If the three T20Is were any indication, the ODI series promises to be a thrilling ride. England have built a reputation for going hard from the start in both white-ball formats, and India, traditionally known for methodically building their innings before going big in the death-overs, also took the all-out aggressive route in the T20I series. Whether they continue with this approach in the ODIs remains to be seen, but the conditions should help to run fast, with surfaces at The Oval mostly up to the flatter in England.
Both sides enter the series based on excellent ODI track records. England have lost just one of their last 10 ODIs and are fresh from collecting the highest ODI total in history against the Netherlands. India, meanwhile, has won six of their last 10 games in the format, including a 3-0 sweep of the West Indies at home earlier this year.
Jos Buttler’s captaincy debut in the T20I didn’t quite go as planned, but with Ben Stokes, Jonny Bairstow and Joe Root back, the English line-up will be at full strength in the ODIs. But the bowling looks a bit flimsy, especially in the spinning department. Matt Parkinson was not at his best in the T20I series, and neither was Moeen Ali, and Livingstone’s mix of offspin and legpin put in 74 runs in his five overs in the three games. If the ongoing heat wave in the UK causes the fields to dry out, spin could play an important part in the series – as would the cutting plotters and tempo changes of the faster bowlers.
England WWWWW (last five completed ODIs, most recent first)
In the spotlight
Suryakumar Yadav’s sensational century in the third T20I could give him the nod to Shreyas Iyer, if India chose four front-line bowlers and two all-rounders. Jasprit Bumrah and Mohammed Shami are likely to lead the pace unit, with Prasidh Krishna and Mohammed Siraj tossed up for the role of the third sailor. The former is likely to get the nod after a breakout streak against the West Indies earlier this year. Yuzvendra Chahal will most likely be the only specialized spinner, with Axar Patel or Ravindra Jadeja taking over the role of spin bowling all-rounder.
India had an optional netting session on the eve of the game, with only Ishan Kishan and Shikhar Dhawan as the specialist batters. Kishan had a long net session. Shardul Thakur, Siraj and Shami were the present bowlers.
India (probably): 1 Rohit Sharma (capt), 2 Shikhar Dhawan, 3 Virat Kohli, 4 Suryakumar Yadav, 5 Rishabh Pant (wk), 6 Hardik Pandya, 7 Axar Patel/Ravindra Jadeja, 8 Mohammed Shami, 9 Jasprit Bumrah, 10 Prasidh Krishna, 11 Yuzvendra Chahal.
England’s percussion will be full blast with Bairstow, Root and Stokes back in the whiteball mix. The seam attack composition will be an interesting question, with three left arm quicks in the fight in Sam Curran, David Willey and Reece Topley, also with the added speed of Brydon Carse in the mix.
England (probably): 1 Jason Roy, 2 Jonny Bairstow, 3 Joe Root, 4 Ben Stokes, 5 Jos Buttler (capt & wk), 6 Liam Livingstone, 7 Moeen Ali, 8 Sam Curran, 9 David Willey, 10 Brydon Carse/Reece Topley, 11 Matt Parkinson.
Location and conditions
There was a greenish tinge to the surface at The Oval on the eve of the match, but that may not translate into much help for the sailors, given the heat wave going around. Temperatures are expected to hit 30 degrees on the Celsius scale, but hitting – and running between wickets – may get easier later in the evening, under lighting. There may also be some help for the spinners.
Statistics and trivia
- David Willey and Sam Curran shared nine wickets in the last ODI played at The Oval last year against Sri Lanka.
- Joe Root has the most runs on the Oval among active cricketers† Here he scored 548 runs in 10 innings, with an average of 68.50 with five fifties and a ton.
- Rohit Sharma has seven centuries in 24 ODI innings in England, the most by any visiting batter† He scored 1,335 runs at an average of 66.75 in the country.
Ashish Pant is a sub editor with ESPNcricinfo