England v India, 5th ODI, Headingley September 4, 2014

Punch-drunk England seek crumbs of comfort


Play 01:40
Moeen not affected by crowd reaction

Match facts

September 5, 2014
Start time 1030 local (0930 GMT)

Big picture

Five Indian batsmen have 50-plus averages in this ODI series. Only one England batsman has a 30-plus average. Only one Indian bowler has conceded five runs an over in this series, and that man, Dhawal Kulkarni, has an economy rate of exactly 5.00. Every England bowler barring James Tredwell has been more expensive. India have bowled England out three times in three matches. England have taken 11 wickets in three matches.

If it still needs to be said, this has been a rout, and England are under all kinds of pressure to demonstrate that their one-day strategy can work, and that the personnel they have invested in can make it work. The three completed matches so far have given them precious few positives - it's hard to think of any apart from Tredwell's consistently tight bowling and Moeen Ali's sparkling 67 at Edgbaston - and they have one more match to try and redeem that situation.

If England were flattered by India's surrender in the Test series, the reverse has occurred in the ODIs. India came into the series with two major issues to fix. One, their death bowling, has gone untested so far thanks to England's batting failures. The second was their middle order. Since winning the Champions Trophy last year largely on the back of their top three, India have tried a number of combinations without finding definitive answers to the question of who will bat at four and five come the World Cup.

The three players who have auditioned for those roles in this series - Suresh Raina, Ambati Rayudu and Ajinkya Rahane - have all strengthened their claims, with Rahane's century at Edgbaston suggesting he is perhaps better suited to opening the batting in this format. Considering how easy India have had it, though, and considering how subcontinental the conditions have been through this series, it seems prudent to wait a little longer before saying they have found a blueprint for the World Cup.

Form guide

(Completed matches, most recent first)
England LLLLL

Watch out for

England's totals in this series so far have been 161, 227 and 206. Their batting is better than that, and they will surely run India much closer if Eoin Morgan and Jos Buttler fire. They have averaged 23.33 and 18.33 in this series, respectively, and their failures have left England with barely any thrust in their middle order.

England's recent struggles against India's spinners in ODIs are best encapsulated by the fact that Ravindra Jadeja and R Ashwin are India's third and fourth-highest wicket-takers against England, and the fact that they also have the best strike rates among the top ten in that list. Jadeja needs three wickets to share the top spot with Harbhajan Singh. Can he do it in one match?

Team news

Ian Bell is out of the match with a broken toe, and England have not called for a replacement. He didn't play the previous game either, so it seems likely they will stick to the same top six that lined up at Edgbaston. The seam-bowling combination is harder to predict, however, since they have used five different fast bowlers over the course of this series, apart from James Anderson, and all of them have been expensive.

England (likely): 1 Alastair Cook (capt), 2 Alex Hales, 3 Gary Ballance, 4 Joe Root, 5 Eoin Morgan, 6 Moeen Ali, 7 Jos Buttler (wk), 8 Chris Woakes, 9 Steven Finn, 10 James Anderson, 11 Harry Gurney

A few players in India's squad haven't played a game yet, and the series is already won, but India tend not to tinker that much with their eleven even in dead rubbers. It seems unlikely, therefore, that Sanju Samson or Karn Sharma will get to make their debuts.

India (likely): 1 Ajinkya Rahane, 2 Shikhar Dhawan, 3 Virat Kohli, 4 Ambati Rayudu, 5 Suresh Raina, 6 MS Dhoni (capt & wk), 7 Ravindra Jadeja, 8 R Ashwin, 9 Bhuvneshwar Kumar, 10 Dhawal Kulkarni, 11 Mohammed Shami

Pitch and weather

Three of the last five ODIs at Headingley have been abandoned without a ball bowled. This time around, the weather in Leeds should permit a full ODI, with the Met department forecasting a less than 5% chance of rain during the day. The pitch is expected to be flat, but the seamers could find some help if there is cloud cover. Though they took place a long time ago, the last two ODIs at this venue - England chased down 295 against Pakistan in 2010, and fell well short of Sri Lanka's 309 a year later - suggest batsmen will enjoy themselves.

