England will treat Headingley decider like World Cup tie

MARK WOOD said that England intend to use today's deciding one-day international against India at Emerald Headingley as a dress rehearsal for next year's World Cup.

Yorkshires wicketkeeper/batsman Jonny Bairstow during a nets session with England ahead of Tuesday's one-day international with India at Emerald Headingley (Picture: Anthony Devlin/PA Wire).
Yorkshires wicketkeeper/batsman Jonny Bairstow during a nets session with England ahead of Tuesday's one-day international with India at Emerald Headingley (Picture: Anthony Devlin/PA Wire).

The pace bowler said that it would serve as a useful dry run should they reach the knockout stages of that competition.

For all England’s recent progress in one-day cricket questions remain over their ability to win all-important one-off matches.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

Their defeat to Pakistan in the semi-finals of last year’s Champions Trophy – after easing into the last-four with a cigar in one hand and a martini in the other – was their 13th in 19 knockout fixtures in one-day tournaments, the worst record of any major country.

England's Mark Wood pictured during a press conference at Headingley on Monday (Picture: Anthony Devlin/PA Wire).

With the three-match Royal London One-Day Series beautifully poised at 1-1, after India triumphed by eight wickets at Trent Bridge before England won by 86 runs at Lord’s, Wood said that this was a great chance for England to perfect their skills in the pressure of a winner-takes-all contest.

“This game could have an impact as we look ahead to the World Cup,” he said.

“If we can use it as a game where it might be a semi-final or a knockout game, or something like that, that can only be beneficial.

“It’s a series decider, which will be like a World Cup match where it’s a must-win.

“If we can treat it like that, and if the pressure is on like that, then it can only be helpful for our development.”

Since the 2015 World Cup, from which England have risen to No 1 in the world, they have been involved in five series that have been 1-1 or 2-2 going into a deciding fixture.

They have won three of those games and lost two, the most recent example being a seven-wicket victory in Christchurch earlier this year to take out a series against New Zealand 3-2.

“Luckily over the past year or so we’ve managed these sort of things well and hopefully we can carry on that trend,” added Wood, who took 0-55 from six overs at Trent Bridge and 1-31 from five overs at Lord’s.

“We’ve also come out on top in several close matches.

“This feels like just another game – it doesn’t feel like it’s do-or-die, but we’re trying to treat it like that.

“It’s a big game against a really good team, and we really want to impress.”

England will be helped in that quest by a side set to contain five Yorkshire players, a fact that Wood believes can work in their favour.

Joe Root, Jonny Bairstow, Liam Plunkett, David Willey and Adil Rashid have all contributed in the first two games.

“They know the (Headingley) ground well, they know the pitch well and they know the dimensions,” he said.

“They’ll also be well supported – just as the Indian lads will be – and it’s a plus when you’ve got lads from the local area.

“It’s always good to be back in the north. The people are warm and friendly, so we’ll have that on our side as well.”

Asked to explain why the first two ODIs should have produced such contrasting results, Wood said: “I think it’s just two very good sides.

“Whichever one is on top is really on top, and they sort of keep their foot on the throat and don’t let the opposition up.

“Every one of the England team would hold their hands up and say that in the first game we were absolutely drilled; we were beaten into the dirt and we knew that we had to improve for the second game and we did that.

“I’d like to think that this game could also be a big margin, but obviously in our favour, although to win a close game would also be a good indication of where the side is (in terms of coping under pressure).”

England opener Jason Roy is rated highly doubtful after suffering a finger injury while fielding at Lord’s.

The hosts are already without Alex Hales (side) and have called up Hampshire batsman James Vince.

Vince has been in devastating form, his brilliant 171 effectively deciding the recent Royal London Cup semi-final against Yorkshire at Southampton.

Seam bowler Bhuvneshwar Kumar is set to return for India after a stiff back, probably at the expense of Siddarth Kaul.

Sanjay Bangar, the India batting coach, has defended MS Dhoni after the former captain was criticised for slow batting during the Lord’s defeat.

Dhoni scored 37 from 59 balls as India fell short of their target and was even jeered by sections of the crowd.

“With the combination we are playing we do not have the depth at numbers eight, nine or ten, and when you lose a couple of wickets, it becomes really difficult to bat with freedom,” said Bangar.

“Credit to the England bowlers; they didn’t allow us to score any boundaries in that period and that was the reason the run-rate kept climbing.”