It was a beautiful day at Lords on Friday 22nd August and after a traumatic Test match series, India would have been looking forward to playing some one day cricket. A warm up match against Middlesex was just what they needed to rebuild their confidence. India decided to play their whole 17 man squad to give everyone some practice.
India were only able to muster 230 runs and were all out under 45 overs. A surprisingly poor total considering India had jam packed their XI with batters. The first few wickets fell rather quickly with Rohit Sharma, Shikhar Dhawan and Ajinkya Rahane scoring under 15 each. It seemed they were in a rush to get some runs and ended up being caught out at third man, mid-off and mid-on.
Virat Kohli, the man who’d had an awful test series came in alongside Ambati Rayudu and both went on to score 71 and 72 respectively. Kohli seemed to have some problems he’d had in the Test series with Steven Finn’s bowling, he followed the ball without much intent like he had done against Jimmy Anderson. However after surviving Finn’s spell, Kohli found his groove and played some beautiful drives down the ground and from then on, seemed to be back to his usual self. Unfortunately, Kohli got out to spinner Ravi Patel after having settled in.
In total, six of the Indian batsmen got out to spinners in this game. India’s reputation for playing spin had gotten them into trouble before, they lost a number of wickets in the Test series against spinner Moeen Ali due to poor shots.
It also seems extremely unfair that if Kohli performs very well with the bat in the ODIs as he is expected to, his spot in the Test team is likely to remain unquestioned when there are other batsman who have as good a chance as Kohli of guiding India to a Test series win.
Rayudu retired on 72 when India were 211-5 which was a very odd number to retire on and it sparked a collapse in the batting with India ending up 211-8 within one over. Ollie Rayner took the three successive wickets which included two ‘caught and bowled’ to halt the Indian innings. It was clear all the batsmen were being given a chance to prove themselves as MS Dhoni himself did not even bat but as the top order batsmen had, the lower order batsmen got out to soft dismissals. Suresh Raina was brought in at no.11 in an attempt to play out the last 5 overs however Raina appeared almost angry about being brought in at no.11. He played a few loose shots and ended up running down the pitch missing the ball and getting stumped.
Though India bowled out Middlesex for 135, it didn’t seem as though the batsmen were testing the bowlers at all. Two of the first three wickets fell to strangles down the leg side and a fair few others fell to poor shots rather than great bowling. Middlesex have only won 3 of their 8 domestic ODIs this year and some of the team playing were not first choice players. Ryan Higgins and James Harris top scored with 20 each and even though India won fairly convincingly, it might not be very telling of how the ODI series may go.