England would have been mighty pleased with their batting effort, getting to a total of 322, in the second ODI against India at Lord’s on Saturday. Most importantly, they could claim some success against Kuldeep Yadav, taking him for 68 runs in his 10 overs though he took three wickets.
But the start against Kuldeep was again tough. The chinaman bowler has shown a knack of picking early wickets against England. Like at Old Trafford (in the first T20I) and Trent Bridge, Yadav struck early blows, claiming both the openers, Jason Roy and Jonny Bairstow. In the series decider at Headingley on Tuesday, it’s one area England would want to come out on top.
“It’s definitely a plus point for our players to bat well against him. I know he still took wickets but we managed to get some runs against him and put him under a little bit of pressure. The main thing is he keeps getting wickets in his first over. The key going into this game is if he gets a wicket early doors his confidence is up again. So, if we can try to nullify that wicket-taking option that he’s got straightaway then hopefully we can shift the momentum against him to us,” England pacer Mark Wood told reporters.
The contrasting performances of the teams in the two games have been puzzling. In the first game, India dominated all aspects to win by eight wickets. At Lord’s, England roared back to level the series with an 86-run victory.
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“It is two very good sides so when one is on top they are really on top. They keep the foot on the throat and do not let the opposition up. I don’t know why the margins are so big. Maybe it is because quality comes through when on top,” said Wood, who provided the early breakthrough at Lord’s by removing in-form Rohit Sharma.
On the dry conditions that has made swing a premium, Wood said the green cover on the playing surfaces has been deceptive.
“The grounds have all been drier. The pitch, on top, has looked pretty good and like normal wickets, but we found at Lord’s we went to cutters and shorter balls earlier than we would have if it had been normal weather and the ball was nipping around. We have had to bowl more variations.”
Being a winner-takes-all contest, England are treating it as more of an impact game for the World Cup. “If we can use this game as a semi-final, a must-win with pressure on, we can learn what we are doing wrong if we don’t win or what we are doing right if we do win. Over the past year, we have dealt with these situations well, and hopefully we can carry on that trend tomorrow.”
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