The top-order will ideally like an extended session in the middle but ahead of their final World Cup warm-up game against Bangladesh in Cardiff on Tuesday.

Not for the first time, the top-heavy Indian line-up flattered to deceive in pacer-friendly conditions at the Oval as Trent Boult troubled them with both swing and seam movement.

There is no reason to panic after the six-wicket defeat against New Zealand but India captain Virat Kohli does have a few problem areas he would like to address in Cardiff, weather permitting.

Middle-order worries

Lack of game time for Kedar Jadhav and Vijay Shankar, both nursing injuries, will certainly be a bigger worry for India ahead of their tournament opener against South Africa. While Kedar injured his left shoulder during the IPL, Shankar was hit in the nets by a Khaleel Ahmed short ball.

Kohli is bound to be a worried man if Jadhav and Shankar are unable to get a decent hit against Mashrafe Mortaza’s men before facing a tricky opposition in te tournament-opener at Southampton on June 5.

India’s primary objective during the practice games would be to fix their middle-order problems. And at the Oval, KL Rahul failed in his audition while Dinesh Karthik paid the price for a lethargic shot. Rahul would look to score some useful runs against an attack comprising Mortaza, Mustafizur Rahaman, Rubel Hossain and Shakib al Hasan and cement the No 4 slot, if Shankar does not get match-fit in time.

If the conditions in Cardiff remain overcast, as it is expected to be all day, playing out a testing first spell from Bangladesh pacers will certainly keep the top-order batsmen on their toes.

Apart from Rahul, the other player who will like to assert himself in the middle will be Ravindra Jadeja, who was the only saving grace in the first warm-up game.

While Jadeja’s core strength remains his bowling, his undoubted potential with the bat and razor sharp fielding will keep Jadhav on toes once he gets hundred percent fit.

An interesting move in the first game was to send Hardik Pandya at No 5 ahead of Mahendra Singh Dhoni, who struggled in tough batting conditions scoring 17 off 42 balls.

If Hardik is seen as an enforcer at No 5 and Dhoni as a finisher at No 6, the second down slot will become all the more pivotal in the larger context as Rahul, Karthik or Shankar, whoever fits in will have to play the role of a sheet anchor.

The bowlers did a decent job in the first outing with both Jasprit Bumrah and Mohammed Shami being sharp and economical but a Kuldeep Yadav could really use a good spell is likely to keep him in good head space after a dismal IPL.

For Bangladesh, Shakib is recovering from a niggle and Bangaldesh coach Steve Rhodes expects him to play a pivotal role in the Tigers’ campaign. Mortaza and Co come into the tournament on the back of their first ever trophy in a multi-nation event (a tri-series involving West Indies and Ireland) but their first warm-up match against Pakistan was a complete washout. The 2018 Asia Cup runners-up will be hoping to clock some hours in a match where rain is expected to play spoilsport again.

Mortaza’s men have recorded 13 wins out of last 20 matches, including a series win over West Indies, an appearance in the 2018 Asia Cup Final and the dominating performance in the recent tri-series, also involving Ireland.

The 2015 World cup quarterfinal result might not have gone Bangladesh’s way but the team has successfully managed to build on that run in the last four years and registered five one-day series wins between April 2015 to October 2016. Consistency should be the buzzword for them as they look to go one better than their historic result in 2015.


India: Virat Kohli (capt), Jasprit Bumrah, Yuzvendra Chahal, Shikhar Dhawan, MS Dhoni (wk), Ravindra Jadeja, Kedar Jadhav, Dinesh Karthik (wk), Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Hardik Pandya, KL Rahul, Mohammed Shami, Vijay Shankar, Rohit Sharma, Kuldeep Yadav

Bangladesh: Mashrafe Mortaza (captain), Tamim Iqbal, Liton Das, Soumya Sarkar, Mushfiqur Rahim, Mahmudullah, Shakib Al Hasan, Mohammad Mithun, Sabbir Raaman, Mosaddek Hossain, Mohammad Saifuddin, Mehidy Hasan, Rubel Hossain, Mustafizur Rahman, Abu Jayed.

Match starts 3 PM IST.