An off-colour India were completely outplayed in all departments of the game in the series decider. It was just the performance India would have dreaded of ahead of the Test series.
All the confidence gained in the early matches would have evaporated. To increase India’s challenge, England’s Test captain Joe Root went from strength to strength and emerged as the player of the series for his back-to-back hundreds in his last two ODIs.
After helping England maintain their super run in bilateral series, being their 11th straight triumph, Root was gung-ho of taking the confidence into the Test series.
“There was no scoreboard pressure, because of the hard work the bowlers did in the beginning of the game, so it was just about making sure we build a partnership.. It’s about putting faith in your game and backing your ability, so I’m happy I have done well in the last two games and I’ll take the confidence into the Tests,” said Root.
“The Test series will be exciting. India has played well over the last few years, and we did well against Pakistan recently too, so hopefully we can replicate that in this series as well.”
One of the examples of how things went downhill for India in the last two games was how England overcame the challenge of playing spinner Kuldeep Yadav.
They gradually improved against him and limited his success in the second ODI and then dominated the chinaman bowler in the third ODI.
England captain Eoin Morgan said it will be important for the Indian spinner to keep on reinventing himself, just like his bowler Adil Rashid had done.
“It’s hard for me to compare red ball and white ball because it’s different picking the seam on the ball. I’m very proud of the way we’ve improved throughout.
But he (Kuldeep) hasn’t played that many games, I’m sure they’ll come back with something different. Adil’s been at the top of his game for the last few years but he’s made unbelievable changes.
Fractional changes, variations, reads the game well. I’m sure India have a lot of spinners, whoever’s next in line is keeping him in place to try and come up with something different,” said Morgan.
In the third ODI at Headingley, it was a ruthless exhibition from the world’s No 1 ranked team while the Indian cricket team came out listless.
Not only did India flopp in batting and bowling, their fielding was awful as well with easy singles and boundaries being given away. With less than 12 months to go for the World Cup, it was a demoralising day for Virat Kohli’s men.
With a performance like Tuesday’s, it was felt that England may as well have laid down the World Cup marker. However, Morgan disagreed. “I don’t think so.
“I think the challenge from here on in is trying to stay on top of our game, like the first game presented to us and come up with different challenges and be better at dealing with them from the start as opposed to making big mistakes and then improving on them as we go along.
The World Cup is 10 games, I presume by the time the last group stage game is played it will be the best four teams topping the group. One of the disadvantages is you play a different team every time and that’s hard to replicate.”