India have made life a touch hard for them by losing the second ODI at Lord’s. On a pitch that had little for the bowlers, the Indians were taken for plenty especially in the last ten overs and that is where the game slipped out of their hands. Without Bhuvaneshwar and Bumrah, the final overs are generally a free for all for the opposition batsmen and David Willey played some bold strokes to take England to 322 when they should have been restricted to under 300.
As we saw in a similar situation against Pakistan in the Champions Trophy final last year, the response was one of panic. Then Rohit Sharma got a beauty that trapped him leg before wicket for a duck, but here he went for a wild slog, missed and was bowled. If that was a regular shot, then it would be understandable, but it was across the line which is what he seldom does.
The loss of the previous game’s centurion is always a big boost to the opposition. They got a further boost when Dhawan, who is batting well, but a tad carelessly, chased a widish one and was caught at backward point when India needed a stabilizing partnership. Rahul too has to get his thought process right. The century he scored a few days back was as good as one could hope to see, but in every new innings, a batsman starts at zero and so has to get used to the pitch before he can start playing shots.
Raina brought his experience into play, but that was not enough and when Kohli played across his front leg and missed to be out leg before to Moeen Ali, it was all over bar the shouting. Dhoni’s struggle was understandable because when confronted with an impossible situation, the options get limited and the mind becomes negative. Then all the good shots go straight to the fielder to add to the dot balls and the pressure becomes too much. Dhoni’s struggle reminded me of my most infamous innings at the same venue.
There is no need to panic though as India can turn it around with some disciplined bowling and building partnerships while batting. What Lord’s has shown though is that England are the No. 1 side for a reason and that India will have to lift their game to win the series.