Leeds: Once again the middle-order woes of Indian batting were at display as England bowlers beautifully restricted the visiting team to a modest total of 256/8 with some disciplined bowling in the virtual final of the three-match ODI series at the Headingley Cricket ground here on Tuesday.
India’s over dependence on the top-three batsmen once again exposed the so-called formidable limited-over batting line-up as apart from skipper Virat Kohli and Shikhar Dhawan, none of the Indian batsmen were able to play positively or free their arms throughout the inning.
The only other courageous batsman was Shradul Thakur who blasted some runs in the slog overs to put India over the 250-run mark.
After the early dismissal of Rohit Sharma (2 off 18), Kohli and Dhawan put together a 71-run partnership which seemed to be guiding India into a dominating position, but suddenly a brilliant throw from Ben Stokes sent Dhawan (44 off 49, 7 fours) back to the pavilion and situation again worsened for the visitors.
Dinesh Karthik, who was included in the squad for Lokesh Rahul, came in to bat at No 4 and also got a healthy start. But he could not capitalise the good start and went back after adding 21 runs off 22 balls with 3 fours. Kohli kept going until an unplayable delivery by Adil Rashid stunned him and knocked out his off stump. He was all sent and comfortably heading towards his first hundred on the England tour but had to go back after scoring 71 runs off 72 balls with 8 boundaries.
MS Dhoni once again stayed at the crease for a good amount of time but could not show any fireworks during the slog overs and went back after scoring 42 runs off 66 balls with 4 fours. Suresh Raina went back cheaply after adding just 1 run off 4 balls.
Hardik Pandya also got a start and failed to capitalize. He scored 21 runs off 21 balls with 2 fours. Bhuvneshwar Kumar had a slow partnership with Dhoni as he added 21 runs off 35 balls with a four.
Shardul Thakur played a crucial inning of 22 runs off just 13 balls with two sixes to help India get to a respectable total.
Adil Rashid was once again on a roll as he picked up 3 wickets and for only 49 runs in 10 overs. David Willey also bowled a fantastic spell picking up 3 wickets for 40 runs in 9 overs. Mark Wood had a wonderful day as he bowled two maidens and picked up a wicket for 30 runs in 10 overs.
Liam Plunkett was a little too expensive conceded 41 runs in fivee overs while Moeen Ali gave 47 runs in 10 overs for no wickets. Ben Stokes also conceded 43 runs in six overs for no wickets.
It should be a cakewalk for a flamboyant English batting lineup to chase down a small target like 257 runs at a flat wicket of Headingley.