With the likes of Suresh Raina and MS Dhoni finding some late form with the bat, they should have the weapons to give England a battle, but realistically, all attention is now shifting to the rematch in India, starting on October 14. To win in your own seaming conditions is one thing, but to beat the World Champions in their own lair would be something else entirely.

Form guide

(Completed matches, most recent first)
England TWWWW

In the spotlight

At Lord's on Sunday, poor old Ravi Bopara came as close as he ever has done to cracking international cricket. For 96 runs and 111 deliveries, he produced his finest performance in England colours, but then - with the rain pouring, wickets falling and overs running out - he clobbered Munaf Patel to deep midwicket from what proved to be the final ball of the match, and so left England with a share of the spoils instead of what could have been a one-run win on D/L. Still, he could hardly be blamed in the circumstances, and his final score far exceeded his previous best of 60 in 62 previous matches. In the absence of Eoin Morgan, Bopara has a big chance to prove his true one-day worth in the coming weeks.

It's been a pretty bleak tour for MS Dhoni, whose previously unimpeachable status as India's captain has come under serious scrutiny while his team has staggered from one disaster to the next. On a personal note, however, he is just beginning to rediscover his best form as the summer winds to an end, and after digging India out of a massive hole at The Oval, he combined with Suresh Raina at Lord's in a record partnership of 169. His personal share was 78 from 71 balls, and stands him in good stead for the return series next month, let alone a shot at that elusive consolation prize in Cardiff.

Team news

Stuart Broad sustained a torn muscle in his shoulder while bowling his final over at Lord's, and so misses the rest of the English season as well as the tour of India next month. England's injury list grew further after Ben Stokes suffered a finger injury during England's practice session on Thursday. Yorkshire's Jonny Bairstow and Somerset's Jos Buttler have been called up as cover, although with two spinners likely in India, Samit Patel could slot into the vacancy.

England (probable): 1 Craig Kieswetter (wk), 2 Alastair Cook (capt), 3 Jonathan Trott, 4 Ian Bell, 5 Ravi Bopara, 6 Samit Patel, 7 Tim Bresnan, 8 Graeme Swann, 9 James Anderson, 10 Steven Finn, 11 Jade Dernbach

Through the arrival of Parthiv Patel and Ajinkya Rahane at the top of the order, and the revival of Raina and Dhoni lower down, India's batting has acquired a relative degree of solidity in the latter stages of the tour. As ever it is their bowling that has struggled to contain England's ambitions. RP Singh put in a shift with the new ball at Lord's but still ended up going at nearly seven an over, while Munaf Patel's important over at the death didn't quite mask his previous frailties. Maybe the time has come to blood the speedy Varun Aaron? They don't have much to lose.

India (probable): 1 Ajinkya Rahane, 2 Parthiv Patel, 3 Rahul Dravid, 4 Virat Kohli, 5 Suresh Raina, 6 MS Dhoni (capt/wk), 7 Ravindra Jadeja, 8 R Ashwin, 9 Praveen Kumar, 10 and 11 two out of Munaf Patel, RP Singh and Varun Aaron

Pitch and conditions

The weather is expected to be clear for the evening of the match, though Wales in September is no time or place for making assumptions. When asked how the wicket looked, Cook replied, helpfully: "22 yards long!" However, he did concede that two spinners was in his mind.

Stats and trivia

  • The four-wicket victory against Australia at Cardiff last year was the first time in three attempts that England had completed an ODI match at the venue, after washouts against Pakistan in 2006 and South Africa in 2008.

  • India is the only Test team yet to play an international fixture in Wales. Each of the first five matches at the ground were neutral ODIs involving Australia, New Zealand, Pakistan, South Africa, Zimbabwe, West Indies and Bangladesh, while the Test in May was the first time Sri Lanka had visited.

  • Suresh Raina needs 22 more runs to reach 3000 in ODIs.


"Obviously I will not be playing any more one-day cricket which I thought I would not be playing two years ago. I do not think really it is any different in this game, but it is a nice time to reflect back on what I think was a pretty pleasing and satisfying one-day career."
Rahul Dravid, a surprise recall to India's limited-overs squad for this trip, is preparing to play his 344th and last ODI

"You get judged on the results and we've won both series. It's an encouraging start but I think the good thing is, in the last two games, we've not really played that well, but we managed to get the result which bodes well."
England's captain, Alastair Cook gives a cautious appraisal of his first season as ODI captain.

Andrew Miller is UK editor of ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Dummy4 on September 16, 2011, 15:16 GMT

    This is precisely the reason why India doesnt produce any fast bowler. Prospects like umesh yadav and aaron are not given chances while mediocre bowlers like vinay kumar and praveen kumar are persisted with. We need a captain like Imran khan who was a fast bowlers captain...no wonder why pakistan produced and still produces great fast bowlers . Shame on Dhoni and the team selection. I was looking forward to seeing aaron bowl....looks like he might never get a chance with dhoni at the helm.

  • Matthew on September 16, 2011, 12:53 GMT

    Come on Jonny and Tim bring some pride back to Yorkshire cricket. Crisis at Headingley? What crisis?!

  • Rama on September 16, 2011, 12:49 GMT

    Aaron Varun has not been picked today as well. What a disappointment. The team selection has a lot to be blamed for the problems on this tour, setting aside how the players played. Come on Dhoni. You cannot bide your time hoping your buddies will win a game for you. With RP Singh in the team I don't see India winning this match. Thumbs down!

  • Shyam on September 16, 2011, 12:39 GMT

    What u think? Will Dhoni resign from captaincy after this match result? Or he would have decided already? ODI Captaincy or Test Captaincy or Both? I wonder he is brave enough to do that. If he choose to resign Test Captaincy, then I am sure Duncan Fletcher may say the same words to Dhoni as Greg Chappel told Ganguly. Do u know what those words?

  • Shyam on September 16, 2011, 12:35 GMT

    When India plays the next test match, will Duncan Fletcher say to Dhoni just like Grep Chappel to Ganguly? say what?

  • zeeshan on September 16, 2011, 11:59 GMT


  • zeeshan on September 16, 2011, 11:58 GMT


  • Matt on September 16, 2011, 11:44 GMT

    Hopefully another win for England. India were far better in the last ODI though so it should be a better contest this time. Last game in a fantastic tour (if you're and England fan)

  • lee on September 16, 2011, 11:22 GMT

    Ben Stokes is still recovering from a finger injury he suffered earleir in the season hence why he hasnt been bowling for england or even durham for that matter...might have struggled so far but will be a class act in the future...dont see why they still persist with patel

  • Devinderpal Singh on September 16, 2011, 10:44 GMT

    @myboyharry: Not clued up about cricket? Ha! You're having a laugh! You will never get any money from me because Stokes is not good enough for international cricket. He's proved nothing as far as I'm concerned with his county and he is currently proving nothing for England. IF he were making massive scores, people like you would be hyping Stokes up as the next big thing who is performing at a young age. As Stokes is not doing that, you use the excuse that he needs to be "bedded in". There are young players out there that don't need to be bedded in and they are called quality players because they don't use the excuse of youth for a lack of high scores at the start of their career. He's scored 150* but when has he scored 200? Not sure what point you were first making. In this forum, only Alex Spurge recognises exactly what I have. One still needs to justify their place, regardless of age, as there are always worthy players around, so you can't be content with a lack of non-performance.

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