India v England, 3rd ODI, Mohali October 19, 2011

England struggling to stay afloat in series


Match Facts

October 20, Mohali
Start time 1430 (0900 GMT)

Big Picture

As Rudyard Kipling once put it: "East is East, and West is West, and never the twain shall meet." The contemptuous dominance that England enjoyed in their home Test series against India is now being reprised in reverse in their one-day tour against the same opponents.

England's opening two ODIs in Hyderabad and Delhi resulted in two crushing defeats, and unless they can stop the rot at the third time of asking in Mohali, they will have squandered the series with two games to play. It's hard to envisage any such transformation taking place, however. With one victory in their last 15 ODIs in India - and none since April 2006 - England have been in this position before, and have yet to work out an escape route.

India are a much-changed team from the outfit that won the World Cup back in April, but in their first home campaign since that momentous achievement, they have tapped into the same well of confidence. England faced trial by spin in the first game, and trial by seam in the second, and while their batsmen faltered on each occasion, India's have gone from strength to strength.

From MS Dhoni's blistering assault in the final 16 overs of the first match, to Virat Kohli's crushing double-century partnership with Gautam Gambhir in the second, the defining feature of India's performances to date has been the fluidity of their run-scoring. Whereas England's innings have been staccato at best, with occasional boundary shots punctuated by long periods of failed strike rotation, India's ability to create gaps in the field has been nigh on impossible to match, and even harder to stop.

In that regard, the absence of Eoin Morgan has been critical for England. His nominal replacement, Jonny Bairstow, hits a long ball given half a chance, as demonstrated on debut at Cardiff last month, but he has yet to learn the versatility required to dominate on Indian pitches. He's not alone in that regard. Craig Kieswetter has managed one boundary and seven runs in 13 balls so far, and while Alastair Cook and Jonathan Trott have looked at ease in the conditions when they've got in, neither man has been able to put pedal to metal in the manner of their India counterparts.

England's problems extend to their bowling attack as well. Steven Finn and Tim Bresnan have impressed in an individual capacity, even though their figures hardly reflect their efforts, but Jade Dernbach's variations have been collared, while Samit Patel has struggled as a spin-bowling allrounder. Ravindra Jadeja, R Ashwin and even Kohli's leg-rollers have all proven more effective. It will take a considerable swing in fortunes for England to prove greater than the sum of India's parts in the coming contests.

Form guide

(completed matches, most recent first)

England LLWTW

In the spotlight

There was no love lost between England's bowlers and Virat Kohli in Delhi, but seeing as he butchered them with a sublime 89-ball hundred, there was only one winner of that particular skirmish. Whatever technical suspicions were aired on the England tour, they were nowhere to be seen as he filleted the gaps in the field with aplomb, and he further confirmed his prowess on home soil with five nagging overs of unhittable medium pace. At the age of 22, he is seizing his chance to become the flag-bearer of India's new generation.

Jade Dernbach is a remarkable bowler for England to have in their ranks - a genuinely innovative seamer with an arsenal of variation to call upon, and time on his side to fine-tune his repertoire. When he gets it right, as he did with a looping slower ball to pin Gautam Gambhir lbw in Hyderabad, he can bamboozle the best players; however, when his variations are clocked, the joke is invariably on him - and so far in this campaign, he has one wicket at 99.00 in 16 overs. As Shane Warne once said of young legspin bowlers, he needs a lot of love to build the confidence upon which his skills will be pinned, but he's not getting it on this most torrid of tours to date.

Pitch and conditions

One of the most northerly venues in India, the Punjab Cricket Association Stadium has traditionally offered something to the seamers, although on the evidence of the second ODI, it is India's pairing of Praveen Kumar and Vinay Kumar who are better placed to exploit whatever is on offer.

Team news

No change was necessary the hosts in Delhi despite the conditions being markedly different, and so more of the same can be expected in Mohali. It makes quite a contrast to the recent tour of England, on which casualties abounded.

India (probable): 1 Parthiv Patel, 2 Ajinkya Rahane, 3 Gautam Gambhir, 4 Virat Kohli, 5 Suresh Raina, 6 MS Dhoni (capt & wk), 7 Ravindra Jadeja, 8 R Ashwin, 9 Praveen Kumar, 10 Vinay Kumar, 11 Umesh Yadav

Patel's place is under scrutiny following two poor bowling performances in the opening two games. Chris Woakes, one of his likelier replacements, has been ruled out of the tour through injury. His replacement is Graham Onions, although the legspinner Scott Borthwick is arguably first in line for a call-up. Despite being at 30s and 40s in Delhi, England may yet resist the temptation to tinker with the batting, with Ian Bell once again set to wait his turn.

England (probable): 1 Alastair Cook (capt), 2 Craig Kieswetter (wk), 3 Jonathan Trott, 4 Kevin Pietersen, 5 Ravi Bopara, 6 Jonny Bairstow, 7 Tim Bresnan, 8 Graeme Swann, 9 Scott Borthwick, 10 Steven Finn, 11 Jade Dernbach

Stats and trivia

  • India have a chequered history in ODIs at Mohali - they have won six and lost four of their ten games at the venue since 1993.
  • However, Mohali retains a significant place in the nation's affections, given the result of the last game it hosted in March 2011: the victorious World Cup semi-final against Pakistan.


