Can India make the most remarkable comeback to win the Test Series?
After winning the first two matches in the series, nobody would have given any chance to India to make a remarkable comeback. India lost the first Test at Birmingham by a very close margin despite Virat Kohli playing one of his finest innings.
Second Test at Lord's was a one-sided affair and India lost comprehensively to England. The visitors were in complete disarray, and people were talking about a white-wash. Third Test match at Nottingham was where India remarkably turned around the plot, winning very comprehensively indeed.
The win must have given the Indians tremendous confidence. Moreover, by the end of the first day of the fourth Test at Southampton, India find themselves in a position where not many teams have been in before. Even though this is only the first day of the Test match, India have moved on to a superior position in the match.
After winning the toss, English captain Joe Root decided to bat first. Toss was probably the only thing he got right on the day. England lost the opener Jennings for a duck and never recovered from there after slumping to 86 for 6. That’s when England’s lower order played remarkably well to take them to a respectable total of 246 all out. Curran top scored with 78. India, in response, made 19 runs at the close of the play without losing any wicket.
With Indian bowlers bowling really well, it is up to the Indian batsmen to bat well and take this match away from England in the first innings itself and give them enough time to bowl out the hosts again in the second innings. If they can put their act together, India should win this match. This will put them into a position, where they will go into the final Test knowing that they can win the series coming back from 2-0. And this does not happen often.
In fact, no team except Australia have won a Test series coming back from 2-0 down in a five-match series. That too happened way back in 1936-37. Also, the opposition then was, you guessed it right, England. That’s the only time any team has come back from 2-0 down to win a five-match series.
England are facing all sorts of problems in batting. Their openers haven’t clicked throughout the series, and their position in the team is under pressure. Cook, in particular, finds himself in tremendous pressures as he has not been able to play to his potential for quite some time now. Even captain Root, who has been a very consistent player for England over the past few years hasn’t done justice to his talent. Except for few middle and lower middle order batsmen, England have not been able to bat convincingly enough.
Their bowling is also under a question mark. With the side lacking a quality spinner, England’s attack becomes much more predictable when the ball does not seam and swing around. Even though Anderson, Broad and Woakes have bowled well in the series, they do not have a quality spinner in their side to take advantage of the pitch in the fourth innings.
On the other hand, Indian seamers have adjusted to English conditions well and have been rewarded. They seem to have a more balanced attack of the two teams with Ashwin in the side. So if India plays sensibly in the remaining days of the series, they will have a chance to create history.