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India- England Series

England's Topley braced for India 'away game' in Manchester ODI finale



Photo: AFP

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Reece Topley expects to feel as if he is playing away from home when England face India in Sunday's one-day international series decider at Old Trafford.

The northwest of England is home to one of Britain's largest Asian populations and India can usually rely on plenty of vocal support when they play in Manchester. 

Many thousands of fans in the region were denied the opportunity to support their favourites when what should have been the concluding Test between England and India at Old Trafford in September last year was called off just hours before it was due to start because of Covid-19 concerns in the tourists' camp.

But supporters will have a chance to make-up for some of that lost time on Sunday, with a grandstand finish in prospect. 

The three-match series is level at 1-1 after India hammered England by 10 wickets at the Oval only for the 50-over world champions to hit back with a 100-run success at Lord's.   

"I'm expecting a pretty good atmosphere in Manchester, almost like an away game really, but that's the kind of thing you want to practice," he said.

"It is a big game, I've just got to prepare for that and hopefully wrap up the series. Especially with a (T20) World Cup in October, you want those 'win or you're out of it' sort of games."

Topley could hardly be in better form, given the left-arm quick took an England ODI record 6-24 at Lord's.

But having suffered several stress fractures that almost cut short his time in cricket, the 28-year-old tried to keep his outstanding feat in perspective.

"It was pretty crazy, not something that you necessarily set out for at the start of your career, but it's about backing it up and going again," he said.

"It's about enjoying the moment but not getting too high and trying to win the series for us. At the end of the day, we're in a series and it's 1-1. I enjoy it, I ride the wave, but there's everything to play for at the weekend.

"There are so many variables that it's not about saying, 'I'm going to get five today'. At the top of my mark for each ball, it's about how I'm getting in the game. But then you need a lot of things at the other end to go your way."

After Sunday's match, England face South Africa in six more white-ball games, across both T20 and ODI cricket, before the end of a hectic month.

"The schedule is another thing... I mean, it's crazy," Topley said. "You've got to do what you can. I think we'll have had 12 games in 20 something days -- that's a lot for anyone to play.

"I've got an end goal that I want to be at the (T20) World Cup (in October), I want to contribute and be in the team. It's about taking each day as it comes and trying to get better to attain that goal."