Joe Root was rested for the India vs England ODI series, with the board keeping an eye on the Ashes schedule later this year. Ben Stokes batted at no. 3 in Joe Root’s absence but failed to match his compatriot's consistency.
Nasser Hussain, in his column for the Daily Mail, praised Ben Stokes’ belligerent 99 in the second ODI. But he also observed how England missed Joe Root when the openers perished early.
“They (Jason Roy and Jonny Bairstow) were fantastic in the first two games, and when they play well, everything else usually falls into place. But when they go cheaply, as they did on Sunday, England are without the glue provided by Joe Root. However well Ben Stokes did in the second match, there is only one man to bat at three in the 50-over side. They have missed Root in this series.”
Joe Root is an integral part of England’s ODI set-up, acting as the anchor at no. 3. The Englishman averages 50.1 for England and has 16 ODI centuries to his name. Ahead of the ODI series, Eoin Morgan admitted Joe Root’s absence would leave a massive hole in the side, words that turned out to be prophetic.
Ben Stokes stepped up and batted at an unfamiliar no. 3 slot in all three games. While he failed to fire in the first match, his aggressive 52-ball-99 was the catalyst for England’s win in the second. He perished for 35 in the series decider, though, failing to kick on after getting set in the middle.
Explaining why Joe Root is crucial in England’s ODI setup, Nasser Hussain stressed the importance of having a calm head at no. 3, saying in this regard:
“Morgan may have said ‘this is the way we play’ after England went down all guns blazing in the first match, but Root is a massive part of the way they play in ODIs because he allows everyone else to be expansive.”
Nasser Hussain critical of England’s death bowling prowess
England’s death bowling was a cause for concern in the first two ODI games against India.
With wickets in hand and frontline bowlers Jofra Archer and Chris Woakes unavailable, Indian batsmen were able to up the ante in the last ten overs. The hosts scored 112/1 and 126/3 in the final ten overs in the first two games as England bowlers were taken to the cleaners.
Although England recovered well to put up a good show in the final ODI, Nasser Hussain feels the visitors were naïve during the death overs. He said in this regard:
“England have certainly missed Jofra Archer and Chris Woakes, even though their death bowling was better on Sunday. In their absence, a lot of that death bowling, particularly in the second game, was naive.”
The former captain also pointed out how England are no closer to finding a backup for Adil Rashid.
The leg-spinner was impressive during the middle overs against India, providing England with vital breakthroughs. Hussain rued the factt hat leg-spinner Matt Parkinson did not get a look-in during the three ODI games, saying:
“The only concern is they are no nearer to finding a replacement should Rashid get injured because conditions dictated Matt Parkinson never got a chance in these matches.”