BIRMINGHAM: The Champions Trophy final has been delayed due to rain after England skipper Alastair Cook won the toss and elected to bowl against India at Edgbaston in Birmingham.
India remained unchanged for the summit clash while England made one change in their team. Tim Bresnan comes in place of Steve Finn.
The reigning World Cup winners roared into the title clash of what will be the last edition of the tournament, winning all their four matches with consummate ease under the astute leadership of captain MS Dhoni.
England, who have lost in the finals of both the World Cup and the Champions Trophy over the past two decades, will aim to exploit home conditions against a new breed of carefree Indian cricketers who have taken the tournament by storm.
The hosts thrashed South Africa by seven wickets in the tournament’s first semifinal at The Oval on Wednesday but more than the margin of victory, the team’s ability to bowl out a decent batting line-up in less than 39 overs would have given the English bowlers a big shot in the arm.
India’s batting has been in ominous form. Except for the tournament opener against South Africa on June 6, India have never batted beyond No. 4.
On the flip side, India’s middle order remains untested. But that should not be a worry because there is plenty of experience with Suresh Raina at No. 5 and skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni at No. 6.
As far as bowling is concerned, the likes of Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Ishant Sharma and Ravindra Jadeja have been admirable in unfamiliar but helpful conditions. Umesh Yadav and Ravichandran Ashwin, too, have been instrumental in swinging the momentum India’s way on a few occasions.
The hosts’ top order has been quite prolific with the workmanlike Jonathan Trott providing a calming influence at No. 3.
The Champions Trophy final is also ‘special’ for skipper Alastair Cook. He is leading England for the first time in a global event and is just a win away from a landmark victory.
India: Mahendra Singh Dhoni (captain), Ravichandran Ashwin, Shikhar Dhawan, Ravindra Jadeja, Dinesh Karthik, Virat Kohli, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Suresh Raina, Ishant Sharma, Rohit Sharma, Umesh Yadav.
England: Alastair Cook (captain), Ravi Bopara, Stuart Broad, Joe Root, James Tredwell, James Anderson, Ian Bell, Tim Bresnan, Jos Buttler, Eoin Morgan, Jonathan Trott.