Bristol County Ground set for Hales-storm
The first of five One Day Internationals gets underway on Monday August 25th at Gloucestershire’s County Ground in Bristol, where England will be looking to continue their recent dominance over India.
After a deflating defeat at Lord’s, England fell 1-0 down in the recent Test series. Alastair Cook’s men rallied brilliantly to record three straight victories and take the series 3-1. Batsmen have found form and the bowling attack have decimated the Indian batting line up with alarming ease. Victories at The Oval and Old Trafford meant that it was the first time ever India had lost successive Test matches within three days and by an innings.
The confidence and ruthlessness of the England team of 12 months ago has returned to the Test arena; now the challenge is to bring it to limited overs cricket. England’s recent ODI record is poor with only six wins out of the last 14 matches. However, due to the brilliance of James Anderson and company removing India’s top order on a regular basis, the home side are odd-on favourites at 8/11 to emerge victorious.
With the 2015 World Cup approaching, Peter Moores and Alastair Cook will want to experiment with their team. One of their first major decisions is to give Nottinghamshire’s Alex Hales his ODI debut. Explosive opener Hales made his international T20 debut against India in 2011 and has established himself in the shortest format with an average of 37, a strike rate of 137. He is also England’s first player to score an international T20 century (116 off just 64 balls), against Sri Lanka during the World T20.
With some brilliant form under his belt, three centuries in three matches in all competitions, Hales is 7/2 to top score for the hosts against a poor Indian bowling attack. Speaking ahead of the match Hales said: “I’m pleased I’ve managed to hit form at the right time and hopefully I can carry that on into the ODI series…I know what international cricket is about, all the pressure that comes with it and hopefully I can thrive under it.”
Hales’ good fortune is bad news for two of England’s most consistent performers of recent years in Ravi Bopara and Tim Bresnan, who have both been omitted from the squad. Whilst Bresnan can feel unlucky, due to the absence of Stuart Broad because of his impending surgery the real casualty is Bopara. The latter has seen his role in the team reduced with the additions of Jos Buttler, Eoin Morgan and Alex Hales to England’s power-hitting department along with the trio of Test all-rounders Chris Jordan, Chris Woakes and Ben Stokes.
With an ODI five-wicket haul versus Sri Lanka to his name and figures of 4-18 in the last Test match with India, Jordan will be high in confidence and want to cement his place for the World Cup. The Sussex man is 7/2 to be England’s top wicket taker against an aggressive Indian One Day line-up.