The First One Day International (ODI) from England’s Tour of India begins from today at Madhavrao Scindia Cricket Ground, Rajkot between India vs England, its a day game.
Both teams have barely had a chance to catch their breath in the lead-up to the opening match of this ODI series. England have been traversing the globe in search of riches only to come away empty-handed, while India have been taking on the best team in the world and have come away with the spoils. There is no doubt where the momentum lies at the start of this contest, especially after England folded for 98 against a Mumbai XI that was no more than a 2nd XI side.
Although it seems a long time ago now, England’s recent 50-over form is outstanding after they thrashed South Africa 4-0 at home. The return of Andrew Flintoff and Steve Harmison has been vital, but England will need their entire side firing if they are to overcome India on their own turf.
Form guide (last 5 ODIs, most recent last)
Ishant Sharma has been rested after picking up a niggle against Australia, so his absence opens the door for Munaf Patel. The batting line-up gives a glimpse into India’s future, with one of the middle-order trio set to replace Sourav Ganguly in the Test side. India will wait until the morning to confirm their XI, and the final decision revolves around the No. 7 spot.
India (possible) Virender Sehwag, Gautham Gambhir, Yuvraj Singh, Suresh Raina, Rohit Sharma, Mahendra Singh Dhoni (capt, wk), Virat Kohli/Yusuf Pathan, Zaheer Khan, Munaf Patel, Harbhajan Singh, RP Singh
England, too, are missing a strike bowler with Ryan Sidebottom still unavailable, but are boosted by Stuart Broad’s recovery from a knee problem. They have opted to play just the one frontline spinner in Samit Patel, so Graeme Swann is again on the sidelines, while Ravi Bopara has been recalled in place of Luke Wright. Much attention will be focused on the opening partnership between Ian Bell and Matt Prior because the subcontinent is one place where the Powerplay overs must he taken advantage of.
England 1 Ian Bell, 2 Matt Prior (wk), 3 Owais Shah, 4 Kevin Pietersen (capt), 5 Andrew Flintoff, 6 Paul Collingwood, 7 Samit Patel, 8 Ravi Bopara, 9 Stuart Broad, 10 Steve Harmison, 11 James Anderson
Pitch & conditions
The pitch is soft and unlikely to break-up with curator Dhiraj Parsana saying it should offer something for everyone, with the quick bowlers looking to take advantage of the early start. “We have left some grass on it and there would be some sweating under the covers before the 9am start,” he said. “It would be good for the stroke-makers too as more shots can be played on the back foot rather than when they are forced to play on the front foot on wickets that afford only knee-high bounce.”
Watch the live action from 9 am Indian Time & 3:30 am GMT.
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