India v England, 4th ODI, Mumbai October 22, 2011

England seek consolation in heated series


Match Facts

India v England, October 23, Wankhede Stadium, Mumbai
Start time 1430 (0900 GMT)

Big Picture

The phrase 'to play for pride' is grossly overused, usually to lend a dead rubber some importance. But such has been the nature of the battle between India and England over the past few months that the sentiment may actually have some credence going in to the fourth ODI in Mumbai. MS Dhoni may not like the word "revenge" but surely he wouldn't mind "redemption" being used to describe India's performance at the end of the series. The magnitude of their failure in England means a simple series-win may not be enough to grant it. The fans want an emphatic scoreline.

There could hardly be a better place for India to underline their recovery from the disastrous summer tour. Though it seems like it has been an eternity since, it was only six-and-a-half months ago that Mumbai witnessed one of India's biggest wins.

But England have had a couple of special moments in ODIs at the Wankhede Stadium too: back in 1987 they beat India to go through to the World Cup final, and in 2002, Andrew Flintoff famously ripped his shirt off and did a victory-lap around the ground after bowling England to a series-levelling five-run win.

Since then England have lost 13 of 14 completed one-day internationals in bilateral series in India, and the frustration is beginning to show in the body-language of their players. There have been a few verbal confrontations between the players during this series, and Tim Bresnan was fined for snatching his cap from the umpire in the third ODI. Andy Flower, the England team director, has defended his team's attitude but will know a win is the only tonic for some hurt egos.

In order to achieve that, though, England need to accept certain realities of playing India in India, the first of which is that scores of 300, while winning totals in other countries, are often just par for the course on Indian pitches. After the Mohali ODI, Alastair Cook, the England captain, said their score of 298 was defendable, a statement made mainly to justify Jonathan Trott's innings of 98 not out from 116 balls, considered too slow by some. Cook would do well to listen to what Kumar Sangakkara, a man who knows all about playing against India in their home conditions, said after the World Cup final: "Anything less than 350 is not safe against India."

Aiming higher does not necessarily mean having to drop Trott, but it does mean that pretty much no-one else can afford to score at less than a run-a-ball. A series strike-rate of 84.31 from someone like Craig Kieswetter, in the side to provide rapid starts, simply won't cut it.

Form guide

India: WWWLT (completed matches, most recent first)
England: LLLWT

In the spotlight

In the absence of James Anderson and Stuart Broad, Tim Bresnan is the leader of England's seam attack, but he's been their most-expensive bowler in the series so far, going at 6.94 in his 24.2 overs. He's got the variations to be successful in the subcontinent and may want to look back to the tied game against India during the World Cup to figure out what to do right. In that match, Bresnan was the only bowler who shone on a batsman's night, and took 5 for 48 in his 10 overs.

When Vinay Kumar said, at the start of the series, that he would be guiding the younger bowlers during this series, it seemed ironic, given that Vinay had only played six ODIs himself. After taking five wickets in three games, including a four-wicket haul in Delhi, he has indeed proved to be India's spearhead. In Mohali, he was found out in the end overs, when Samit Patel read his short balls and slower ones easily. Vinay will want to prove he can be effective at both ends of an innings.

Pitch and conditions

Mumbai sees an unusual heat wave arrive every October, and the England players are going to find it extremely uncomfortable. This is not a welcome, sunny, sunbathe in Hyde Park sort of heat. It's muggy, stifling and you are likely to perspire a river by the time you've walked from the team bus to the ground. "Mumbai is a bit hot and humid, rehydration will be the key; batsman or bowler, everyone will be tested; no more runners in cricket," MS Dhoni tweeted during India's practice session on Saturday. The England players may not have the energy to type a sentence that long by the time Sunday is over.

The pitch will be a slow turner, according to Sudhir Naik, the Wankhede curator and former India opening batsman. "It will be slower than what was prepared for the World Cup final," he told the Times of India. "It will be a dry wicket."

Team news

Umesh Yadav injured his hand while fielding in the Mohali ODI and has been replaced in the squad by Abhimanyu Mithun. That means young fast bowler Varun Aaron, who has been waiting for his chance since the England tour, could make an international debut. Dhoni said India may give other players in the squad a chance so long as it doesn't affect the balance. The uncapped legspinner Rahul Sharma for R Ashwin would be a straight swap.

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/Rahul Sharma, 9 Praveen Kumar, 10 Vinay Kumar, 11 Varun Aaron

After the Mohali ODI, the Indian Express carried a headline that read 'Bell makes some noise, but will the door open?' Even more absurd than that title is the fact that the door has stayed shut on Ian Bell, perhaps England's most naturally talented stroke-maker. Andy Flower said there would be changes in Mumbai, and surely Bell will find a place. Jonny Bairstow may be the man to make way after Samit Patel did well as a lower-order hitter in Mohali.

