India take on England at Ferozeshah Kotla, Delhi, in the 2nd ODI of what has been billed as the “Payback Tour”. Following their 126-run rout at Hyderabad, England have become the underdogs, and their batsmen’s inability against spin bowling stands brutally exposed.
In another reversal of fortunes, England coach Andy Flower appeared as clueless, on a slow Hyderabad wicket, as did his Indian counterpart Duncan Fletcher, on wickets that helped bounce and swing, during India’s disastrous tour of England.
Between them, Ashwin and Jadeja took 6/69, in the first ODI, highlighting the extent of England batsmen’s helplessness against the slow turning ball. Contrast that with just the two wickets that England spinners Graeme Swann and Samit Patel took between them, and there you have the summary of the Hyderabad game.
Familiarity with local conditions makes India’s batting formidable, even without the services of Tendulkar, Sehwag and Yuvraj Singh, and the same batsmen who were at sea on wickets that aided bounce and swing, in England, suddenly look like world beaters. India can win matches on the strength of Gambhir, Kohli, Raina and Dhoni’s individual batting exploits, and that points to the importance of the toss, on wickets that tend to get slower and lower, as the match wears.
As seen at Hyderabad, England would find chasing a lot tougher, on sub-continental wickets, even as they struggled to counter the spinners. The visitors’ best hope, therefore, would be to bat first, and put up a competitive total that’s close to or in excess of 300.
In the past, some England batsmen have used the sweep shot, to counter Indian spinners. The most prominent instance I can think of is that of Graham Gooch who took England to the final of the ODI world cup in 1987, after “sweeping” off-spinner Maninder Singh into oblivion. a more recent example was provided in 2001-02, when England managed to eke out a 3-3 draw, in a six-match series, when the likes of Trescothick employed the sweep, to positive effect.
India are likely to go into the second match, with an unchanged side, from the one that trounced the visitors, at Hyderabad; England might be tempted to ring in a few changes. In Hyderabad, the visitors preferred the “in-form” Bairstow to Bell, who is arguably their best player of spin.
Also, Samit Patel looked totally ineffective, against the Indian batsmen, who used their feet to good effect against the spinner, and Flower could think of replacing him with Borthwick.
India are overwhelming favourites to win the second ODI at Delhi, and if they won the toss and batted first, we might be in for an action replay of the first game.
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Jinxatious is the Chief Editor of SportingAttitude.com
An avid writer, on an eclectic range of subjects, he brings to bear editorial experience garnered with a national newspaper in South-East Asia. He also has sportscasting experience, as a cricket commentator, and his passion for sport extends beyond Cricket, to Football, Tennis, and Olympic Sports.