July 17, Tuesday; 17:00 IST
Live on SPN, streaming on SonyLiv
The main picture
India and England face contrasting challenges with the series on the line. When India played their best cricket, England stood no chance. But, once the home team raised their game and came up with a complete performance, they made India look ordinary. The challenge for both these teams is to play their best cricket, only then we might be able to witness a close contest.
England trounced India in more than one way in the second ODI. They out-batted and out-bowled the visitor, but they also out-thought them with their gameplan (whereby they batted first (!), set India a target and then restricted them to 236). Eoin Morgan and co. can, therefore, go into the third and deciding ODI with a confident frame of mind… more so also because they conquered a major riddle in the form Kuldeep Yadav.
This Indian team are dangerous when they have their backs to the wall. They have invariably responded to setbacks as Saturday’s with strong showings in the next fixture. And, despite losing convincingly at Lord’s, the belief in the Indian camp will be high. The bowling, beyond Kuldeep, has lacked firepower and Rohit Sharma, Shikhar Dhawan and Kohli remain the pillars of a batting lineup which, on the basis of the showing at Lord’s, can by no means called a ‘gun batting lineup’.
Pitch report and weather forecast
The Headingley pitch has been good for batting in recent times, even though the average score in the four day-night matches played here is only 244 (which is largely because of one low-scoring match between West Indies and England). And, as is usually the case with English pitches, this pitch will also be batsmen-friendly if the sun is out. The question really is whether the spinners will find assistance and thereby be able to make the difference for their teams.
The forecast says Tuesday will have thunderstorms in spots, with the temperature hovering in the early-20s.
India vs England head to head in ODI
These two teams have played a total of 98 ODIs to date, India winning 53 of those to England’s 40. 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 20 to 16 in the head to head.
India vs England probable 11
James Vince has been called up to the squad for the final ODI, with Dawid Malan being released to play for England Lions. But the playing XI is unlikely to change from the second ODI.
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
Bhuvneshwar Kumar’s absence has contributed massively to India’s bowling being ineffective apart from Kuldeep. Bhuvneshwar has been bowling during the practice sessions, but the team management are being extra cautious with him, considering the forthcoming five-Test series. Siddarth Kaul, whose bowling style is similar to Bhuvneshwar, might be the one who makes way if the bowling spearhead is passed fit to play the third ODI. Umesh Yadav has been expensive as usual and his place isn’t certain either, with Shardul Thakur waiting in the wings. India are likely to remain unchanged other than Bhuvneshwar potentially coming into the playing 11.
Possible India playing 11: 1 Virat Kohli (c), 2 Rohit Sharma, 3 Shikhar Dhawan, 4 Lokesh Rahul, 5 MS Dhoni (wk), 6 Suresh Raina, 7 Hardik Pandya, 8 Bhuvneshwar Kumar/Siddarth Kaul, 9 Kuldeep Yadav, 10 Yuzvendra Chahal, 11 Umesh Yadav/Shardul Thakur
If England can neutralise India’s well-known strengths —their top three and the wrist-spin of Kuldeep Yadav, in particular—they will give themselves a good chance of winning the ODI series. From India’s perspective, the bowlers need to get more disciplined with their lines and lengths and pick early wickets to dent a strong English batting lineup. Which is why India badly need Bhuvneshwar Kumar back in the playing XI.