3rd ODI: England vs India
The two best sides in 50-over cricket come head to head in Yorkshire on Tuesday in a winner-takes-all battle.
It could go either way in this pivotal clash, with the three-match series delicately balanced at 1-1 after England roared back from a defeat in Nottingham with a comfortable win at Lord’s.
Both teams have a keen eye on the 2019 World Cup, and England’s preparations so far this year have included series against fancied New Zealand and Australia. However, India are the pick of the bunch.
It’d be a brave man to dispense the us tips on this one, other than to say both teams have more than enough firepower to win it. But hey, England have the momentum and Headingley is generally a happy hunting ground for the hosts, particularly if we see some cloud.
This series was always going to be a very different prospect to the 5-0 annihilation of Australia, a side in transition and without key, banned players. In contrast, Virat Kohli has led a team to the summit of the test rankings and second to England in the one day game.
And England haven’t seen the likes of Kuldeep Yadav for many a year. The young left-arm wrist spinner has bamboozled the Three Lions’ batting line-up, taking six wickets to win the first ODI at Trent Bridge and another three in the second meeting at Lord’s, which isn’t the easiest place to turn a ball.
With that said, our England vs India predictions rest on whether we believe the Three Lions can cope with India’s lethal weapon.
The hosts have employed their famous Merlyn spin-bowling machine to try to imitate Kuldeep’s stock ball which turns in from the off. But even if they can master that, he has the googly which turns the other way, as well as a speedy flipper to add the element of surprise.
This lad has the lot and England need to work it out, as he may well be there to torment them in the upcoming test series.
Even though that’s the five day game, cricket pundits will be keeping a close watch on Kuldeep. In the long game, batsmen have the time to work a bowler out and are not under immediate pressure to score, so if the left-armer picks up wickets in that format, then we could have a superstar in the making.
England did learn enough from the opening ODI to come back fighting. Joe Root did the best job at Lords, posting a determined century to see his team through.
The test skipper has responded brilliantly to being left out of the T20 side, just as you’d expect with his barrow load of Yorkshire grit. His 113 was more than enough to see off the tourists as England won the second ODI by a healthy 86 runs.
One concern the England selectors have is the fitness of opening bat Jason Roy. He has formed a destructive opening partnership with Jonny Bairstow—scoring 40 in an opening stand of 69 at Lord’s—but is now sweating on a finger injury which could keep him out of this decider.
On a positive note, that could see T20 opener Jos Buttler join Bairstow at the top of the order and what a prospect that would be.
The world’s best batsman Kohli posted another 45 in the second game at Lord’s but was only one short of top scoring as England’s bowlers pressured India and shared the wickets. Paceman Liam Plunkett, who was the pick of the attack after claiming four victims, could be a key man again at Headingley.
These two countries have rich traditions in the game and a long relationship, dating back to the first meeting in 1932, in a test match at Lord’s which England won by 158 runs.
England won the first ever ODI between the two teams, back in 1974. However, in the 98 ODIs contested, India still hold a healthy advantage with 53 wins to England’s 40.
More recent history tells us how India have had the upper hand, winning the last two series, one in England and one at home, though these big hitters are pretty well matched.
What are the odds?
This is such a finely balanced contest that we just can’t split the teams and both are available at 1.93 to win.
That represents a shift since the first ODI when the best One Day International odds you could get on England was around 1.78—showing just how Kuldeep’s magic has turned things in the tourists’ favour. He couldn’t have imagined having such dry wickets to work on in England, where the strips are usually greener.
But I hear there could be a few clouds in Leeds and maybe even a shower!
CHECK OUT OUR BLOG FOR MORE CRICKET STORIES & ODDS
Stay updated with everything sports and betting.
Follow us on social Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.