India v England
Friday 26 March, 08:00
TV: live on Sky Sports
India took a 1-0 lead and a giant stride to a sweep of all formats on a tour which is becoming increasingly miserable for England. Twice India were under the pump but twice they roared back in game one.
The hosts had looked set for something monstrous when Shikhar Dhawan (98) - whose conversion rate from 50 is superb - and Virat Kohli were going well at 169 for one. But when Kohli fell for 56 they lost their way.
A superb rearguard action from KL Rahul and Krunal Pandya, on debut, propelled India to 317. Rahul, desperate for runs after being axed from the T20 side, struck at 144 for his unbeaten 62 while Krunal nailed 58 at 187.
The real hero, though, was Bhuv Kumar who took two wickets and recorded an economy rate of 3.3 in the face of an early England onslaught.
Possible XI Rohit, Dhawan, Kohli, Iyer, Hardik, Rahul, Krunal, Thakur, Kumar, Kuldeep, Krishna
In the run-up to their World Cup heyday, game one was a match England would have won relatively comfortably. But bubble fatigue could be starting to take its toll. Ben Stokes, for example, must be exhausted mentally and physically.
Stokes is apparently keen to play on despite playing in every game on tour so as to be ready for the IPL. Rajasthan Royals must be wishing he sits on the bench for the remainder of the series. England need to be stricter with their star man.
Not that Stokes is underperforming. He was superb with the ball in pinning India back. But there is nothing new about England going round the park at the death.
What is new is England failing to take it home after a blistering start in a chase. England looked like world champions when Jason Roy and Jonny Bairstow guided them to 135 for no wicket in the 15th. From there it went horribly wrong. Were England too reckless? Did they miss Joe Root? An all-out score of 251 is hard to understand, particularly as India’s spinners were also cannon fodder.
On the eve of the game Eoin Morgan and Sam Billings were both ruled out with injury. Liam Livingstone will make his debut while Dawid Malan is expected to come in.
Possible XI Bairstow, Roy, Stokes, Malan, Buttler, Livingstone, Moeen, S Curran, T Curran, Rashid, Wood.
Pune lived up to its record and reputation as a venue for runs. The first-innings scores in ODI there now read: 317-304-350-230-283. We were on India for 310 or more in that first match and there’s nothing wrong with something similar again.
However, Sportsbook have some tempting prices. They go 12/5 that both teams score 300 or more. That has been boosted from 15/8 with Sportsbook probably reckoning that England are eyeing the departure gate. Even money is available about 280 or more. That offers a comfort rug in case England have another collapse.
Going all green
India are 1.705/7 and England 2.407/5. If the pitch plays as we expect, then there is plenty of action on the match odds market.
The team batting first should be capable of 280 or more - and 310 appears to be about par - so expect the team batting first to shorten up. If it is England, we have the opportunity of a relatively simple trade into favourite status.
That is the ideal scenario because we would expect India to chase nervelessly. We could have a flip-flop on the cards at the break and we would be happy to take chunky numbers on India going after 330-370.
England will take a bigger drift batting second. But the blueprint is there for profit with that fast start in their locker. All green should be simple with the pitch suiting the batters. And essentially, that’s what we’re betting on.
Sportsbook have price-boosted Kohli for top India bat from 5/2 to 3/1. He has two centuries in ODI on this surface and looked in decent touch in game one. They go 4/1 that Kohli top scores and India win. Kohli is 6/1 for man of the match. Rohit Sharma is 11/4 for top India bat.
Stokes has been pushed out to 9/2 from 7/2 for top England bat, despite him confirmed at No 3. Bairstow and Roy are 11/4 and 7/2 respectively.
India v England ODI series analysis on Cricket…Only Bettor