A confident Indian team looks set to overpower England with yet another dominant show in the second ODI at the Lord’s on Thursday despite Virat Kohli’s dodgy groin and dismal form.
The former India captain, who is enduring a prolonged bad patch, missed the first game due to groin strain and it is still not clear if he is fit for the second game.
Kohli’s poor show, however, hasn’t affected the team much as it is playing extremely well in the white-ball games. After clinching the T20 series 2-1, it cantered to a convincing 10-wicket victory in the opening ODI.
While the negative aspect of Kohli’s absence is not getting a solid show from the country’s premier batter in pressure games, on the flip side, his poor form is an opportunity for others to show that they can win games on their own or at least on the big stage as Suryakumar Yadav did in final T20 International at Nottingham.
”I wasn’t playing in the last T20 game and he (Kohli) didn’t play today (Tuesday). I don’t have an update on his injury,” was all that first match’s hero Jasprit Bumrah said when asked about the former skipper’s availability for the second game.
Groin strain can easily aggravate into a proper tear if the player rushes himself into the thick of things. A quick single or a swift turnaround during a double can unknowingly worsen a player’s condition if he takes the field without being hundred percent fit.
At times, some injuries are a blessing in disguise for the team management to avoid a tough call and Kohli’s groin strain could just be that.
Repeating Oval Story
Rohit Sharma and his men will hope that the pitch at the Lord’s plays like Oval, where conditions helped them get lateral movement both in the air and off the track.
With Bumrah in the form of his life and the ever-dependable Mohammed Shami ready to torment the opposition with his bagful of tricks, skipper Rohit will focus more on Shreyas Iyer and his ever-compounding problems facing the short ball.
The bowlers around the globe have sorted Iyer out with short-pitched stuff and his predictable trigger movement towards the leg-stump in an attempt to make room is no longer paying dividends.
A player of Deepak Hooda’s caliber is being made to sit out in formats because of the reputation of some players and hence Iyer will feel the heat.
The conditions in Oval would have been a great learning experience for the flamboyant Mumbaikar but the skipper himself with a wide array of horizontal bat shots ensured that Iyer could just cool his heels in the confines of the Indian dressing room during the series-opener.
For Rohit, the 58-ball-76 is some kind of reassurance that his process has been spot-on and that he can play the high-risk pull shot with a successful percentage.
A confident captain can make bold yet prudent decisions and run under his belt will allow Rohit to be more adventurous with his decision at the Lord’s.
A batting line-up comprising Jos Buttler, Joe Root, Ben Stokes, Jonny Bairstow, Jason Roy, and Liam Livingstone can scare the daylights out of any bowling attack but at The Oval, the tables turned 180 degrees on a seamer-friendly conducive surface.
The Lord’s has traditionally been a batting belter but when it comes to rookie bowlers like Prasidh Krishna, it will also be about adjusting to the famous slope of the Lord’s ground.
There are bowlers, who prefer bowling up the slope and some the other way round. Managing the slope is key to success at Lord’s but the current Indian team is on a roll and might just complete another series win with minimum fuss.
England: Jos Buttler (C), Moeen Ali, Jonathan Bairstow, Harry Brook, Brydon Carse, Sam Curran, Liam Livingstone, Craig Overton, Matthew Parkinson, Joe Root, Jason Roy, Phil Salt, Ben Stokes, Reece Topley, David Willey.
India: Rohit Sharma (C), Shikhar Dhawan, Ishan Kishan, Virat Kohli, Suryakumar Yadav, Shreyas Iyer, Rishabh Pant (wk), Hardik Pandya, Ravindra Jadeja, Shardul Thakur, Yuzvendra Chahal, Axar Patel, Jasprit Bumrah, Prasidh Krishna, Mohd. Shami, Mohd. Siraj, Arshdeep Singh.
The match starts at 5.30 P.M. IST.