England Vs India, Match Preview
A comeback win at Lords for India and a series-defining win for England at Headingly leaves the series well poised. With two Tests to go the series has an exciting finish ahead with all three results possible in the series. Both sides have a lot of holes and issues, but despite their deficiencies they have fought well to keep the series interesting.
The Leeds Test saw India finally win a toss. The toss win however turned out to be a bad omen with India getting bowled out for 78. They conceded a massive lead and lost the game despite a reasonable fightback from Cheteshwar Pujara in the second innings. India was in a similar situation in Australia when they were all-out for 36. After a poor performance they fought back well and can still do the same here with a good line-up.
The batting continues to be an issue with Ajinkya Rahane, Rishabh Pant and Virat Kohli not performing up to the mark. Pujara’s 91 took him of the list but the batting struggles are still apparent. England are in a similar position with Joe Root single-handedly carrying the batting line-up. He made three centuries in three Tests. While Root has done the bulk of the scoring in the series, he did receive some support from Dawid Malan. Malan scored a valuable half-century on Test comeback while Hameed and Burns did well at the top.
The bowling has been good with Anderson tormenting the Indians along with Ollie Robinson. Robinson was brilliant in the third Test, disturbing batters with his movement and bounce. Craig Overton has also done well in the previous Test allowing England too look at other pace options and explore their pace depth.
England Vs India, Team News
England will be without Jos Butler who has gone home to attend the birth of his second child. In his place Sam Billings has been named in the squad but will likely sit out. Jonny Bairstow will take the gloves and might drop down the batting order. Chris Woakes returns from injury and could come in for Sam Curran who has struggled throughout the series. There is a toss-up between Ollie Pope and Dan Lawrence for the middle-order spot with Pope likely to get the nod. The batting line-up looks deep with Robinson coming in at number ten.
India has some selection questions of their own with Virat Kohli likely to change the template. With the Oval known to assist spinners India will hope to include Ashwin. Excluding Ashwin for the first three Tests alone has been a challenge and with India looking to comeback from defeat his inclusion could help add a new dimension to the side. Ravindra Jadeja has recovered from his knee injury after going for a scan. There is also a case of including Hanuma Vihari or Suryakumar Yadav while removing a pacer. Another consideration is bringing in Shardul Thakur for Ishant Sharma, who did not have a good Test at Leeds. Umesh Yadav may get a shot as well with India looking at the workloads.
England Vs India, Predicted XIs
India (probable): 1 KL Rahul, 2 Rohit Sharma, 3 Cheteshwar Pujara, 4 Virat Kohli (capt), 5 Ajinkya Rahane, 6 Rishabh Pant (wk), 7 Ravindra Jadeja/R Ashwin, 8 Shardul Thakur/Ishant Sharma, 9 Mohammed Shami/Umesh Yadav, 10 Jasprit Bumrah, 11 Mohammed Siraj
England (probable): 1 Rory Burns, 2 Haseeb Hameed, 3 Dawid Malan, 4 Joe Root (capt), 5 Ollie Pope, 6 Jonny Bairstow (wk), 7 Moeen Ali, 8 Chris Woakes, 9 Craig Overton, 10 Ollie Robinson, 11 James Anderson
England Vs India, Players to Watch out for
Bairstow has got the gloves back with Butler missing out. His batting has been a little scratchy but the pleasure of getting the gloves back may bring a change in fortune for Bairstow. With two Tests to go, Bairstow will hope to put some good performances with the bat and extend his Test career.
Pant returns to the place where he made his first Test hundred. He was twenty then and has won Tests at the Gabba, tackled Anderson at home and has grown into an interesting cricketer. His series hasn’t been good with Pant failing to contribute throughout the series. His struggles in English conditions seem incident but with Pant showing his talents he will be hopeful to turn things around in the upcoming Tests.
England Vs India, Pitch and Conditions
The forecast is clear through the week and the heat may play a role in the pitch. The Oval is helpful for batters but can assist spin as the Test goes on. Ashwin took six wickets in an innings during a county fixture before the series, indicating the effect of spin in the surface. With spin playing an evident role batting could be a better option for the toss winning skipper.