Changing weather can dictate course of second ODI at Kotla | cricket | Hindustan Times
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Changing weather can dictate course of second ODI at Kotla

cricket Updated: Oct 16, 2011 18:33 IST

IANS
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The mid-October winter tinge can be dicey for day-night cricket in the capital with the dew factor giving the coin a real toss when India square up to England on Monday in the second of the five match One-day series, already one-up.

India will hope to exploit the conditions better than the visitors on a notoriously slow and low Ferozeshah Kotla pitch. The Indians got a kick-start in the series by winning the first game at Hyderabad by a whopping 126 runs in familiar home conditions and the momentum should continue.

The English batsmen were all at sea against the spinning ball and Virat Kohli knows a thing or two about batting at the Kotla as a Delhiite. He predicted the Englishmen will have to battle it out on a slow turner, having struggled at the Rajiv Gandhi Stadium in Hyderabad.

India captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni knows how important the toss is in these environs. He didn't bat an eyelid in batting first in Hyderabad, but here he may have a tricky decision to take.

Dhoni may be still stick with three fast bowlers and two spinners since it would be difficult for the captain to "manoeuvre three spinners" if the dew dictates the course of play. They are unlikely to make any change to the winning combination.

Kohli, who will be playing his third ODI on his home ground, said the Kotla track has "improved but will still be on the slower side."

Kohli, himself a youngster, knows the importance of the series for newcomers.

"It is an exciting series for India and youngsters have to make the most of the opportunities that comes their way," he said.

For players like Parthiv Patel, Ajinkya Rahane, Umesh Yadav, Ravichandran Ashwin, R. Vinay Kumar and Umesh Yadav, it would be another chance to cement their place in the team ahead of the second selection meeting to pick the squad for the remaining three games.

Dhoni seems to relish leading a bunch of youngsters and he himself set the tone for the series with his brilliant knock in Hyderabad. In the form and the mood he is in, he might even bat up the order to protect his young brood.

Dhoni may not think it a revenge series or the pay-back time, but the Englishmen know that they are at the receiving end straightaway. The mood in the camp was made more sullen by Graeme Swann's observations about team mate Kevin Pietersen's captaincy.

In his autobiography "The Breaks Are Off", which is being serialised in a British daily, the off-spinner had a few things to say about his fellow-players. England team director Andrew Flower quickly tried to defuse the situation by saying that it was not the right time to release the book and that relationship between Pietersen and Swann "was fine and has been handled in-house without many problems."

Flower, a former Zimbabwe captain, hoped that Pietersen, who was rested during the England's 3-0 win over India in the Natwest Trophy series back home, will find his form in the remaining ODIs. Pietersen has been in great form in the Tests but has managed just two 50s in his last 31 ODIs.

Flower also said that Ian Bell, who was dropped for the first ODI to accommodate Jonny Bairstow, is also in good form.

Flower, who has a good record on Indian soil, expects his team to bounce back in style in the series. The Zimbabwean may make some changes in the team, but a lot will depend on the character of the English players to fight against the World Champions in their own backyard.

Teams:

India (likely): Mahendra Singh Dhoni (captain), Gautam Gambhir, Parthiv Patel, Ajinkya Rahane, Virat Kohli, Suresh Raina, Ravindra Jadeja, Ravichandran Ashwin, Umesh Yadav, Vinay Kumar and Praveen Kumar

England (likely): Alastair Cook (captain), Craig Kieswetter, Kevin Pietersen, Jonathan Trott, Ravi Bopara, Jonny Bairstow, Samit Patel, Tim Bresnan, Graeme Swann, Steven Finn and Jade Dernbach

Umpires: Billy Bowden (New Zealand) and Shavir Tarapore (India)

Match Referee: Roshan Mahanama (Sri Lanka)

Match starts 2.30 pm