Stats and trivia

  • If India don't lose the match, it will be the third time they have gone undefeated in bilateral ODI series of four or more matches against England. The previous two instances were 5-0 wins, both at home, in 2008-09 and in 2011-12
  • Ajinkya Rahane will reach 1000 ODI runs if he scores 54


"We are really happy the way we played our cricket in the last three ODIs, but the approach will remain the same. We will go in with the same intensity. We are not relaxed. We are just ready for the next ODI as we were ready for the last three games."
India have already won the series, but Ajinkya Rahane says England can expect no mercy

"We are playing for England, he's the captain and whatever he says we do. He's got all our backing and like any other game for England we're trying to do our best."
There has been plenty of pressure on Alastair Cook to step down from the ODI captaincy, but he has the full support of Moeen Ali

Karthik Krishnaswamy is a senior sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Dummy4 on September 5, 2014, 9:48 GMT

    I am afraid England cricket going nowhere with this ODI team. I would love to see Ravi Bopara,Trott and Micheal Lumb in this squad. Keep Cook, Ballance and Bell for tests.

    And for God sake please don't include that tattoo man- Dernbach again.. Finn needs few more chances..

    Dhawan is still concern for me. also, India should look for their no.7. There are many other better no.7 players in India than Sir RJ.

  • Android on September 5, 2014, 9:24 GMT

    cup already won, Worldcup conditions are different still no chance for bench players what is the Dhoni going to prove through this non important match, without giving chance to Samson, he really afraid that's the truth

  • cric on September 5, 2014, 9:23 GMT

    @IrvingPhillipFreely Attitude my dear Watson. Attitude.

    Dhoni won't admit it openly like Chris Gayle but he simply doesn't care about the longer format. He is at his best in 50 overs game as he has clearly worked out a formula to win with the resources at hand. India would easily qualify for semi's with the current team, no matter where they play in the world. After that you need a bit of luck with other factors like toss, form, injury to players etc. to win the world cup.

  • Dummy4 on September 5, 2014, 9:10 GMT

    All the Best Yadav hope your outstanding performance..

  • Adrian on September 5, 2014, 9:00 GMT

    Sometimes I wonder if there is a point to these 2 teams playing any form of cricket against each other. Each team clearly sees a different format of cricket as the pinnacle of the game and is either cowed by or, worse, not bothered at all with the other format. Never before has it been so obvious that cricket is 2 (or even 3) completely different games.

  • santhosh on September 5, 2014, 8:48 GMT

    Winning in England doesnt mean nothing...we should not forget the ODI thrashing we got in SA and NZ...and next world cup is in Aus and NZ...lets be realistic our team is not competitive enough to win in Aus and NZ...My bet is on Aus and NZ and SL judging from the current form....

  • Rajat on September 5, 2014, 8:44 GMT

    @IrvingPhillipFreely you have raised the most pertinent issue. India flattered England who were quick to return the compliment. All the theories and explanations have been simplistic rather than persuasive. Let me add to that. Leaving aside Gambhir, India's six batsmen for this tour are their best. No other domestic batsmen come close. Mostly they do not have issues with pace and bounce. However, once Anderson and Broad raised their game. the batsmen could not cope with the late swing. Confidence dipped alarmingly. Attacking by nature, their game is not based round their defence - Pujara excepted. They were exposed. Murali Vijay made a heroic effort but that intensity and quality of the bowling took their toll. Rahane was spent by the 4th Test. No one else contributed any form or confidence - nor did they try anything different. Dhoni was unable to inspire and India was shot. With Broad gone, Anderson listless, flat pitches, India have got their swagger back. And that's that.

  • Sugesh on September 5, 2014, 8:36 GMT

    We are the kings of shorter format version of cricket. No one is able to beat us in any conditions. We hold the world cup and ICC Champions Trophy. We are the most consistent ODI and T20 team for a decade. The best batting lineup in the world and a good bowling attack as well. Kohli will score a 200 today. All the best mighty India to white wash this poor England side.

  • Paulo on September 5, 2014, 8:35 GMT

    @JG2704 Re no Tredwell. He's one of the few players who you'd guarantee a place for the World Cup. Not playing him now allows you to look at others play who may join him. Also not playing him today increases the likelihood of another thrashing, which I think England desperately needs, because say England win, the management will have an excuse not to change much/anything.

  • Hamish on September 5, 2014, 8:33 GMT

    @IrvingPhillipFreely: Excellent points. Back in the day, a nation's ODI team was essentially its test team with the odd specialist involved after Sri Lanka employed the concept of pinch hitting. When the ECB 'invented' T20 it was regarded as, "a bit of a laugh", particularly by the Ausies. Fast-forward to today: we have three competitive formats of the game which place differing demands on the basic roles of batting, bowling and captaincy. Some nations attempt to embrace the differences while others either don't, or merely pay lip service. In short, the skills developed for T20 are changing the approach in ODIs, which is having a knock on effect to the strategies and skills required to be a successful test match playing nation. IMHO, to be successful in any format a nation has to employ the basic Ausie mantra of, pick your best team for the game and from those players pick the best suited to captain. I don't believe any of the nations has achieved the right balance as yet.