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KOCHI: Still smarting from their narrow nine-run defeat in the opening ODI, a struggling India will have to work on their bowling frailties and inconsistent batting as they take on England in the second one-dayer today with the pressure on the home team.
Nothing seems to be going right for Mahendra Singh Dhoni and his men as after their 1-2 series loss in the three-match ODI series against Pakistan, India again started on the wrong foot against England last Friday.
The Indians will have to give a serious thought to the team composition as another defeat may put immense pressure on the team and may make it very difficult to stage a comeback.
With the top order batsmen failing repeatedly, the team management may toy with the idea of bringing in Cheteswar Pujara though Dhoni is not keen to tamper with the composition of the team as yet.
In the first ODI, India’s bowling frailties were exposed as they conceded 38 runs in the last two overs, which cost them the match and the bowlers really have to sort out their problems of bowling at the death overs if the hosts have to bounce back today.
There is very little margin for error for bowlers on batting friendly conditions and unlike in the Pakistan series, conditions are not going favour the bowlers this time during the five-match one-day series against England.
India’s seam bowlers and spinners have lacked venom and it would be interesting how the hosts bowl at the Nehru stadium, which is also going to be a batting paradise.
In the spin department, R Ashwin is very crucial for India but the off-spinner has not really been effectiveness so far. He used to control the game and take crucial wickets. But now, he is unable to bring in the required control and is becoming too predictable.
The English batsmen have come well prepared and any mistake by the Indian bowlers will be detrimental to the team’s cause.
During the Pakistan series, India were struggling to get a good start which had affected the teams’ results. But, in the last one-dayer, India got a decent start but the top-order failed to convert them even on a placid track at the newly built Saurashtra Cricket Association Stadium.
Openers Gautam Gambhir and Ajinkya Rahane, Suresh Raina and Yuvraj Singh came up with good scores but none of them could stay on for a longer time.
Following their historic 2-1 victory over India in the Test series, the England side has returned for the one day series after Christmas and have an edge going into the second ODI.
India: MS Dhoni (Capt), Gautam Gambhir, Ajinkya Rahane, Cheteshwar Pujara, Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma, Yuvraj Singh, Suresh Raina, R Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja, Amit Mishra, Ishant Sharma, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Ashok Dinda, Shami Ahmed.
England: Alastair Cook (Capt), Joe Root, Ian Bell, Tim Bresnan, Danny Briggs, Joseph Buttler, Jade Dernbach, Steven Finn, Craig Kieswetter, Stuart Meakar, Eoin Morgan, Samit Patel, Kevin Petersen, James Tredwell, Chris Woakes. AGENCIES