Ind vs Eng: Rohit Sharma ruled out as India look to maintain winning run
Nottingham: Seeking to continue their winning momentum and take an unassailable 2-0 lead, India were dealt a blow ahead of the third one-dayer against England on Saturday as opener Rohit Sharma was ruled out of the remainder of the tour because of injury.
Sharma, who had made a well-crafted half-century in India's 133-run hammering of England in the second game, suffered a fracture on the middle finger of his right hand.
Murali Vijay has been picked as Sharma's replacement for the rest of the series.
Sharma's injury has turned out to be India's biggest worry going into the third ODI.
Rohit Sharma has been ruled out of the remaining three one-dayers and the one-off Twenty20 against England after sustaining a fracture in the middle finger of his right hand. File Pic/Getty Images
The first ODI in Bristol was abandoned without a ball being bowled and India hammered the hosts under the Duckworth/Lewis method in the second game in Cardiff to take a 1-0 lead in the five-match ODI series.
Having recorded his first century outside the sub continent with a blazing 75-ball 100, Suresh Raina will look to carry on in same fashion while Ravindra Jadeja was the pick of the bowlers in the second game.
The last time the two teams played at Trent Bridge earlier this summer, the pitch for the first Test was deemed poor by match referee David Boon and the groundsman received an official warning from the ICC.
There was nothing in it for the bowlers who toiled hard as the batsmen mostly tailenders from both sides made merry. If a similar pitch is doled out for this ODI match though, no one will be complaining as the weekend crowd will get to see a high scoring encounter, hopefully with the top-order scoring this time around.
It was also at Trent Bridge that the Ravindra Jadeja-James Anderson clash had taken place and it has only recently receded from memory and this match has come about to enliven the episode again. The Indian management had pressed ahead in their bid to get the fast bowler banned for allegedly pushing Jadeja, so much so that they lost focus on the task at hand and lost the series 1-3 despite taking a 1-0 lead.
As the two teams walk through that infamous narrow corridor of the pavilion at Trent Bridge, they will feel differently about that episode. India will feel that they have a point to prove. The format has changed, and as was apparent in Cardiff, they clearly hold the edge over England in limited-overs cricket.
The Men in Blue cannot lose steam and instead must go for jugular, for this is not about revenge for the Test series loss. Instead this is about building up to the ODI World Cup and registering as many consistent performances as they can in the next six months.
In that light, India's success at Cardiff was a great starting point. Four of the six batsmen scored runs. Among them, it was vital for Sharma and Ajinkya Rahane to come good. While the former has now been ruled out, the clock was beginning to tick on the latter's role as the number four bat.
In scoring 41 runs, Rahane has bought some time for himself and reduced one area of concern for the management.
Indian skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni had confirmed after the match that Raina will continue to bat at number five and this declaration sews up the batting order.
The worrying bit is Shikhar Dhawan's form and that Virat Kohli has not been able to buy a run on this tour. While India will surely be patient with their vice-captain, the same cannot be said about the left-hander.
In New Zealand, Dhawan had been dropped once during the five-ODI series and Kohli had opened the innings. Such a move is unfathomable now, but with scores of 12, 0, 32, 12, 28, 9 and 11 (7 innings in South Africa, New Zealand and England) in conditions that will be similar to the World Cup, the attacking opener is not doing himself any favours.
For once, India's bowling attack isn't a cause for concern. However it will be interesting to watch how the bowlers will cope if they are met with an unhelpful track at Trent Bridge.
To a certain extent, their frailties were hidden by the friendly conditions at Cardiff, not to mention that England are a bit of a mess as an ODI outfit at the moment.
Even so, their success will mean that there might not be any changes to the playing XI, meaning Umesh Yadav will have to wait longer for his chance in all probability.
Meanwhile, it can be said that after a massive loss in the previous game, the euphoria of the Test series will have died down. As much as they care about the longer format, the English team management's sole focus now is on the upcoming World Cup and their performance at Cardiff belied any serious preparations they had made so far.
Alex Hales and Chris Woakes were the two positives from that second ODI but the rest of the team simply failed to turn up.
While there is already criticism coming about from ex-cricketers about their plans for the World Cup, Alastair Cook and his supporting staff have firm calculations in their minds.
Following England's abject surrender, former great Ian Botham lashed out at the home team and the criticism is ringing in the players' ears as they get ready to take the field.
For a team in their situation, the best remedy is to make changes.
While they are missing Stuart Broad already, it will be asking too much for them to play two spinners against India.
Their most plausible change could be bringing in Steve Finn for the off-colour Chris Jordan.
For some inspiration though, they will look at James Anderson again. The fast bowler will have shrugged off unwanted memories from that 'pushgate' scandal, but it remains to be seen whether returning to the scene of the incident can fire him up enough once again and carry his team forward.
India: MS Dhoni (c & wk), Shikhar Dhawan, Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli, Ajinkya Rahane, Suresh Raina, Ambati Rayudu, Stuart Binny, Sanju Samson, R Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja, Karn Sharma, Mohit Sharma, Umesh Yadav, Mohammad Shami, Dhawal Kulkarni, Bhuvneshwar Kumar.
England: Alastair Cook (c), Moeen Ali, James Anderson, Gary Ballance, Ian Bell, Jos Buttler (wk), Steven Finn, Harry Gurney, Alex Hales, Chris Jordan, Eoin Morgan, Joe Root, Ben Stokes, James Tredwell, Chris Woakes.
Match starts at 3 pm (IST)