Fireworks expected as ODI giants prepare for battle
ESPNCricInfo - Thursday 12th July, 2018
In the spotlight
Virat Kohli is rarely outside of the spotlight, but there is tremendous significance in this tour for him on a personal front. While his numbers in England are up there - an average of 52.46 in 19 games - he hasn't done well against England in the country - an average of 32.33 in 10 games. You'd bet on him doing better than that average considering his three centuries in six innings this year, but there is the possibility that India could look to solve their No. 4 dilemma by dropping their captain into that slot like they had during the T20s. In ODIs, he last batted there in October 2015: will Kohli risk that move in his pursuit to win every session of the tour?
Jonny Bairstow has made a century against every team he has faced this year, and is currently top of the charts with 864 runs in 16 innings. His opening partner, Jason Roy, has made three ODI hundreds this year and is the only other international batsman to make more than 700 runs in the format. Both of them have been striking at greater than 100, and have struck a combined 174 fours and 45 sixes between them. With Jasprit Bumrah out of the ODI series and Bhuvneshwar Kumar battling a stiff back, how the openers do against India's inexperienced pace line-up can set the tone for how the middle order tackles the wristspinners.
Ben Stokes is expected to come straight back into the England XI after missing the Australia series. Alex Hales is likely to make way for him.
England (probable): 1 Jason Roy, 2 Jonny Bairstow, 3 Joe Root, 4 Eoin Morgan (capt), 5 Ben Stokes, 6 Jos Buttler (wk), 7 Moeen Ali, 8 David Willey, 9 Liam Plunkett, 10 Adil Rashid, 11 Mark Wood/Jake Ball
Bhuvneshwar Kumar is doubtful for the opening ODI after he was rested for the final T20I in Bristol due to a back injury. He went to the ground on a day of optional training but did not participate in any warm-up exercises or net sessions. Rohit Sharma said that Bhuvneshwar was "fine" but a final decision would only be taken on match day. Shardul Thakur could take Bhuvneshwar's place and accompany Umesh Yadav in the pace attack.
The temperature continues to stay in the early twenties. It's the middle of a long, dry summer in England and there are no signs that it will end tomorrow. It should suit perfectly for a run-fest on the same ground that produced the highest ODI score last month, even though the same strip is not going be used.
Stats and triviaQuotes
"India have been a really strong team in this format for a long time. They won last time they came over here. I know it was a very different side they played against but it is a really good marker to see where we're at."
Joe Root does a memory check
"When you're playing on pitches like this, you want to bat second. This team likes chasing down targets. I'm sure England would like the same. We've noticed the last series they played here, it was high scoring. This very ground was where they scored 480 runs. I'm expecting nothing less than a high-scoring series."
Opener Rohit Sharma could play a key role if India put up a big score
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