Pacer Matthew Fisher shines as India 'A' batsmen falter in unofficial Test against England Lions

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Chris Woakes made an encouraging return to first-class action, but it was Matthew Fisher who impressed most with the ball for England Lions against India A on day two of the four-day encounter at Blackfinch New Road.

Warwickshire all-rounder Woakes, who suffered quadricep and knee injuries during the second Test against Pakistan last month, made a Second XI comeback for his county last week, but this was his first major opportunity to prove his fitness ahead of the forthcoming Test series against India.

The 29-year-old was the fifth bowler used and sent down seven successive overs at a lively pace for a cost of 16 runs and with no apparent ill-effects.

However, it was Fisher who was rewarded for a testing initial six-over spell which brought him the wickets of Mayank Agarwal and India A skipper Karun Nair on a day of contrasting fortunes to Monday.

Prithvi Shaw top-scored for the visitors with 62.

Prithvi Shaw top-scored for the visitors with 62.

The lions had resumed on 310 for two but, under cloudier skies, batting was a different and more challenging proposition on Tuesday and their last eight wickets went down for 113 in 40.5 overs.

They were all out for 423, England Test opener Alastair Cook having advanced from his overnight 154 to 180 when he was bowled via the inside edge by Ankit Rajpoot.

Dawid Malan, released from the senior one-day international squad to get in some red-ball practice before the first Test, added only 15 to his overnight 59 before playing on to Mohammed Siraj. Paceman Siraj went wicketless on day one but ended with figures of four for 79.

Only Prithvi Shaw (62) then passed the half-century mark for the tourists, who closed on 144 for four.

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Kohli's vulnerability to spin continues and other takeaways as England crush India in deciding ODI

Ashish Peter 17/07/2018
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Kohli fell to spin for the third time in the series.

England thumped India by eight wickets in the decider at Headingley on Tuesday to capture the three-match ODI series 2-1.

Eoin Morgan’s men simply outclassed the visitors in all departments at Leeds as they made up for the disappointment of losing the T20 series.

After restricting India to 256-8, the hosts ran out comfortable victors as they notched up the target in just shy of 45 overs.

Here, we look at the key talking points from the deciding ODI.

DHAWAN’S RUN-OUT WOES CONTINUE

Shikhar Dhawan has not had the best of series with the left-handed opener struggling to convert his starts. On a day when India lost Rohit Sharma early after a cautious start, they really needed Dhawan to score big for once. It looked like the opener was going to rectify his mistakes as he sauntered to 44 with some confident strokeplay.

However, disaster struck soon for Dhawan and India when Virat Kohli bunted the ball towards mid-wicket in the 18th over off Adil Rashid. Kohli took a step-forward to go for a quick-single but then immediately changed his mind and held up his hands.

By then, Dhawan had already raced away to the middle of the pitch and by the time he could turn around and dash for safety, Ben Stokes picked up the ball in a jiffy and dislodged the stumps with a superb direct hit. It was the second time in the tour that Dhawan had been run-out in similar fashion after facing the same fate in Cardiff during the third and final T20 series match.

KOHLI FALLS TO SPIN ONCE AGAIN

For a player who is considered to be one of the best players of spin in the world currently if not the best, Kohli’s vulnerability to the slower bowlers in the series has been surprising to say the least.

In the first ODI, he was well-set with a half-century before being completely outfoxed by a leg-spinner from Rashid. In the second 50-over contest at Lord’s, he failed to connect with an off-spinner from Moeen Ali and was trapped on the pads.

On Monday, the India skipper was once again looking in supreme touch despite others around him faltering. The 29-year-old had raced away to a run-a-ball 71 and was looking good for his 36th ODI ton before Rashid produced a ripper of a leg-spinner to take out his off-stump. Queue a bewildered look, reminiscent to that of Mike Gatting all those years ago after Shane Warne’s ‘Ball of the Century’.

India’s hopes of salvaging a big total all-but went after Kohli departed the crease.

Kohli was looking in great touch before his dismissal.

Kohli was looking in great touch before his dismissal.

RASHID SHINES AS DHONI STRUGGLES ONCE AGAIN

Before the start of the series, there looked like being only one winner in the battle between India’s batsmen and England’s spinners in Rashid and Moeen Ali. However, after three matches, it is the England spinners who have come out having the last laugh.

The leg-spinner was in terrific form at Headingley as he accounted for three big dismissals that set India back big time. While his delivery to take out Kohli was one for the ages, he also had the beating of the well-set Dinesh Karthik and Suresh Raina.

