Four Tests, 5 T20Is, 2 ODIs, and three venues later, the final game of England’s long tour of India is almost here. After a clinical performance in the first ODI, Team India goes into the third and final ODI–at the Maharashtra Cricket Association in Pune– on the back of a heavy defeat.
England chased down India’s 336/6 in just 43.3 overs, with six wickets in hand, and left the hosts with a lot to think about. Despite an impressive show with the bat, only two of the five bowlers could manage to pick up wickets in the last game. The spin duo of Kuldeep Yadav and Krunal Pandya were in particular disappointing as the two conceded 156 runs in their combined spell of 16 overs.
While England cruised to victory without their captain Eoin Morgan and look more or less settled, Virat Kohli and Co. are most likely to bring about some changes, especially in the spin department.
Here’s our predicted XI for Team India for the 3rd ODI against England:
1) Rohit Sharma: The Indian opener has looked in good touch throughout the tour. In the last two ODIs, Sharma played some exquisite shots and showed that a big score is around the corner. He scored run-a-ball 25 in the last game but threw away his wicket cheaply. Should he find his feet on Sunday, England bowlers will have a hard time.
2) Shikhar Dhawan: The Delhi batsman made a well-constructed 98 in the first match but fell cheaply in the second. His partnership at the top with Rohit has yielded great results for India and the duo is key to India’s batting.
3) Virat Kohli: The 71st ton continues to elude the skipper but the 50+ plus scores keep coming. Kohli has amassed 122 runs in the series so far, including two consecutive half-centuries. He is just one century away from ending the drought.
4) KL Rahul: The Karnataka batsman, after a tough time in the T20Is where he scored 15 runs in four matches, has taken the ODI series to his liking. Currently India’s top-scorer in this series with 170 runs, Rahul backed his fifty in the first game with an impressive hundred on Friday. He definitely isn’t going anywhere.
5) Rishabh Pant: The swashbuckling wicketkeeper-batsman returned to the side for the 2nd ODI and made it count by registering his second career half-century in the format. His bombastic 40-ball 77 entertained one and all and India would bank on him to repeat the same feat in the final ODI if needed.
6) Hardik Pandya: He didn’t bowl in the last game but batted extremely well for his 16-ball 35. The pinch-hitter is a crucial member of the lower-middle order the hosts need him to continue playing such innings.
7) Washington Sundar: The Tamil Nadu all-rounder has only played one ODI so far but could play his second on Sunday. Having made his debut against Sri Lanka in 2017, Sundar could return to the side as India look to fill the gaps in the spin department. In the last game, the spinners went for plenty when they were needed to stem the run-flow. Sundar is just the kind of bowler. He is very economical and a really handy batsman. He could come in for Krunal Pandya, who might be gutted to miss out despite batting well.
8) Shardul Thakur: He’s got the variety and he’s got wickets in him but he leaks runs. They hurt, even more, when he doesn’t pick up wickets. After pocketing a three-wicket haul in the first game, Shardul was way off-target last game. However, Kohli could still persist with him for his wicket-taking abilities.
9) Bhuvneshwar Kumar: The Uttar Pradesh speedster will once again lead the bowling attack. He tilted the momentum into India’s favour in the first game and was economical in a game where 673 runs were scored.
10) Prasidh Krishna: After a record-breaking debut, Krishna was once again India’s best bowler in the second game. He bagged 2/58 in 10 overs and was also the most economical bowler of the lot. He is most likely to play out the series.
11) Yuzvendra Chahal: Kuldeep Yadav, unfortunately, may have played his last white ball game for a while on Friday. Another uninspiring performance from the left-arm spinner as he went for 84 runs in his 10 overs. He was out of favour for quite some time and was brought back to redeem himself. However, he just doesn’t seem to be the same, wicket-taking bowler he used to and will mostly make way for Chahal.