India look to overcome middle-order problems

Their middle-order frailties laid bare in the previous match, India would be aiming to plug the loopholes in Tuesday’s deciding third and final ODI against England, where a win would fetch Virat Kohli’s men their 10th successive series triumph.

Smarting from their 86-run loss at the Lord’s after winning the first game in Nottingham by eight wickets, India have their task cut out. Victory in London confirmed England’s spot as the No.1 ODI side in the ICC Rankings. A win for India at Headlingley will only help close the gap and hand them the bragging rights before the Test series begins on August 1.

It is also another opportunity to ascertain their ODI supremacy over England, for India haven’t lost a bilateral contest to this opposition since 2011.

Considering England’s ascendancy in white-ball cricket since 2015, the equation has balanced out over the last two encounters. India won the closely-fought home series 2-1 in January 2017, and now the current contest will finish with the same score-line, either way.

England have been found out to be a sterner prospect in ODIs than T20Is as their Lord’s victory underlined.

In turn, it also highlighted India’s glaring weaknesses in the 50-over format, which are shielded to a certain degree in T20 cricket.

While India’s spinners were in contention throughout, the pace attack lacked penetration, particularly in the death overs.

This underlines India’s dependence on Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Jasprit Bumrah.

India’s over dependence on the top-order trio of Virat Kohli, Shikhar Dhawan and Rohit Sharma was also laid bare in the defeat in the second ODI.

In the last two seasons, the trio have scored nearly 60% of India’s ODI runs.PTI

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