The cool climes of Mohali will be a welcome relief for the weary England team who, after suffering two consecutive crushing defeats at the hands of India, are now in a must-win situation to keep the series alive. A part of the problem for England has been their poor batting display.
Ian Bell and Alastair Cook did give their side a solid platform in the first ODI at Rajkot by stitching 158 runs that eventually helped them put 325 on the board. But, in the next two matches, the duo came a cropper – they managed a stand of four runs in Kochi and 24 at Ranchi.
Bell, delighted by the conditions which he described as 'very much English', said his side needs to challenge India. "We have been a little bit disappointed by the way we have played. We haven't put up performances that can challenge India. We will review our games and, hopefully, in the next couple of days, we will have got the opportunity to put in performances equal to the first ODI, and stretch the series to the fifth match," said Bell.
The visitors failed to chase 285 in the second one-dayer while in the third the target of 155 was never going to be enough to defend. Bell said, though the team had enough batting strength to deal with early loss of wicket, it was important that the openers set the tempo.
Set the tone
"We set the tone for the series in the first match. We built a foundation for our middle order to get going, but somehow, we haven't been able to adapt to the conditions after that. A score of 150 was never going to be enough to challenge India. We will have to do our basics right and perform well as a team," said Bell.
The England squad had the first taste of conditions at the PCA Stadium and their pace attack will also find the wicket to their liking. With the stadium known for providing best pace bowling conditions in India, Bell said the conditions have been helpful for both the sides with the ball doing a bit in the opening session.
"With new rules and two new balls, we have to play well, especially if the ball is doing its bit. It's never easy to come out and be aggressive from the word go. India openers have also been a bit more cautious at the start. But as Dhoni showed in Kochi, you can easily take the game away in the last 10-15 overs with wickets in hand. We haven't been able to get into that position in the last two games," he said.