Virat Kohli's susceptibility to spin in focus ahead of deciding ODI between England and India

Ashish Peter 16/07/2018
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Kohli has fallen to spinners in both ODIs so far.

After an action-packed two ODIs so far, all eyes will be on the decider when England and India clash at Headingley on Tuesday.

The visitors took the upper hand in the three-match series with a scintillating eight-wicket win in the first ODI at Trent Bridge before England came roaring back with a 86-run victory at Lord’s.

With all to play for in Leeds, we look at the key talking points ahead of the clash.

PSYCHOLOGICAL ADVANTAGE FOR THE TAKING

While the Test series will literally be a different ball game, there is no denying that the victor on Tuesday will take a huge psychological advantage into the upcoming five-match series.

There has been little to separate the two sides stacked with quality in the limited-overs clashes so far. With India having taken the bragging rights from the T20 series, an ODI victory to boot will put them in great stead for the red-ball action.

For the hosts, the prospect of losing both limited-overs series will not be an enticing one and they will look to even the scales in that regard before switching over to the five-day format.

The two sides will tussle to take the psychological advantage.

The two sides will tussle to take the psychological advantage.

ENGLAND LOOK TO DECIPHER KULDEEP CODE

In the first ODI at Trent Bridge, Kuldeep Yadav ran riot with career-best figures of 6-25 as England’s batting-order failed to find an answer to the youngster’s left-arm wrist-spin. Skipper Eoin Morgan spoke about the need to play Kuldeep better at Lord’s and to a certain extent, England, especially centurion Joe Root, did manage to do that.

However, the India man still managed to remove England openers Jason Roy and Jonny Bairstow before dismissing Morgan himself. He might have gone for 68 runs in his 10 overs but Kuldeep did manage to keep the hosts guessing throughout and sow some doubts. With Virat Kohli dropping hints that the 23-year-old could feature in the Tests too, England will want to put on a much more assured showing against him at Headingley.

England are yet to completely solve the Kuldeep puzzle.

England are yet to completely solve the Kuldeep puzzle.

KOHLI’S SUSCEPTIBILITY TO SPIN

All throughout the limited-overs clashes, the theme has very much been how England’s explosive batsmen handle India’s wrist-spin pair of Kuldeep and Yuzvendra Chahal. While that topic is still up for debate at this point, India skipper Virat Kohli’s own vulnerability to spin in the series has been a surprising turn.

The best ODI batsman in the world and an excellent player of spin, Kohli has been dismissed by spinners in both ODIs so far. He was outfoxed by an excellent Adil Rashid delivery at Trent Bridge and stumped before being trapped on the pads by Moeen Ali at Lord’s.

The India skipper has played some excellent knocks in the T20s and ODIs so far but has failed to go on and get to the three-figure mark, which is slightly uncharacteristic for a man who excels at converting half-centuries into tons.

Kohli fell to Moeen Ali's off-spin at Lord's.

Kohli fell to Moeen Ali’s off-spin at Lord’s.

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Sri Lanka's Dimuth Karunaratne and West Indies' Jason Holder make big gains in latest ICC Test rankings

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Karunaratne and Holder have climbed up the table in the ICC rankings.

West Indies’ 2-0 series triumph over Bangladesh and Sri Lanka’s 278-run win over South Africa at Galle has seen some major movements in the ICC Test rankings.

The Caribbean side blew away Bangladesh in both Tests have now traded places in the latest ICC Test team rankings released on Sunday. West Indies are now in the eighth spot while Bangladesh have dropped down to ninth.

India continue to remain perched at the top of the table with 125 rating points, 13 ahead of South Africa who remain in second despite their heavy loss.

In the individual rankings for batsmen, Sri Lanka’s Dimuth Karunaratne has, as expected, made some big gains after his stellar performance in the Galle Test. The Sri Lankan opener carried his bat in the first innings with a knock of 158 before adding 60 more runs in the second innings.

For the first time in his career, the 30-year-old has broken into the top-10 of the ICC rankings as he climbed 21 spots to claim the 10th spot in the table.

In the bowling department, West Indies’ skipper Jason Holder has made the most impressive leap after recording his career-best figures in the second Test against Bangladesh.

Holder picked up 5-44 and 6-59 in the two innings at Sabina Park and has moved up to a career-high 13th spot in the bowlers’ rankings. The West Indies skipper also gained one spot in the all-rounders’ ranking to move up to the fifth spot in the table.

Former Australia skipper Steve Smith continues to maintain his No1 ranking for batsmen despite his one-year ban from international cricket with India captain Virat Kohli retaining the second spot. South Africa pacer Kagiso Rabada continues to top the bowling charts after becoming the youngest bowler to claim 150 Test wickets during the first Test at Galle.

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South Africa skipper Faf du Plessis advocates scrapping coin toss in Test cricket

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Faf du Plessis is not a big 'fan' of the coin toss.

South Africa skipper Faf du Plessis admits the coin toss should be scrapped after they fell to a crushing 278-run defeat to Sri Lanka in the first Test at Galle.

The Proteas were bowled out for just 73 in their second innings as Suranga Lakmal made it two wins out of two as skipper of Sri Lanka.

“I’m a big fan of taking away the toss,” du Plessis said after the loss. “I think even in South Africa you’ll still prepare the conditions the way you prepare them now, but you just make sure that you bring some balance.

“In home conditions teams will still win the majority of the games, but you still do even it out a little. I think over the last two or three years away-records have definitely gone down, and games are finishing a lot sooner than they used to.”

The Proteas skipper added: “When I started playing Test cricket, 400s and 500s were happening quite regularly.”

South Africa were bowled out for just 73 in the second innings at Galle.

South Africa were bowled out for just 73 in the second innings at Galle.

“So I’m not just speaking about subcontinent conditions. In South Africa games hardly reach the end of day four anymore. I think that’s one of the ways you can make sure that balance is a little better.”

There have been calls for scrapping the coin toss in recent times including from the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) following which ICC’s Cricket Committee took up the matter for discussion during its meeting in May this year.

The committee, comprising of the likes of Anil Kumble, Rahul Dravid, Andrew Strauss and Mahela Jayawardane, recommended against scrapping the toss calling it “an integral part of Test cricket which forms part of the narrative of the game.”

The committee had “urged members to continue to focus on the delivery of pitches that provide a better balance between bat and ball in line with ICC regulations.”

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