Graham Onions has joined the England squad as a replacement for the injured Chris Woakes, and either he or the uncapped Stuart Meaker could replace Jade Dernbach, who has gone at 6.54 through the series and looked frustrated on the field. Scott Borthwick, the 21-year-old legspinner who took five wickets in a practice match against a Hyderabad XI, may be given a game.

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

Stats and trivia

  • In Mohali, India scored 300 for the 65th time in ODIs, going past Australia's 64 to be the side with the most number of totals of 300 or more. This, after India were the last of the major teams to go past 300 in an ODI.
  • Virat Kohli has gone past 1000 one-day runs for 2011 in this series. Last year, he managed 995 runs.
  • India have won nine of the last 10 matches they have chased in.


"I have been a ball boy twice - during an India-Australia match and a game against South Africa. Both times I was near the dressing room and I was always excited to see the Indian players. I always wanted to be in there one day, and now I will do that."
Local lad Ajinkya Rahane has a unique association with the Wankhede Stadium

"As far as talent is concerned, they are very good. But they need to stick together - that's one thing that's very important, especially when the team doesn't get the desired result."
MS Dhoni has some advice for England

"Yes, there is a difference between passion and poor conduct and, on almost all occasions, I think our guys are excellent at finding that balance."
Andy Flower, the England team director, believes his team's on-field behaviour has not been out of line

Dustin Silgardo is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Prodipto on October 23, 2011, 11:22 GMT

    lol ..I do feel bad for brit least we knew this summer that u guys will show up here to get trashed..poor brit fans don't even have that luxury :p

  • mythily on October 23, 2011, 10:16 GMT

    @5wombats,India did won series in England 2007 and in yr 2002,but last England won in India is way back 1984.This seriously need some thinking,I think current England team is way better compared to previous England team.I thought they will win atleast this time,but it's the same old story.disappointed seriously as an England fan.

  • Dummy4 on October 23, 2011, 8:39 GMT

    Indian are the world champions and they have shown it in this series.

  • Martin on October 23, 2011, 8:32 GMT

    @Gupta.Ankur; I think one of the reasons india did badly when they played in England is that they lack self-belief......they have a negitive and resigned attitude when they play here.......

  • Ranil on October 23, 2011, 7:52 GMT

    England always struggle in India and Sri Lanka because their bowlers, lethal in English conditions, are not so effective in the subcontinent pitches.Loss of Morgan has made a severe dent in English batting but in any case India should cruise to a comfortable win. Ranil Herath - Kent

  • Dummy4 on October 23, 2011, 7:32 GMT

    it seems cricket is pitch oriented spacialy for these two teams England and India.. England done extremely well at their home, now india perform terrifically.. so its very clear now ICC should take notice of these last two series and need to focus what stander they should adopt in order to prepare pitches for subcontinent and for other cricket nations,but stander should be same. these indian batsman(Raina etc) were unable to play short pitch balls in England and now same indian batsman smashing every short pitch out of park.. series like this been deteriorating cricket lover's interest,where result is exactly according to exception. weather factor of england and india dosnt matter alot as much pitch condition matter.. if same indian team have to play 4th ODI in england defiantly thy have to face defeat.. Soo ICC should prepare truning track(spinners) or fast track or mix one but it should be same every where....

  • Dummy4 on October 23, 2011, 7:19 GMT

    isit england? or isit the slow pitches? because at home they were outstanding

  • kl on October 23, 2011, 6:59 GMT

    i think England teams knows that, how India is no:1....England give tight fight if bell played today...other wise will see school game between ENG VS IND

  • saving on October 23, 2011, 6:46 GMT

    Good News is that "VARUN AARON" is playing today... The WAIT if finally over... Lets all wish him to prove himself today!!!!

    Parthiv Patel can Play in the Indian team as a replacement WK in case Dhoni is Injured... Not as a Specialist batsman... !! Ask any bowler if he would prefer to bowl to Parthiv patel or Robin Uthappa, The bowler gleefully would accept Parthiv's presence at the crease... He is not THREATENING....:)

  • Dummy4 on October 23, 2011, 6:36 GMT

    Dhoni is not including Varun Aaron most likely because of his sore hand.There is not other reason for that. If it is an indicator of Munaf and R.P. Singh cutting down their pace, then it is really unfortunate for Indian Cricket.If Dhoni wants, he can play in Indian team as a pure batsman. Accept it or not, pace is always a potent weapon. It is up to the bowler, how they use it. Who knows, Varun performs as good as hype was created aound him.Even if he performs fifty percent of the expectations, that will be a positive sign for Indian Cricket.

  • No featured comments at the moment.