MS Dhoni
MS Dhoni seen congratulating England players after winning the first T20 match in December

England will be looking to continue their excellent form in the subcontinent when they face India in the first One Day International (ODI) at the Saurashtra Cricket Association Stadium in Rajkot on Friday.

MS Dhoni seen congratulating England players after winning the first T20 match in December 2012.
MS Dhoni seen congratulating England players after winning the first T20 match in December 2012.

Where to Watch Live

The match starts at 6am GMT, with Sky Sports 1 and Sky Sports HD 1 providing live coverage in the UK.


Indian cricket is in something approaching crisis mode, following the ODI series defeat to arch-rivals Pakistan. MS Dhoni and his men lost the opening two matches of the recently concluded series tamely before managing some sort of a reply, however inconsequential, in the final match in the Indian capital.

All-rounder Ravindra Jadeja's hugely impressive 1/19 off 10 overs and wicket-taking spells from all five of India's bowlers in the last game allowed Dhoni to stop Pakistan just short of the target of 168. The win, though, only papered over the very visible cracks. Opener Gautam Gambhir continues to misfire, having scored only 34 runs in the three innings against Pakistan. His partner, Virender Sehwag, continues to be as hit-or-miss as ever, with only 35 from the first two games against Pakistan; he was dropped for the third match.

The Indian batting line-up as a whole struggled against Pakistan, with only Dhoni acquitting himself well. The captain scored the only half-century and century of the series from Indian batsmen; an unbeaten 54 in the second match and an unbeaten 113 in the first. Middle-order batsmen like Yuvraj Singh, Virat Kohli and Suresh Raina were either disappointing or flattered to deceive through the three games.

The bowling was not much better, with only seamer Ishant Sharma and Jadeja the consistent wicket-taking threats.

Meanwhile, England return to India on a high. Alastair Cook's men started the first half of their tour of the world champions, back in November, in poor style. The visitors were comprehensively beaten in the first Test, which the Indians won by nine wickets and on the back of a magnificent double century from Cheteshwar Pujara.

Cook's men were in complete control of the entire series after that result though, with Test wins in Mumbai and Kolkata (by a combined margin of 17 wickets) giving them a historic series win in the subcontinent. The start to the final half of their tour has begun much the same way, with consecutive defeats in warm-up matches against the India A and Delhi teams.  

India will need to be wary though, particularly of England's bowlers. Dhoni's men (not the captain himself) were ripped apart by the extremely inexperienced Pakistani duo of Mohammad Irfan and Junaid Khan. And unless they're careful, with the likes of Tim Bresnan and Steven Finn to counter, the hosts' batsmen have their work cut out for them.

Team News

The hosts are likely to retain the side that won the final ODI against Pakistan, which means youngster Ajinkya Rahane could be given another chance to impress. The hero of the Test series, Pujara, has yet to make his ODI debut for India and may be handed that chance in this game, particularly since the Indian batting order seems to lack a steadying hand, something veteran Rahul Dravid used to provide.   

Gambhir is likely to retain his place at the top of the order but will need to make runs fast and consistently. The retirement of Sachin Tendulkar has put pressure on several of the side's senior players to deliver results or face an enforced leave.

Possible Team: G Gambhir, A Rahane, V Kohli, Y Singh, S Raina, MS Dhoni, R Jadeja, R Ashwin, B Kumar, I Sharma, S Ahmed

England left India for the Christmas and New Year festivities with captain Cook in phenomenal form with the bat. And the 28-year-old is unlikely to rest on his laurels. He scored 562 runs from the four match Test series, with three centuries to his name.

The re-introduction of the big-hitting Kevin Pietersen, whose monstrous innings of 186 in the second Test at Mumbai marked the turning point of the tour for the entire team, is another headache for Dhoni and his impressive ODI record (4,184 runs at an average of 41.84 and a strike rate of 86.76) is excellent, by any standard.

England are likely to look at Bresnan and Finn as key to rattling the Indian top order and getting early wickets. Spin options are a little limited, so expect Pietersen to be called to back Samit Patel and James Tredwell on occasion.

Possible Team: A Cook, I Bell, K Pietersen, E Morgan, C Kiestwetter, S Patel, T Bresnan, J Tredwell, S Finn, J Dernbach, S Meaker

Quick Links