The last time India came away from a multi-format tour of Australia, England, New Zealand or South Africa without a series loss in any format was in 2018-19 in Australia. To find the next-most-recent instance, one will have to go all the way back to 1986, when India drew their ODI series in England 1-1, and won the Test series 2-0.
On Sunday, India will have an opportunity to add to that list. Yes, they lost the Edgbaston Test on this trip but the Test series, which began last year, ended at 2-2. Then they clinched the T20I series 2-1 with their new, attacking approach. Can they produce the same result in the ODIs as well?
While England may not be aware of India’s touring record, they, and their captain Jos Buttler, will not want to start the post-Eoin-Morgan era with defeats in both white-ball series, that too at home.
Both teams, however, need to do better with the bat. In the first ODI, England were bundled out for 110. In the second, India only managed 146 in a chase of 247. One strategy could be to see out the new ball – in both games, the eventual losing team all but lost the match in the first ten overs of their innings. Another thing that should provide some relief to the batters is the fact that Old Trafford, the venue for the third ODI, has seen some high totals in the recent past.
England WLWWW (last five completed ODIs, most recent first)
In the spotlight
Jason Roy epitomised England’s aggressive approach under Morgan. But in his last five outings, the first three in T20Is and the next two in ODIs, he has scored 4, 0, 27 (off 26 balls), 0, 23 (off 33 balls). While he has continued to show the intent to go hard from the get-go, the results have been missing. With England’s white-ball bench strength arguably at its all-time peak, Roy will know he needs an impactful knock sooner rather than later.
England (probable): 1 Jason Roy, 2 Jonny Bairstow, 3 Joe Root, 4 Ben Stokes, 5 Jos Buttler (capt & wk), 6 Liam Livingstone, 7 Moeen Ali, 8 David Willey, 9 Craig Everton, 10 Brydon Carse, 11 Reece Topley.
Despite Dhawan’s struggles, India may still persist with him. They could, though, bring in Shardul Thakur for Prasidh Krishna to extend their batting because No. 8 feels at least one slot too high for Mohammed Shami. Thakur may also be better-suited than hit-the-deck Prasidh to exploit the swing that the new Kookaburra has offered so far on the tour.
India (probable): 1 Rohit Sharma (capt), 2 Shikhar Dhawan, 3 Virat Kohli, 4 Suryakumar Yadav, 5 Rishabh Pant (wk), 6 Hardik Pandya, 7 Ravindra Jadeja, 8 Mohammed Shami, 9 Jasprit Bumrah, 10 Yuzvendra Chahal, 11 Prasidh Krishna/Shardul Thakur.
Pitch and conditions
Given its big boundaries and a dry square, Old Trafford is generally the best pitch for spin in the country. The UK’s weather office has issued a warning for “extreme heat”, but one would assume a peak temperature of 30°C would not affect India too much. That, though, could mean the pitch assists the spinners even more.
Stats and trivia
- In the last nine ODIs played at Old Trafford, teams batting first have posted 290-plus totals on six occasions.
- Teams batting first have won eight of those last nine ODIs at this venue.
- Moeen Ali is 20 short of 2000 ODI runs. He also has 91 wickets to his name.
“I’m expecting a pretty good atmosphere in Manchester – almost like an away game really. But that’s the thing you want to practise, especially with a World Cup in October [in Australia] – you want those win-or-you-are-out-of-it sort of games.”
Reece Topley is expecting the crowd to support India in the series decider
Hemant Brar is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo