Upbeat England gear up for one-dayers
England will be hoping to carry their resilient Test series form against India into the seven-match ODI series between the sides starting on Tuesday.Updated: Mar 26, 2006 14:26 IST
England will be hoping to carry their resilient Test series form against India into the seven-match one-day series between the sides starting on Tuesday.
Captained by Andrew Flintoff, the tourists brushed aside the absence of key players to crush India by 212 runs in the third and final Test in Mumbai last week to square the series 1-1.
All rounder Flintoff, who led his injury-depleted team from the front, will resume the second phase of his temporary job in a buoyant mood after dashing home to see his newborn son.
Thrown into the fray as stand-in skipper after captain Michael Vaughan and his deputy Marcus Trescothick returned home before the Test series began, the Lancashire player will also look to back four years ago when he inspired victory to draw a six-match one-day series in India.
England must be wary, however, of the fact they are facing a team smarting from heavy criticism for not dominating the Tests against their injury-depleted opponents.
Day matches in the summer heat and travel across the vast nation will sap the players in a series where batsmen are expected to dominate on flat pitches.
England will need to focus on improving their running between the wickets and showing patience on pitches where the ball may not always come onto the bat.
Their five-run defeat in a one-day warm-up on Saturday was marred by four run outs and batsmen, frustrated by a slow pitch, holing out to the deep.
"We'll take something out of batting on a slow wicket against spinners, because that is what we will come up against in these one-dayers," batsman Ian Bell said after the loss.
The 23-year-old top-scored with 71 in that game to boost chances of a top-order berth in the absence of the injured Vaughan and Trescothick, who pulled out of the series for personal reasons.
Rahul Dravid's side face a big test to maintain their recent improving one-day form after the subdued display in Tests.
The team will miss Sachin Tendulkar, as the most prolific one-day batsman is set to undergo shoulder surgery in London.
In addition, explosive opening batsman Virender Sehwag is struggling from the effects of back spasms he suffered in the Mumbai Test.
The 27-year-old Delhi batsman managed just one 50 in the Test series after a shoulder injury sidelined him during last month's 4-1 one-day series victory in Pakistan.
Off-spinner Harbhajan Singh has also struggled for fitness and wickets in recent months.
He failed to take a wicket in the first two Tests of the batsmen-dominated Test series in Pakistan before a finger injury sidelined him for the third and final game which India lost.
The 25 year old also missed the subsequent one-dayers due to the injury before taking just eight wickets at an expensive 48 runs apiece in the Tests against England.
First Published: Mar 26, 2006 14:26 IST