x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 26 July 2017

England ponder batting line up

England are set to conduct another inquest into their batting line-up as they desperately search for a way back into the series with India.

Ravi Bopara made a valuable contribution at the top of the innings with Ian Bell in the third ODI.
Ravi Bopara made a valuable contribution at the top of the innings with Ian Bell in the third ODI.

BANGALORE // England are set to conduct another inquest into their batting line-up as they desperately search for a way back into the series with India following three successive losses. Defeats in Rajkot and Indore prompted the tourists to re-jig their batting line up for Thursday's controversial 16-run Duckworth-Lewis defeat in Kanpur, when bad light ended any hope of victory.

The recriminations about the regulations afterwards overshadowed another disappointing batting display by England, who are yet to score 250 in an innings during the series while India average 292 - even allowing for Thursday's early finish. Moving Ravi Bopara to open alongside Ian Bell was judged to be a success after they shared a 79-run stand, but promoting the captain Kevin Pietersen and Paul Collingwood up the order was less successful while wicketkeeper Matt Prior disappointed after dropping down to number eight.

It has left England considering their options again as they prepare for today's day-night encounter, with coach Peter Moores particularly concerned about the way they were dismissed for 240 after reaching 80-1 after 15 overs. "I thought there were lots of good things to come out of it," Moores said. "Ravi Bopara up the top played well, as did Ian Bell, and it was a good opening stand. I'm disappointed we didn't push on and get a few more because it was a tough wicket and we didn't get that partnership later on.

"It looked like someone was going to go and then we lost a wicket and that is something we have to look at, but there was no lack of effort." Collingwood is perhaps most under threat having struggled with the bat all winter, scoring just 71 runs in eight innings. Collingwood, who only gave up the England one-day captaincy in August, has not scored a half-century in his last seven one-day international innings.

But the most likely change will be to reinstate the fast bowler Steve Harmison, dropped in Kanpur in favour of off-spinner Graeme Swann, as a replacement for James Anderson. The Lancashire seamer Anderson has taken only one wicket in the nine matches since Pietersen was made captain at the start of August and has been hammered for 125 runs in 20 overs during this series. Harmison has conceded 125 runs in 17 overs but is regarded as a more potent threat than Anderson, who has played the last 43 successive one-day internationals for England. Ryan Sidebottom has been ruled out of the series with a back injury.

* PA Sport