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Millennium Post

India hope for miracles

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 on Tuesday 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 on Tuesday.

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.

One of the major concerns for India has been Virat Kohli’s lack of form. In the last five matches, he has not been able to bat to his potentials and India lost three of them. At number three, Kohli has a big role to play and he has to come good if India hope of coming back to winning ways.

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.

England bowlers have shown tremendous resilience as even in difficult situations they never gave up. In the first ODI, the English bowlers were unperturbed and continued to attack even when India countered.


KOCHI FANS WILL MISS TENDULKAR


The cricket fans of Kochi will miss Sachin Tendulkar when India take on England in the second one day international on Tuesday, as it was here that he turned in his best bowling performance in ODIs at the Jawaharlal Nehru International stadium. His only two five-wicket hauls in his ODI career have also come at this ground in front of a packed stadium. In the very first ODI played at this ground against the mighty Australians on April 1, 1998, Tendulkar, mesmerised the strong Aussie batsmen with his leg-spin returning with 5 for 32 from his 10 overs which helped India script a 41-run win.The brilliant effort also fetched him the ‘Man of the Match’ award. Kerala Cricket Association curator Ramachandran fondly remembers Tendulkar’s words after the match: ‘I would like to roll the pitch and take it to Mumbai’, he had said, Ramachandran recalled. India, who batted first scored 309/5, helped by Ajay Jadeja’s unbeaten 105. Chasing a victory target of 310, the Aussies went on the rampage with Adam Gilchrist scoring a breezy 61. However, Tendulkar put the skids on the Aussies, scalping Steve Waugh, Darren Lehman, Michael Bevan as India won.
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