If the three T20Is were any indication, the ODI series promises to be a thrill-a-minute ride. England have built a reputation of going hard from the get-go in both white-ball formats, and India, who have traditionally been known to build their innings methodically before going big in the death overs, also took the all-out aggressive route in the T20I series. Whether or not they continue with this approach in the ODIs remains to be seen, but conditions should assist quick run-getting, with surfaces at The Oval usually among the flatter ones in England.
Both sides head into the series on the back of excellent ODI track records. England have lost just one of their last 10 ODIs and are fresh from amassing the highest ODI total in history against Netherlands. India, meanwhile, have won six of their last 10 games in the format, which includes a 3-0 sweep of West Indies at home earlier this year.
Jos Buttler’s T20I captaincy debut did not quite go as planned, but with Ben Stokes, Jonny Bairstow and Joe Root back, England’s batting line-up will be at full strength in the ODIs. But the bowling looks a little thin, particularly in the spin department. Matt Parkinson wasn’t at his best in the T20I series, nor was Moeen Ali, and Livingstone’s mix of offspin and legspin was carted for 74 runs in his five overs across the three games. If the ongoing heatwave in the UK causes the pitches to dry out, spin could play a significant role in the series – as could cutters and changes of pace from the quicker bowlers.
England WWWWW (last five completed ODIs, most recent first)
In the spotlight
Suryakumar Yadav’s sensational century in the third T20I could get him the nod over Shreyas Iyer, if India opt for four frontline bowlers and two allrounders. Jasprit Bumrah and Mohammed Shami are likely to lead the pace unit, with a toss-up between Prasidh Krishna and Mohammed Siraj for the third seamer’s role. The former is likely to get the nod after a breakthrough series against the West Indies earlier this year. Yuzvendra Chahal will, in all probability, be the lone specialist spinner, with either Axar Patel or Ravindra Jadeja taking the spin-bowling allrounder’s mantle.
India had an optional net 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 bowlers in attendance.
India (probable): 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 batting is set to be at full strength with Bairstow, Root and Stokes back in the white-ball mix. The composition of the seam attack will be an interesting question, with three left-arm quicks in contention in Sam Curran, David Willey and Reece Topley, with Brydon Carse’s extra pace also in the mix.
England (probable): 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.
Pitch and conditions
There was a greenish tinge to the surface at The Oval on the eve of the match, but that might not translate to a lot of help for the seamers given the heatwave that’s going around. The temperature is expected to touch the 30-degree mark on the Celsius scale, but batting – and running between the wickets – might become easier later in the evening, under lights. There could be some assistance for the spinners too.
Stats and Trivia
- David Willey and Sam Curran shared nine wickets in the last ODI played at The Oval, against Sri Lanka last year.
- Joe Root has the most runs at the Oval among active cricketers. He has scored 548 runs in 10 innings here, at 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 has scored 1335 runs at an average of 66.75 in the country.
Ashish Pant is a sub-editor with ESPNcricinfo