How often has Australia rooted for an English victory? Rare, isn’t it? There are few things that surprise one more than that, but that is how it stacks up come the final Test of the India and England series. This, of course, is not the only rare sight in the series that just gave us a Test that lasted 140.2 overs – or 842 balls: the shortest completed Test since 1934-35.
Things have changed dramatically for England ever since their 227-run triumph at Chennai, which was their sixth consecutive victory in the sub-continent. Ever since then, the tourists have gone on to register three such totals that feature quite high in the list of their lowest-ever totals in the format against India.
Even though the manifest struggle of England needs no statistical support, the fact they have been bowled out for sub-200 totals in five successive innings – the first time since 1888 – highlights that the struggle has been serious.
The debate around the surfaces has been running parallel to the series, and with Chris Silverwood, England’s head coach, hinting at taking the matter to ICC in form of a formal complaint against India to prepare a track where Joe Root bagged a fifer, it seems that the issue will go on even after the series comes to a close. Michael Vaughan’s never-ending jibes have found another reason to become more never-ending, even if the professorial Ravichandran Ashwin has managed to ask the right question of “Who decides”.
Who decides what a “good track” is? While none of us have an answer to Ashwin’s query, the answer for “who decides the finalist of the World Test Championship” is with us for now. And that is the upcoming Test. All the byzantine qualifications scenarios and number-crunching has boiled down to much simpler ifs and buts for India, who only need to avoid a loss to book a seat next to New Zealand at the theater of Lords.
For England, even though the chances of repeating 2012 are over, a drawn series is a reason good enough to stay interested. Then, there is of course a notorious proposition of avenging such rude defeats through mudding India’s WTC final hopes. Have England’s chances increased by the absence of Jasprit Bumrah, whose permission to leave the squad owing to personal commitments has been green-signaled by the BCCI? Perhaps not. After all, it is certainly not the pacers who have left England gasping for breath.
Unlike the previous fixture, this is a red-ball contest, which infuses plenty of familiarity for two sides who have hardly been into pink ball games as such. There will be lesser unknowns, but do not adventure in predicting too many things. This has not been that series.
Pitch and conditions
Comments and discussions around the pitches in the series, if compiled, will certainly compete with the thickest books in the world. It does not matter even if Rohit Sharma urges everyone to focus more on cricket than the surfaces it is played on, even he was occupied thinking what the track will be like. Ajinkya Rahane, meanwhile, did not have any good news for the England fans, as he suggested that the track will be “a lot similar to the third and the second Test”. If that indeed happens, expect spin, spin, and some more spin.
Playing combinations for IND vs ENG
Jasprit Bumrah’s release from the squad will most certainly pave way for one in Mohammad Siraj or Umesh Yadav. Although given Yadav’s experience, India might prefer him over the former. The remaining players pick themselves without much fuss.
Predicted XI: Shubman Gill, Rohit Sharma, Cheteshwar Pujara, Virat Kohli (C), Ajinkya Rahane, Rishabh Pant, Ravichandran Ashwin, Axar Patel, Washington Sundar, Ishant Sharma, Umesh Yadav/Mohammad Siraj
The returns of the English batsmen have been diminishing. 26, 57, 47, are the cumulative scores of Dom Sibley, Ben Stokes, and Ollie Pope, in the last four innings, whereas one of the better players of spin from England, Jonny Bairstow, recorded a pair in the third Test. Despite that, any chopping and changing in the batting looks unlikely. One expected change after England misread the previous track will be the addition of spinner Dom Bess in place of James Anderson or Stuart Broad.
Predicted XI: Zak Crawley, Dom Sibley, Joe Root (C), Jonny Bairstow, Ben Foakes (WK), Ben Stokes, Ollie Pope, Dom Bess, Jack Leach, Jofra Archer, Stuart Broad/James Anderson
IND vs ENG Head to Head
Played – 125 | India – 28 | England – 48 | Draw – 49
Played – 63 | India – 21 | England – 14 | Draw – 28
IND vs ENG Broadcast Details
Match Timings- 9:30 AM (IST)
TV – Star Sports Network
Live Streaming– Disney + Hotstar
Source: The source of this content is our cricket news platform Crictracker.
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