After the first two games, it is apparent there’s little to choose between these two sides. Ultimately, it is the conditions which could dictate who will dominate on a particular day. (Match highlights)
Buoyed by a greener playing surface at Lord’s that slightly favoured their strengths, England put in a performance worthy of their status as the top-ranked ODI side, dominating in all aspects of play to run away with the second one-dayer against India by 86 runs and square the series.
It ensured England will retain the top-ranking – India needed to win series 3-0 to overtake them – and set up a winner-takes-all game at Leeds on Tuesday.
England showed intent from the word go. They won the toss and against the trend of chasing this series, dared to opt for first strike. Their batting lynchpin Joe Root ended his recent barren run with a gritty century, and in the process helped his side slay some of their spin demons. The Test skipper warmed up with 113 (116 b, 8×4, 1×6), run out off the final delivery.
A chase of 323, on any surface against any opposition, will require a team to dig deep into its reserves. The Indian batsmen didn’t as much as care about applying their mind to the job. The in-form Rohit Sharma paid the price for playing an ugly heave to gift the opening wicket. With India’s new-ball bowlers having shown no signs of getting an early breakthrough, the dismissal was just the boost the fielding side needed.
Shikhar Dhawan was out to another casual shot and KL Rahul inside-edged to the keeper.
At 60/3, India needed consolidation. Virat Kohli and Suresh Raina added 80 runs for the fourth wicket but were unable to switch gears. Disaster struck when Moeen Ali trapped Kohli leg-before in the 27th over. It left the visitors needing 183 off 23 overs at a required run rate of 7.95 (183 runs off 23 overs). To add to India’s woes, Raina was out four short of his fifty to leave India reeling at 154/5.
England also had luck going their way when Hardik Pandhya, the team’s final hope with MS Dhoni, was out to the worst ball of Liam Plunkett’s fifth over, caught down the leg-side.
Dhoni was there but there’s a lot more ground to cover in a one-day game; a few overs of dashing play can’t make much of a difference as in the T20s. Faced with the monumental task, the former India captain, who had completed 300 dismissals in ODI cricket, seemed to throw in the towel. There was no attempt to go for the target after the loss of the seventh wicket and there were boos from the stands when he played four straight dot balls in David Willey’s 46th over.
Earlier, playing within himself, Root held the England innings together with a well-paced knock. It was his 12thone-day hundred and an important one in his career as the Test captain has recently found himself overshadowed by the glittering array of power-hitters this England line-up possesses. The knock underlined the fact that when the conditions are tougher and the quality of opposition better, Root is the man for England.
The game changer for the hosts was his 83-run seventh-wicket partnership in 50 balls with David Willey (50 off 31 balls) in the last eight overs. It was the period of play which saw the momentum shift.