England vs India fourth ODI: Ian Bell in jeopardy as England seek quick answers

At some point either or both of Gary Ballance or Moeen Ali must be given an outing

Edgbaston

Despite plenty of evidence to the contrary, England insist they know what they are trying to do to create an accomplished one-day team. Nothing that they have managed so far in the series against India – and almost nothing in the nine months before – suggests that they are much closer to actually doing it.

If their concept is right, although some observers disagree on that, the execution is faulty. Two heavy defeats in the past week, by 133 runs and six wickets, have merely embellished an extremely moderate sequence of results since the Champions Trophy in this country last summer.

“We’re trying to find a balance for our team,” said Peter Moores, the England coach, on Monday. “To do that we’ve had quite a lot of change and we’ve got to be able to identify the right people in the right slots to play a brand of cricket that players feel they can deliver and be successful against the best teams.”

With the fourth one-day international against India at Edgbaston today and the World Cup starting in February, Moores is running out of time. The batting has failed badly in this series and, in the whole season of eight completed ODIs so far, the only hundred has been scored by Jos Buttler, batting at No 7, with a mere five fifties besides. The main problem has been in the middle: the middle order in the middle overs.

It is clear that the new opening partnership of Alastair Cook, the captain, and Alex Hales has been earmarked for the World Cup. England have to decide what happens afterwards in a batting order at present comprising Ian Bell, Joe Root and Eoin Morgan.

At some point – probably but not necessarily today, when England may feel they are playing an away match, such will be the level of Indian support – either or both of Gary Ballance or Moeen Ali must be given an outing. Neither may prove a panacea, though Ballance in particular has adapted wonderfully to the demands of the international game.

Moeen’s off-spin bowling, allied to his attractive batting, has some allure but India will regard him altogether differently than they did in the Test series, when he took 19 wickets with barely a whimper from the tourists.

Bell, the most experienced player in the team with 148 appearances, may oddly be the most vulnerable despite also being the most adroit at playing spin. There will be no inclination to drop Root or Morgan, who can both move swiftly through the gears in different fashions.

Leaving out Ben Stokes would be a backward step, given his rich gifts, and would not necessarily have the desired effect. Perhaps England might opt for putting Buttler in his most successful position of No 7 again. The suspicion remains that the fewer overs left when Buttler comes in, the more effective he will be.

“There’s still time for people to force their way in, of course there is,” Moores said. “We need to get enough experience in there but also there’s a chance to try some different things, evaluate a side hopefully to go forward and play in that World Cup and win.” Which seems a pipe dream at present.

Probable Edgbaston teams:

England A N Cook (capt),  A D Hales, I R Bell, E J G Morgan, J E Root, M M Ali, J C Buttler (wkt), C R Woakes, J C Tredwell, S T Finn, J M Anderson

India A M Rahane, S Dhawan, V Kohli, A T Rayudu, S K Raina, R Jadeja, M S Dhoni (capt; wkt), Ashwin, B Kumar, M Shami, M M Sharma.

Umpires P Reiffel (Aus) and  T Robinson 

Pitch report There have been high first innings scores in the three 50-over matches this season, 273, 298 and 218 in 33 overs with the side batting first winning on each occasion. Could be more of the same.

TV Sky Sports 2, 10am-7pm

Weather Cloudy with sunny intervals. Max temp: 18C

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Blundering Tony Blair quits as Middle East peace envoy – only Israel will miss him

Blundering Blair quits as Middle East peace envoy – only Israel will miss him

For Arabs – and for Britons who lost their loved ones in his shambolic war in Iraq – his appointment was an insult, says Robert Fisk
Fifa corruption arrests: All hail the Feds for riding to football's rescue

Fifa corruption arrests

All hail the Feds for riding to football's rescue, says Ian Herbert
Isis in Syria: The Kurdish enclave still resisting the tyranny of President Assad and militant fighters

The Kurdish enclave still resisting the tyranny of Assad and Isis

In Syrian Kurdish cantons along the Turkish border, the progressive aims of the 2011 uprising are being enacted despite the war. Patrick Cockburn returns to Amuda
How I survived Cambodia's Killing Fields: Acclaimed surgeon SreyRam Kuy celebrates her mother's determination to escape the US

How I survived Cambodia's Killing Fields

Acclaimed surgeon SreyRam Kuy celebrates her mother's determination to escape to the US
Stephen Mangan interview: From posh buffoon to pregnant dad, the actor has quite a range

How Stephen Mangan got his range

Posh buffoon, hapless writer, pregnant dad - Mangan is certainly a versatile actor
The ZX Spectrum has been crowd-funded back into play - with some 21st-century tweaks

The ZX Spectrum is back

The ZX Spectrum was the original - and for some players, still the best. David Crookes meets the fans who've kept the games' flames lit
Grace of Monaco film panned: even the screenwriter pours scorn on biopic starring Nicole Kidman

Even the screenwriter pours scorn on Grace of Monaco biopic

The critics had a field day after last year's premiere, but the savaging goes on
Menstrual Hygiene Day: The strange ideas people used to believe about periods

Menstrual Hygiene Day: The strange ideas people once had about periods

If one was missed, vomiting blood was seen as a viable alternative
The best work perks: From free travel cards to making dreams come true (really)

The quirks of work perks

From free travel cards to making dreams come true (really)
Is bridge the latest twee pastime to get hip?

Is bridge becoming hip?

The number of young players has trebled in the past year. Gillian Orr discovers if this old game has new tricks
Long author-lists on research papers are threatening the academic work system

The rise of 'hyperauthorship'

Now that academic papers are written by thousands (yes, thousands) of contributors, it's getting hard to tell workers from shirkers
The rise of Lego Clubs: How toys are helping children struggling with social interaction to build better relationships

The rise of Lego Clubs

How toys are helping children struggling with social interaction to build better relationships
5 best running glasses

On your marks: 5 best running glasses

Whether you’re pounding pavements, parks or hill passes, keep your eyes protected in all weathers
Joe Root: 'Ben Stokes gives everything – he’s rubbing off on us all'

'Ben Stokes gives everything – he’s rubbing off on us all'

Joe Root says the England dressing room is a happy place again – and Stokes is the catalyst
Raif Badawi: Wife pleads for fresh EU help as Saudi blogger's health worsens

Please save my husband

As the health of blogger Raif Badawi worsens in prison, his wife urges EU governments to put pressure on the Saudi Arabian royal family to allow her husband to join his family in Canada