India wrapped up a 2-1 ODI series victory over England on Sunday, despite losing the final match in Kolkata, at the end of Virat Kohli's first assignment as permanent limited overs skipper.
AFP looks at five things we learnt from the series:
India's pocket dynamo
The headline act was meant to be Kohli but the real star turned out to be Kedar Jadhav, who scored a dazzling 120 in the first match in Pune and a valiant 90 in a losing cause in Kolkata on Sunday night. The unsung 31-year-old had only ever passed 50 once before in his previous 12 ODIs and that was against lowly Zimbabwe. Coming in at number six, Jadhav stood tall in pressure situations -- even if he measures just 5ft 4inches. Kohli was particularly impressed, calling him the "find" of the season and praising his ability to "read the game well".
India's victory couldn't mask the profligacy of their pace attack which threatens to undermine their quest to defend the Champions Trophy later this year and win back the ODI World Cup in 2019. While their main spinners Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja were generally tight, many of the fast bowlers were carted around the park. Umesh Yadav, Jasprit Bumrah and Kedar Jadhav all had economy rates of more than 7.5 runs an over. With both the Champions Trophy and World Cup being played in England, spin is likely to be less of a factor in both assignments so Kohli knows India's fast bowlers need to step up quickly. "The key for us will be the lengths we bowl. We've been playing at home for a while. Even here we weren't sure," Kohli said.
Morgan makes a statement
His decision to skip England's tour of Bangladesh last year provoked calls in some quarters for him to stand down as skipper, so Eoin Morgan knew he needed to deliver on the pitch to reassert his authority. His century in the second match in Pune went a long way to answering his critics, even if it was ultimately in a losing cause, while he averaged a respectable 58 for the series. His tactical decision-making was generally astute while the body language from his players indicated they were happy to have him back. His decision not to give the final over in Sunday's match to Ben Stokes paid dividends, with even the fiery all-rounder praising what he called "good captaincy from Morgan".
England's poor conversion rate
All of England's top order got starts, managing 10 half centuries between them. But while India's batsmen racked up four centuries, only Morgan reached three figures for England. Jason Roy should be particularly frustrated with himself after failing to convert any of his half-centuries after doing the hard work. He recorded scores of 73, 82 and 65 at the top of the order -- falling each time to rash strokes which left him visibly annoyed with himself as he trudged back to the pavilion. Joe Root averaged 66 in the series, scoring two half-centuries in the process. Veteran commentator Harsha Bhogle said on Twitter there was "no doubting Root's class but he isn't winning them matches".
Small grounds bleed runs
It may have been good entertainment for the spectators, but the glut of runs in all three matches raised concerns about the value of ODI records. More than 700 runs were scored in the first two games in Pune and Cuttack while both sides also passed the 300 mark in Kolkata. The small boundaries at the Maharashtra Cricket Association Stadium in Pune and Cuttack's Barabati Stadium helped the big-hitting batsmen such as Yuvraj Singh and Mahendra Singh Dhoni to regularly clear the ropes. "The size of this ground is just ridiculous," said one supporter in a Tweet on cricinfo, saying it was an "unfair death sentence (for) the bowlers".
Published Date: Jan 23, 2017 16:23 PM | Updated Date: Jan 23, 2017 16:37 PM