Not everyone gave credit to Amit Mishra for his gutsy batting in the Oval Test because he failed in his main role as bowler. By a twist of fate, the Haryana player's batting ability might earn him selection for the second one-dayer here on Tuesday.Skipper MS Dhoni rarely plays five bowlers, but he may be forced to go in with the combination for the day-night match simply because there are no batsmen available. With Gautam Gambhir, Sachin Tendulkar and Rohit Sharma ruled out due to injuries, he is left with six specialist batsmen, which includes two 'keeper-batsmen in Parthiv Patel and Dhoni.
Mishra lost out to R Ashwin in the four-bowler combine picked for the first game. But his potential with the bat should help him get ahead of pacers RP Singh and Varun Aaron.
The replacements named for Gambhir and Sharma are yet to arrive. Manoj Tiwary is flying in tonight and at best is expected to reach a couple of hours before the game. It will be a big surprise if India risk playing him given the jet-lag. Gambhir's replacement Ravindra Jadeja is facing a visa delay and will join the team in London for the third ODI.After the one-sided Tests, India put up an improved batting performance at Chester-le-Street to raise hopes of a keener fight in the ODI series. But without the right balance, the batting pressure will be on Ajinkya Rahane, Parthiv Patel, Rahul Dravid, Virat Kohli, Suresh Raina and Dhoni.
Even without Tendulkar, India's batting line-up at Chester-le-Street held a lot of promise. India will be hoping to repeat the script. In Rahane and Patel, they have the openers who have the backfoot game to handle the short barrage that the England bowlers unleash. They are not afraid to play their shots and can put the pressure back on the bowlers.
Dravid at No 3 lends solidity. He has not played ODIs for two years but switching gears shouldn't be a problem as he showed with three sixes in the T20 game. But England batsman Ian Bell refused to write off India. "There are some players who have a lot to play for. I imagine the team they have when fully fit is very difficult to break into, so there will be some guys who are desperate to take wickets and score runs."
After the first one-dayer, a former England skipper compared the Indian team bus to an ambulance. The Indian skipper cannot but agree.