Trent Bridge, Nottingham
July 12, Thursday; 17:00 IST
Live on SPN, streaming on SonyLiv
The main picture
Right, the series that a lot of us were looking forward to, and couldn’t wait for, has finally arrived. The three-match T20I series was enthralling, but the ODI series beginning tomorrow has more context to it (with the Cricket World Cup beginning next May) and India and England are likely to treat us to an exciting, barely-seen-anywhere brand of one-day cricket that will blow our minds. The two teams are not short on quality and, unlike when England played a second-string Australia, they will be fielding their first-choice XIs (or at least close to one) that are evenly-matched as well.
The confidence in the Indian camp must be sky-high after the manner in which they won the T20I series. Winning the final match by seven wickets and with nine balls to spare (in a chase of 199) was as good as sending out a strong message to the host. Even though the nuances of T20I and ODI cricket are different, India’s performance was such that they will feel they are well-prepared for what may be an extended version of T20 if the conditions remain sunny and batsmen-friendly. Don’t forget, less than a month ago, a full-strength England amassed 481 runs in an ODI against Australia at Trent Bridge. And even though India’s and England’s bowling attacks are better than Australia’s was, the batsmen are likely to rule the roost with the overhead conditions as they are and the pitches being favourable for strokeplay.
England’s major worry, even if they haven’t read much into their T20I performances against India, will be their bowling. The fast bowlers, but for David Willey, are similar in style (hit the deck and bowl quick, the combination that will not perturb the Indian batsmen) and the spinners (Adil Rashid and Moeen Ali) will face their first major challenge in a long time. As a team too, India, who are rich in resources across all three departments, are expected to provide England their biggest challenge yet.
From a fanatical viewpoint, the quality of batting is something to really look forward to, while the adjustment the bowling attacks make to counter the batsmen-friendly conditions will make for fascinating viewing. India, at least at the start of the series, ought to be looked at as a favourite to win it, though they aren’t at full-strength with the absence of one of their premier fast bowlers.
Pitch conditions and weather forecast
Twice in the last five completed day-night ODIs at this venue, 400 has been breached (both times by England) and once a target of 350 was successfully chased down (also by the home team). Which explains the nature of the pitch on offer here. Expect the pitch for the first ODI to also be batsmen-friendly.
The forecast for Thursday is for partly sunny and cloudy weather, with the temperature in the early 20s.
India vs England head to head in ODI
These two teams have played a total of 96 ODIs to date, India winning 52 of those to England’s 39. Two matches have ended in a tie and three have failed to produce a result.
In the ODIs played in England, the home team lead India by 19 to 15 in the head to head.
Predicted India vs England XI
England will be happy to have Mark Wood back in the squad, after he was rested for the T20I series. Nippy, capable of finding the blockhole at will and who has a good bouncer, Wood will be a key component of the English bowling attack. David Willey, Adil Rashid and Liam Plunkett are likely to complete the bowling attack, which will be supported by Ben Stokes and Moeen Ali, the all-rounders. The batting line-up pretty much picks itself, with Alex Hales likely to lose his spot to Stokes. Joe Root will return to the playing XI after being dropped for the final T20I, while Jonny Bairstow (the highest run scorer in ODIs this year) will return to the opening slot.
Probable England XI: 1 Eoin Morgan (c), 2 Jason Roy, 3 Jonny Bairstow, 4 Joe Root, 5 Jos Buttler (wk), 6 Ben Stokes, 7 Moeen Ali, 8 Liam Plunkett, 9 David Willey, 10 Adil Rashid, 11 Mark Wood
With Jasprit Bumrah out injured, the Indian team management must decide between Umesh Yadav, Shardul Thakur and Siddarth Kaul to partner Bhuvneshwar Kumar, who himself missed the final T20I with a stiff back. If Bhuvneshwar hasn’t recovered completely, he will indeed be a big loss to India. Kuldeep Yadav is likely to return and partner spin twin Yuzvendra Chahal, while India will also expect Hardik Pandya to give 10 overs with the ball as the fifth bowling option. On current form, Lokesh Rahul is likely to slot in at No. 4, with MS Dhoni potentially batting at No. 5. Dinesh Karthik or Suresh Raina will play as the No. 6.
Possible India playing XI: 1 Virat Kohli (c), 2 Rohit Sharma, 3 Shikhar Dhawan, 4 Lokesh Rahul, 5 MS Dhoni (wk), 6 Dinesh Karthik/Suresh Raina, 7 Hardik Pandya, 8 Bhuvneshwar Kumar, 9 Kuldeep Yadav, 10 Yuzvendra Chahal, 11 Umesh Yadav/Shardul Thakur
The two teams are well-matched and are likely to entertain the fans around the world with an exciting brand of cricket. As aforementioned, England’s major worry is their bowling, while the same can be said about India, who are already without Jasprit Bumrah and may also be without Bhuvneshwar Kumar for the first ODI at least. In India’s case, however, they will bank on Chahal and Kuldeep to strangle the English batsmen and pick wickets during the middle overs. Both teams will want to chase and, as it always the case when two teams’ strength is their batting, whoever bowls well will likely draw first blood in this short, three-match series.