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England vs India 3rd Test Preview

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Last Updated on 6 years by Charbel Coorey

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As we are at the third Test, it was absolutely vital that India did not put themselves in the predicament they find themselves in right now.

A series of such huge billing, given England’s desire to maintain their home record and India to improve abroad, started with an absolute thriller at Edgbaston. Lord’s was one to forget, unless you’re English (and a Pakistan fan, perhaps), headlined by a very quick cricket match that seemingly interrupted all the rain. Can we expect anything different at Trent Bridge? One thing is for sure, though – expect to see changes in personnel in either side.

Ben Stokes returns for England in their quest to knock over the number one Test side in three Tests. Lord’s was a match of dreams for the Poms, with the home side merciless against India’s batsmen begging for mercy, but also unwilling at times to fight it out. With India’s batting in all sorts of trouble, England are now picking up the hammer to hit the final nail in the coffin, on a pitch sure to offer seam with clouds about.

For India, I guess things could have been very different had it not been for Sam Curran’s fantastic second innings knock at Edgbaston. But, I, and perhaps many others, expected them to do much better. For starters, they have been unable to adjust to the conditions, challenging as they are, thanks to a lack of ‘playing the ball late, under the eyes’. With the series on the line, batsmen in awful touch and Jasprit Bumrah back, expect a range of changes in an attempt to keep the series alive.

Key to an England win

England have knocked India over for 162, 107 and 130 in the last three innings of this series.
Like a boxer with his opponent on the ropes, England have India tottering on the edge, with the seam bowlers simply relishing the conditions on offer. England’s gateway to success thus far has been ripping through the India top order, highlighted significantly by the fact that Hardik Pandya is India’s second highest run scorer in the series to date.
England will pitch the ball up, and test India’s ability (or inability) to select when to drive the ball, and when not to. The inclusion of Ben Stokes at the expense of Sam Curran (controversial as that may be) still gives England four quality pace bowling options in these conditions, and India can expect an onslaught – one you don’t want when 2-0 down.
Also, England’s middle order came to the party at Lord’s when India perhaps started to believe they could bounce back. Can they get more out of their top order? Alastair Cook and Keaton Jennings in particular are in need of runs. If England get big runs on the board, do India have it in them to match it? Doubt it.

Key to an India win

As mentioned, Hardik Pandya is India’s second highest run scorer in this series. 
No disrespect to Pandya, but with such an onus on the top order to deliver in this series, it is an absolute abomination to see Hardik second to Kohli. Who will stand up? Will Ajinkya Rahane show us why he has a good overseas record? Who will open? What impact can Rishabh Pant have on his debut?
These questions, and many others, face Shastri and co, but they simply must stay in the fight as long as possible, and play in partnerships. It has come down to a session-by-session proposition for India, where they must win more than they lose, and when they do lose, make sure it’s not by a huge margin. Easier said than done, but the time is now to deliver for their millions of passionate fans.
With the ball, I would pick four bowlers, with Ravi Ashwin playing the all-rounder role to cater for an extra batsman. India have shown they can take wickets, but they desperately need more runs to play with.

Teams

England have finalised their XI for the Test, with Sam Curran very unlucky to miss out. Leaving a spinner out was considered too big a risk, and with the other options perhaps leaving Ben Stokes or Jos Buttler out, England have decided that the least experienced man would miss out, despite his magnificent performances in this series.
England XI: 1. Alastair Cook, 2. Keaton Jennings, 3. Joe Root (c), 4. Ollie Pope, 5. Ben Stokes, 6. Jonny Bairstow (wk), 7. Jos Buttler, 8. Chris Woakes, 9. Adil Rashid, 10. Stuart Broad, 11. James Anderson
For India, their XI is still uncertain. I have put out my XI they should choose, which includes Karun Nair. Yes, he is suspect against the moving ball, but I think the following top three would give India the best chance of a decent start. Also, for me, Jasprit Bumrah should slot in, with Hardik Pandya the unlucky one to miss out to cater for an extra batsman.
My India XI: 1. Shikhar Dhawan, 2. Cheteshwar Pujara, 3. Virat Kohli (c), 4. Karun Nair, 5. Akinkya Rahane, 6. KL Rahul, 7. Rishabh Pant (wk), 8. Ravichandran Ashwin, 9. Mohammed Shami, 10. Jasprit Bumrah, 11. Ishant Sharma

Stats and Facts

  • Virat Kohli tops the run scoring charts in this series with 240. India’s next best run scorers are Hardik Pandya (90) and Ravichandran Ashwin (85).
  • James Anderson is ten wickets away from equaling Glenn McGrath’s 563 Test wickets.
  • England have won the last five Tests v India in England.
  • Trent Bridge is the least happiest ground for England spinners, averaging 35.89 runs per wicket.
  • The last game between the two sides at Trent Bridge was a dull draw to open the series in 2014. India fans, would you take the same result here?

Prediction

Call me delusional, but I had high hopes for India in this series. They have evaporated somewhat, but with the right XI, they could put up a better fight.
Still, England are looking too strong at home and they look a safe pick right now. Series over after three Tests? Head says yes, heart says no.
Here’s to a competitive match. Thanks for reading!

Charbel Coorey
Charbel Cooreyhttps://cricblog.net
Charbel is the owner & founder of cricblog.net, based in Sydney, Australia. He started the website to fulfill his love for the game of cricket. Charbel has also been featured on other publications including OP India, Times of India, and The Roar, among others. For any story tips or questions, you can contact Charbel at charbelcoorey@cricblog.net.

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