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Bumrah force key but batters better buck up

Series decider in Manchester set to be a thrilling one
Virat Kohli at nets at Old Trafford on Saturday, the eve of the final ODI of the series against England.
Virat Kohli at nets at Old Trafford on Saturday, the eve of the final ODI of the series against England.

Our Bureau   |   Calcutta   |   Published 17.07.22, 03:00 AM

India’s discomfort in testing conditions and especially against the moving ball got exposed once again in the second one-dayer at Lord’s on Thursday, resulting in a reversal after they had thrashed England in the series opener.

India’s star-studded batting line-up capitulating on a tricky Lord’s pitch the other evening is one big reason behind Sunday’s third and final ODI in Manchester getting the status of a series-decider.


India’s bowling unit, though, has been quite consistent for a good part of the white-ball leg of this England tour. 

For sure, captain Rohit Sharma and his teammates would be relying on their spearhead Jasprit Bumrah to lead from the front and put India in a position of strength in the decider.

With the England quicks too expected to be more confident after dismissing India for 146 at Lord’s, it won’t be surprising if the Old Trafford pitch goes on to have a fair amount of assistance for the fast bowlers, especially with an 11am (local time start).

If the wicket does turn out that way, make no mistake, Bumrah will again be a massive threat to the English batters after how he had terrorised them in the opening game.

The pitch at Lord’s wasn’t as helpful for the pacers early on, compared to how the one at The Oval had been during the first ODI. Yet, Bumrah’s new-ball partner, Mohammed Shami, was able to trouble a few home batsmen.  

Bumrah, though, had ensured he didn’t concede too many runs when conditions were easier for batting at Lord’s. If the Old Trafford surface does have a bit more grass, Bumrah should certainly be having a smile on his face.

So would Shami, who also appears to be in fine rhythm. Bumrah himself too must be eager to produce a performance of note before going for a short rest. 

Alongside the Bumrah force, what also augurs well for India is leg-spinner Yuzvendra Chahal’s form. Right through the UK tour, Chahal has been spot-on in terms of the lengths he has been bowling, making crucial breakthroughs. At present, young pacer Prasidh Krishna seems to be the only concern in India’s bowling attack. 

The Indian camp, however, is trying to remain upbeat. “Both the teams are high on morale.  We won the first game really well while they won the previous one. It seems to be a beautiful pitch here as well, so we’re really excited and looking forward to the final game,” middle-order batsman Suryakumar Yadav said on Saturday.

Batsmen’s task     

With due respect to left-armer Reece Topley, who made fabulous use of the seam at Lord’s, the Indian batsmen ought to have fared better against the other England quicks, particularly Brydon Carse and Craig Overton. India’s top order, comprising Rohit, Shikhar Dhawan and Virat Kohli, aggregates as many as 28,010 runs in ODIs.

With such a wealth of runs and experience, such a dismal showing in conditions that challenge batsmen a little bit is certainly not expected from players with such credentials. As for Kohli, this could be his opportunity to cash in on the continuous support extended by captain Rohit and make a meaningful contribution to regain his form.  

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