2 probable India changes for the 4th Test against England
After receiving a high-level drubbing at Lord's in the 2nd Test, the Indian team has scripted a remarkable turnaround in the must-win game (3rd Test) at Trent Bridge to keep the series open and alive.
Though Virat Kohli and Co. were initially helped by Root's generosity, they came out with a clinical performance in all the departments and outplayed England.
As England captain decided to bowl first, the Indian openers provided a good start by scoring their 1st 50+ partnership in last 4 innings. Though India struggled at 82-3, Kohli joined hands with Rahane (saviour pair) to stitch an important 159-run partnership for the 4th wicket, which took India past the 200-run mark.
England came back with a bang by reducing India from 241-3 to 329 all out, thereby rupturing India's target of 400+ run in 1st Innings. England in their first innings were dismantled by Hardik's maiden fifer, ending up with a paltry score of 161.
With a significant lead of 168, Kohli's 23rd Test hundred and some vital contributions from Pujara and Hardik made sure that India's lead in 2nd innings went past the 500-run mark.
India put England's fragile batting line-up under immense pressure, imposing a mammoth target of 521. Though England's defeat was inevitable, a 169-run partnership between Buttler and Stokes made sure that the game was dragged to the final day.
Being just 1 wicket shy of a victory, India cleaned it up in 17 balls on Day 5, with Anderson top-edging a carrom-ball from Ashwin to Rahane at 2nd Slip. With a top-ranked performance, India gained one of their largest wins in terms of runs (won by 203 runs) against England in England.
Though the scoreline (1-2) now maybe against India, England's major woes in their batting have kept the series alive. As Indian team announced their squad for final 2 Tests on 22 August 2018, they were stringent by dropping Vijay and Kuldeep for newbies like Prithvi Shaw and Hanuma Vihari.
Normally, the Indian team won't prefer changes to their winning combination, but injury concerns and a new addition in the form of youngsters to the squad might result in these 2 probable changes in the playing XI:
#2: Ravindra Jadeja in for Ravichandran Ashwin
Ravichandran Ashwin equipped himself with a bag of variations ahead of the England tour which was apparent during the 1st Test at Edgbaston. He picked up 7 wickets for the match, his best performance till date in England.
In the 3rd Test, Ashwin was rested from fielding in England's 1st innings due to a hip strain. Though he wasn't much required during first 3 days of the match, Ashwin bowled almost 23 overs in the 2nd innings with grimace throughout the day, which would have aggravated his injury.
Hence, it is rational to rest Ashwin for the 4th Test to regain 100% match fitness. Ashwin's absence won't be a problem for India as Ravindra Jadeja would be an apt replacement for him.
Jadeja has been Ashwin's partner in crime for the past 4 years in dismantling the oppositions at home. Moreover, he is already experienced to bowl in English conditions and might contribute with the bat as well.
#1: Prithvi Shaw in for Shikhar Dhawan
Rishabh Pant's inclusion in the Indian setup gave us a glimpse of team management's attraction towards quality youngsters. Young guns like Bumrah and Hardik stepped up in the 3rd match with their respective fifers to set up India's resurgence in the series.
In the past 5 years, Shikhar Dhawan had many opportunities to cement his spot in the team but eventually failed to do so. With the age factor against him (almost 33 years old), the team management may decide to experiment with the youngster Prithvi Shaw instead of him.
Though Shikhar showed some resistance with 35 and 44 in the 3rd match, he was largely helped by England's poor show at slip cordon. Normally, he has the tendency to throw away a good start, which was evident in the 2nd innings (got out stumped by Rashid).
On the other hand, Prithvi has an impressive record in the domestic circuit with 1418 runs in 14 matches at an average of 56.72, scoring 7 hundred and 5 fifties. Mentored by 'the great' Rahul Dravid, he scored a scintillating knock of 188 runs of just 169 balls for India 'A' in an unofficial Test match against West Indies in Beckenham (India A tour of England)