When England landed in India in November, Rs. 500 and Rs. 1000 notes were still valid in the country, Parthiv Patel had not played a Test match since 2008, MS Dhoni was still India's limited overs captain...
When England landed in India in November, Rs. 500 and Rs. 1000 notes were still valid in the country, Parthiv Patel had not played a Test match since 2008, MS Dhoni was still India’s limited overs captain, Yuvraj Singh was unmarried and Karun Nair or Kedar Jadhav were relatively unknown names for Indian cricket fans. Two and a half months later so many things have changed in India but England has not won a single match on this tour.
After losing the five-match Test series 4-0, a better show was expected from the limited overs side but despite scoring over 700 runs in the first two ODIs, Eoin Morgan and men have failed to win a match as India took an unbeatable lead of 2-0 in Cuttack. However, the 3rd and final ODI in Kolkata is far from being a dead rubber.
While the visitors face a massive task of saving their pride, Virat Kohli’s problems are far from over too. This will be India’s last ODI before the ICC Champions Trophy and even though the middle-order looks solid and all the four batsmen at number 3,4,5 and 6 have scored a century in this series so far, the team is yet to find a stable opening pair. Both Shikhar Dhawan and KL Rahul have failed to impress so far and team management may be forced to replace one of them with Ajinkya Rahane.
Bowling is even a bigger concern for men in blue as they have failed to put brakes on the opposition in both the ODIs. Ravindra Jadeja is the only bowler who has maintained an economy rate of less than 5 runs per over so far and would be hoping for more support from his teammates.
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As far as England is concerned, Eoin Morgan would be wondering what else he could possibly do to change the fortunes of his team. He has set a target, he tried to chase a total, he has tried all his bowlers and yet somehow India had an answer for all his tricks. To make things worse, Alex Hales has fractured his hand and is out of the remaining tour. He might be replaced by Sam Billings who scored 93 runs in the first warm-up match.
Other than this, there is not much that England could possibly change when it comes to the playing XI. They just need to execute their plans well and hope to restrict India to a minimum total. The passionate crowd at Eden Gardens will act as the 12th man for the home side.
Dew will once again play a crucial role and toss may have an important role to play in deciding the fate of the match. Don’t forget to join us for all the live scores and updates from the 3rd ODI.