Meanwhile, MS Dhoni’s struggles to up the scoring-rate continued in Leeds with the India stalwart sluggishly getting to a 66-ball 42. After being booed for his low-scoring rate at Lord’s, the wicketkeeper-batsman once again looked like a shadow of his former self.

Moeen and Rashid prospered while Dhoni struggled as they ran through their overs quickly with the veteran out in the middle. It was a smart plot by Morgan to bowl out his spinners with Dhoni unable to bring out the big hits but, more importantly, it was a damning indictment of the 37-year-old’s waning powers with the bat.

Adil Rashid was terrific with the ball.

Adil Rashid was terrific with the ball.

ROOT AND MORGAN MAKE IT LOOK EASY

In a modest chase of 257, Jonny Bairstow had already won half the battle for England after the opener slammed seven boundaries in his 13-ball cameo 30. From then on, the hosts cruised to the target as Joe Root and Morgan came together. The former continued from where he left off at Lord’s as he handled India’s wrist-spinners in Yuzvendra Chahal and Kuldeep Yadav with consummate ease.

The right-hander showed his class yet again as he brought up his second consecutive ton with the series-clinching shot while Morgan too, looked in supreme touch against the spinners as the Men in Blue were left bereft of any answers against the pair.

The pair stitched together their ninth century partnership since the 2015 World Cup, the most by any double-act in the same period in world cricket, as they led England to the most comfortable of wins in a crunch deciding clash.

Root and Morgan did not give a sniff to India's bowlers.

Root and Morgan did not give a sniff to India’s bowlers.

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Analysis of Dinesh Karthik's performance in deciding ODI between England and India as opportunity goes begging for batsman

Ashish Peter 17/07/2018
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Dinesh Karthik failed to make the most of his chance on Monday.

Dinesh Karthik was back in India’s ODI colours for the first time since December last year with the Tamil Nadu man chosen in the playing XI for the decider of the three-match series against England at Headingley.

Replacing KL Rahul in the line-up, the pressure was on Karthik to deliver the goods as he looked to stake a more permanent claim in India’s limited-overs setup.

In the end, the right-hander’s comeback innings for India was cut short at 22 as the visitors struggled to post 256-8 in their 50 overs after being put into bat first by England skipper Eoin Morgan.

Here, we take a closer look at how Karthik fared at Headingley.

STATISTICS

RUNS SCORED: 21

BALLS FACED: 22

BOUNDARIES: 3

SIXES: 0

STRIKE-RATE: 95.45

30-SECOND REPORT

Karthik arrived at the crease in the 18th over of the innings after Shikhar Dhawan was run-out and looked to be in supreme touch from the very get go.

He was comfortable against both spinners and pacer alike and found boundaries at will with some classic strokes. The 33-year-old was beginning to form a threatening partnership with skipper Virat Kohli before he was undone by Adil Rashid.

Karthik could only inside-edge the ball on to his stumps.

Karthik could only inside-edge the ball on to his stumps.

GOT RIGHT

There was hardly anything to fault Karthik for on Tuesday with the batsman giving India exactly what they would have wanted from their number four. He took no time in settling himself at the crease as he crashed a boundary in his very second delivery with a deft late-cut.

Some more fluent strokes followed as Karthik did not all the bowlers to get on top of him and kept the scoring-rate ticking along nicely.

GOT WRONG

Such was the nature of Karthik’s innings at Headingley that his dismissal looked very much against the run of play. He was looking well set for a big score as he raced away to a run-a-ball 21 before he dragged a Rashid delivery on to his stumps while attempting to drive the England spinner through the off-side.

The dismissal was frustrating in the sense for Karthik due to the fact that he had attempted a similar stroke against Rashid at the start of his innings but the inside-edge rolled on to his pads and not the stumps. He failed to pay heed to that threat and there was no luck for him the second time he attempted the same stroke.

A big opportunity missed for the 33-year-old.

A big opportunity missed for the 33-year-old.

VERDICT – 6/10

With India’s middle-order conundrum still showing no signs of any resolution, Tuesday’s knock was going to be crucial for Karthik’s chances of staking his claim for a berth in the squad for the World Cup in a year’s time. With the in-form KL Rahul being dropped to make way for him, Karthik absolutely needed to nail his innings and to be fair to him, he did look completely unflustered before his dismissal.

However, chances have been few and far in between for the Kolkata Knight Riders skipper and his failure to score big in the decider could set him back further in the pecking order. A missed opportunity for Karthik at Headingley unfortunately.

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