England sweating on Jason Roy's fitness for ODI series decider against India

Liam Blackburn 10:29 17/07/2018
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England opener Jason Roy may miss a one-day international series decider against India that Mark Wood views as perfect preparation for next summer’s World Cup.

Roy, England’s second-highest run scorer in the series, sustained a deep cut to the little finger on his right hand when fielding at Lord’s on Saturday and will undergo a late fitness test ahead of the third and final match at Headingley.

Kent’s Sam Billings has been called up as cover but it is Hampshire’s James Vince, whose last 50-over appearance for his country came in October 2016, who is expected to feature should Roy miss out.

Vince, dropped from the Test team at the start of the summer, scored over 500 runs in Hampshire’s victorious Royal London One Day Cup campaign this summer and may have the chance to add to his previous four ODI innings due to Alex Hales’ injury and Dawid Malan’s involvement with England Lions.

India are seeking their 10th consecutive bilateral ODI series success but Wood knows a victory in Leeds for England would stand them in good stead for next summer’s World Cup on home soil.

“I think this has an impact for the World Cup,” Wood said. “We can use it as a game where it might be (like) a semi-final or a knock-out game. It’s a series decider here, which will be like a World Cup match – it’s a must-win.

“Luckily, over the past year we’ve managed these situations really well. Hopefully we can carry on that trend.”

The teams first and second in the ICC ODI rankings have each suffered a crushing defeat so far in this series – with England bouncing back at Lord’s after an eight-wicket loss at Trent Bridge – and Wood attributes that to the respective nations’ killer instinct.

“It’s two very good sides – when they’re on top, they really are on top, you keep your foot on the throat and don’t let opposition up,” he added.

India could be boosted by the return of bowler Bhuvneshwar Kumar. The 28-year-old practised in the nets on Monday and, like Roy, is due to undergo a late fitness test.

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