Sport

England lose high-scoring series

England were defeated 2-1 in the ODI series against India despite scoring over 300 in every game and 350 or more on two occasions. A narrow final over win in the third ODI ensured England avoided a whitewash but they will be disappointed with losing the first two matches having scored 350 and 366.

A Virat Kohli masterclass meant England’s 350 looked below par in the first ODI at Pune while India’s veteran pair, Yuvraj Singh and MS Dhoni, both scored centuries in the second ODI at Cuttack to make certain that England fell just short. An excellent all-round performance from Ben Stokes in the final ODI meant that England can move to the IT20 series with the first win of the tour under their belts.

Jason Roy, Joe Root and Ben Stokes all scored fifties in the first ODI, though they will all be disappointed to not push on to a bigger score, helping England reach 350 from their 50 overs.

This was the seventh time England have scored 350 or more since the dismal World Cup campaign of 2015; all the other countries have only scored 350 or more nine times between them. This shows the strength of England’s batting, however it was the bowling department that let them down in this series.

India chased the target with relative ease, winning with 11 balls and 3 wickets to spare. England did take early wickets, reducing the hosts to 63-4 but the batting side didn’t let that slow down their run-rate.

Instead, Kohli and Kedhar Jadav scored a rapid 200 run partnership to take the game away from England. Late wickets gave England a glimmer of hope but India were able to seal victory in the 49th over.

England travelled to Cuttack with the series on the line and again took early wickets with Chris Woakes ensuring India were 43-3 at the end of the first ten over powerplay.

India’s middle order went a long way to taking the game away from England again as Yuvraj Singh and MS Dhoni put on a 256 run partnership. Quick runs towards the end of the innings meant India scored a huge total of 381.

Jason Roy and Joe Root scored fifties for England again but it was under pressure captain Eoin Morgan that anchored England’s innings and gave the visitors a chance. He made a quick 102 and supported by a lower-order fifty from Moeen Ali, helped England take the game into the last over. However, Liam Plunkett’s late cameo of 26 could not take England over the line, handing India the series.

Although England only had pride to play for in the final ODI at Kanpur, they put in a good performance. Sam Billings came in for the injured Alex Hales and contributed 35 to England’s opening stand of 98, with Jason Roy scoring yet another fifty. Jonny Bairstow, in for Joe Root, and Ben Stokes also scored half-centuries as England reached 321.

England’s bowlers put in their best performance of the series and took regular wickets throughout India’s innings. Kedhar Jadav continued his good series by top scoring with 90 but was unable to seal a whitewash for the hosts. Needing to defend six runs from four balls, Chris Woakes held his nerve and didn’t concede another run, taking the wicket of Jadav in the process.

England will be glad that their bowlers put in a strong performance in the final ODI as it had been recognised that their bowling is the team’s weakest suit. If it does click for England then they will be a formidable team when it comes to hosting the Champions Trophy this summer.

05/02/2017

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RichardEwart