England in a spin once again ahead of fourth ODI with India
Birmingham’s Edgbaston ground hosts the penultimate match, on Tuesday September 2nd, in an ODI series that has highlighted England’s vulnerability against spin bowling.
India won the third match at Trent Bridge in Nottingham by six wickets with seven overs to spare. Whilst the opening pair of captain Alastair Cook and Nottinghamshire’s own Alex Hales struck a second successive 50 run partnership, the hosts slumped from a promising 82-0 to 227.
England’s old nemesis of spin bowling was, predictably, their downfall. The dismissal of top order batsmen by part-time bowlers is a major cause for concern. Several former internationals have criticised the player’s technique against spin, most notably Phil Tufnell, who said: “Part of England’s problems in the middle overs is they don’t move their feet enough to the spin bowlers. They almost become sitting ducks.” With that in mind, England’s fortunes have tumbled, making them evens to bounce back from defeat and get themselves back into the series at 2-1.
Six batsmen fell to spin, which will alarm both coach Peter Moores and Cook, who will be looking for a response from their players at Edgbaston – a ground where England have enjoyed some of their finest moments in recent times. They have the players with the talent to score against spin, such as Ian Bell and Eoin Morgan, who both move their feet and can score all around the ground.
Warwickshire’s Bell will enjoy the opportunity to perform in front of his home fans when England need their senior batsmen to stand up. Bell was unlucky at Trent Bridge to be run out by a brilliant direct throw, and is 7/2 to top score on his home ground.
With the batsmen failing, the responsibility fell on the bowlers to bowl good areas with discipline. Whilst the attack was economical, the lack of scoreboard pressure meant India could to pick off the runs easily. England’s own spinner James Tredwell was consistent but lacked the threat India’s bowlers provided on a pitch that offered turn, which could open the door for Test hero Moeen Ali to return to the limited overs format who, if selected, is 9/2 to continue threatening the visitor’s batsmen.
Middlesex fast bowler Steven Finn returned to the England team after a year out, whilst attempting to regain his form and confidence. Replacing the out-of-form Chris Jordan, Finn bowled with pace and accuracy, which was rewarded with the wicket of opener Rahane for 45. The return of Finn is welcome as, with the World Cup in Australia and New Zealand approaching, England need their premier fast bowlers firing on all cylinders. Edgbaston should provide bounce for 6ft 7in Finn, who is 7/2 to burst through India’s line up and claim victory for his country.