"The challenge for me is to get the players in the right frame of mind. We will have some scars when we get to Mohali, but we'll have to deal with them."
Alastair Cook faces up to his toughest test as England captain

"The youngsters are stepping up, and coming up with the performances needed at international level - both with ball and bat."
MS Dhoni is delighted with the development of a new-look India team

Andrew Miller is UK editor of ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • John on October 20, 2011, 9:37 GMT

    Re England's line up - which is what this post was meant to be about - I would like to see England's batting line up remain the same throughout this series. I feel to drop players after 2 matches is not giving them a good chance. A 5 match series is giving the batsmen a fairer chance. Also re Bell , his stats in ODI's are not at all good , whether you are talking about strikerate or average. Even in recent matches since he's improved so much in the test format. I honestly believe that expert pundits and fans seem to somehow believe that Bell is better in the OD format than he should be but for whatever reason he doesn't carry that over to the OD arena. Also , discarding the openers , all the England batsmen showed potential in the last match . Maybe put Borthwick into the team when conditions favours spin

  • John on October 20, 2011, 9:15 GMT

    @Anand Vanchi - thanks for your history lesson re test cricket , but at the end of the day history is all it is. England have deservedly become the number 1 test side on the ICC's rolling points ranking system. Even with the 4-0 win vs India they would not have become number 1 had they not worked their way up the points table , just like India would not have been 1 had they not done similar

  • John on October 20, 2011, 9:07 GMT

    @kriskini - India would have cared about the test series as they were defending their number one ranking and had they lost by a solitary test - and most neutral obsevers (never mind the Indians on these boars who said we'd take a hammering) thought that would be the best case scenario for England - then they'd have remained number one. Surely that would be important to you to remain number one and I'm pretty sure that you were proud enough when you were number 1 , but now you're knocked off that perch test matches test matches aresuddenly unimportant. England are T20 champions but being number 1 test side is so much more important to us. I'm not going to be as petty as to say I couldn't care less about this series as I want Eng to win every match they play in. I'm sure you deep down care about the test series or at least would be gloating had the 4-0 been in India's favour.

  • Dummy4 on October 20, 2011, 8:52 GMT

    well india won this match...........

  • Dummy4 on October 20, 2011, 8:43 GMT

    Kohli should remember that being aggressive does not mean merely sledging and reacting in the way he does,but he learn the ways in which great players like Sachin,Dravid,react.

  • Dummy4 on October 20, 2011, 8:38 GMT

    True world champions should win in all surfaces under all conditions -- as the West Indies and Aussies had done in the past. Being a "Green Top Bully" is only as good as a "Dirt Track Bully". Both teams have plenty to prove when they play the other big teams, later. But for the moment, India has a great need to win, to erase the unsavory taste in the mouth they brought back from England. Wishing for a good competitive match (and of course,being an Indian myself, a win for India)

  • Naveen on October 20, 2011, 8:19 GMT

    Kieswetter, Dernbach, Trott n KP in this series are frm SA n u call tat an England team(Morgan-Ireland, Prior n Strauss-SA),, even if they are, let alone d series, wen was the last time England won a single ODI since 2006-->> n u call Eng Dominating,, wen was d last time Eng won a test series in Ind---> about 3 decades ago(84/85),, n u still call Eng Dominating,, whereas Ind won a test series 01/02 b4 End won in their own backyard since 1996. Ind won d test series in Eng in 07 n won d ODI series in 2002. atleast Ind lost d 07 odi series 4-3 to Eng,, except fr 1 season in 2011, Ind won atleast one series either d ODI or Test series since the 2000's n wen did Eng do tat previously.. answer d question,, Wen did Eng win a series(either test or ODI) in Ind n wen did Ind win in Eng?? d answer ll tel u which is better…

  • Rupang on October 20, 2011, 8:17 GMT

    From last few days i have noticed that fans are trying to find excuses... as far as i can tell there is no place for excuses in sport like cricket!!! comments from both sides like no this and no that.... bare in mind that cricket is 11 player game and best fit players will play.. there should not be a place for any excuses like that!!! And of course best team win. being a bowler and playing for one of the county league games here in UK from last 6 years, i have learnt a lot regarding individual attitude towards the game of cricket... if you look more closely , cricket is not just a long frame game.. it is for reasons... there is a vast possibility of variations, situations, which affect the ultimate result of the game and hence best team win... not due to no this and no that approach!!

    So as an Indian supporter - All the very best INDIA

    PS- Technically we are the best team in the world for this format of the game.

  • Dummy4 on October 20, 2011, 8:05 GMT

    @Dravid_Gravitas. While I can agree to some extent on wt u said abt Broad, I clearly disagree abt Anderson. He is never a fine bowler. Just like batsman, a bowler has to look decent in all conditions. Anderson will not. He thoroughly depend on pitch and weather conditions to seam/swing his ball. Look at Zak/PK. They can swing his delivery even in Indian "so called" flat pitches. Anderson will look like a bowling machine in such conditions and there are enough proof to backup this. U can check it urself in Cricinfo. :) And ur comment abt Dravid. I knw u r a big fan of Dravid. Ofcourse, Dravid doesnt hv gr8 record in SA. Bt, he has done reasonably well in other conditions(alien to him - Aus/NZ/Eng/WI) unlike Anderson who has always suffered in alien conditions. All batsman/Bowler cant be good in all conditions. Atleast they shud look decent in various conditions, which Anderson or for that matter any Eng bowler lacks.

  • ashok on October 20, 2011, 7:58 GMT

    Parthiv Patel is not good on the field, he may be a keeper, but when needed, he should also field, better they get Manoj Tiwary as opener with Rahane...

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