With the series on the line, England skipper Eoin Morgan elected to bat first after winning the toss and his decision was vindicated with his side going on to amass 322-7 in their 50 overs.
In the 37th over of England’s innings, Dhoni snared his 300th catch in ODI cricket when Jos Buttler edged an Umesh Yadav delivery straight into the hands of the veteran. The 37-year-old became only the fourth wicketkeeper in ODI history to get to the mark after Adam Gilchrist, Mark Boucher and Kumar Sangakkara.
MS Dhoni becomes the fourth keeper to take 300 catches in ODIs..!!!— DHONIsm™ 💙 (@DHONIism) July 14, 2018
417 A Gilchrist
403 M Boucher
402 K Sangakkara
300* MS Dhoni
262 B McCullum
Meanwhile, Root answered his critics in fine fashion as he roared back into form with his 12th ODI ton and his first at Lord’s. Root’s unbeaten innings of 113 from 116 balls put him level with Marcus Trescothick as England’s all-time leading century-maker in one-day cricket.
Joe Root now has as many ODI hundreds as Paul Collingwood, Ian Bell and Andrew Flintoff combined.— Charlie Reynolds (@cwjreynolds) July 14, 2018
Root: 12 hundreds in 109 innings
Collingwood, Bell, Flintoff: 12 in 457
Root’s 12 centuries have come in 109 innings while Trescothick’s came in 122.
The century also pushed Root’s average in the format over 50 as the Englishman bounced back from the disappointment of being dropped from the final T20 between the two sides at Bristol.
Dhoni can break another record in the ongoing clash should he muster 33 runs during India’s chase of 323. That would make the Ranchi-born man only the 12th batsman in history to register 10,000 ODI runs and the fourth Indian to do so after Sachin Tendulkar, Rahul Dravid and Sourav Ganguly.
In an interview with PakPassion.net, the 33-year-old stated that the weather conditions prevailing in England currently could work in favour of Virat Kohli’s men.
Azhar said: “The prevailing warm weather conditions in England at the moment seem to favour an India victory in the Test series in my view. They are, after all, ranked as the number one Test side in the world and the only thing England have in their favour is the fact that they are playing on their home grounds.
“They may have a good bowling attack for home conditions but in good batting conditions, the Indian batsmen will prosper and can easily put their team in a winning position when the series starts.”
The Pakistan Test specialist also had some praise for India skipper Kohli’s determination to be the very best.
“I believe the most important ingredient of Virat Kohli’s success is his determination to succeed. His composure in any situation is simply amazing. The level of professionalism that he shows in the game is comfortably the best in the game. His attention to fitness is exemplary and how he has steadily improved game year on year is just incredible,” he added.
On his own personal front, the right-hander is targeting a return to Pakistan’s ODI setup after being left out from the squad which is touring Zimbabwe currently. A part of Pakistan’s Champions Trophy in England last year, Azhar is hoping to make a comeback into the side in time for next year’s World Cup at the same venue.
“That is absolutely my target to find a place in the Pakistan squad for the 2019 World Cup,” said Azhar. “I understand that I need to work hard to get into the team but that remains my aim and it will be an honour to represent Pakistan at such a big stage if given the opportunity.”
India’s Veda Krishnamurthy believes the upcoming Women’s World Twenty20 in November will be the perfect opportunity to and earn a contract with an English Super League outfit.
Krishnamurthy, 25, is certain to be part of the squad that travels to the West Indies later this year as India aim to win their first global tournament in the shortest format.
The batter isn’t short of T20 experience with 48 international caps under her belt and that form saw her sign a deal with Big Bash League’s Hobart Hurricanes for the 2018 edition where she scoried 144 runs in nine games.
The two other Indians to have featured in that tournament – Harmanpreet Kaur and Smriti Mandhana – have also been snapped up by England’s Lancashire Thunder and Western Storm, respectively. And Krishnamurthy is hopeful she can follow them providing she impresses in the Caribbean.
“Definitely it will be,” she told Sport360. “How good we do in the World Twenty20 will actually benefit us as a team as well and as a player. If we can make an impact there, it is a chance to get picked for the Big Bash and other leagues like the KIA Super League.
“You have to be really effective when you play international cricket for someone to identify and pick you. That is what happened in England during the 2017 World Cup and that provided the step for Kaur and Mandhana to get selected for the Big Bash League. So, yes, it will be very important for me.”