India eye 2-2 as series shifts to Southampton
ENG vs IND Test Series - 2018
Fourth Test Preview
Venue: The Ageas Bowl, Southampton
Date & Time: 30 Aug - 3 Sep, 11:00 AM Local Time
A 'humdinger' at Edgbaston, an 'Emphatic English' win at Lord's and an 'awe-inspiring' comeback by India at Trent Bridge keeps the series alive. Now everyone shifts their focus to Southampton, venue for the fourth Test. Both teams were welcomed by breezy and hazy conditions for their net sessions and with cloud cover expected for the first three days of the test, odds of getting a result are very good.
Momentum in any sport is very crucial. After being 2-1 down in the series, Team India have found the perfect balance and momentum going into the fourth Test of the series. If we go by the practice sessions (they practised in this order Dhawan, KL, Che, Vk, Jinx, Pant & Hardik) then we might not find any changes in their batting order.
Openers Dhawan and KL Rahul have given the right kind of starts in both the innings at Trent Bridge. If they are able to give a good start again especially in their first innings then it will be easier for the middle-order trio of Pujara, Kohli & Rahane. Pujara & Rahane look solid at Trent Bridge and again they will be eager to add more to their runs tally.
And there is Virat Kohli who is on a record-breaking spree, has already aggregated 440 runs at 73.33 in the series with two tons and two fifty-plus scores. England bowlers have come up with different plans and he responded back with tremendous grit and determination. It will be very hard for the English bowlers to halt this 'Modern Giant's' exploits. Pant, who had a terrific debut behind the wickets will bat at 6 and Hardik Pandya will once again look to emulate his all-round heroics.
Indian bowlers have fared very well in all the Tests they have played this year and Lord's Test was the only time where they failed to bowl out the opposition. They had three five-wicket hauls compared to England's one and with overcast skies expected their fast bowlers will once again look to continue their overseas form. R Ashwin confirmed his availability by bowling in the net sessions prior to the start of the test. After his 38-match tenure as Test captain, finally, Virat Kohli might go with an unchanged XI.
Probable XI: Shikhar Dhawan, KL Rahul, C Pujara, Virat Kohli (C), Ajinkya Rahane (VC), Rishabh Pant (WK), Hardik Pandya, R Ashwin, Ishant Sharma, Mohammed Shami, Jasprit Bumrah
After squandering their lead at Trent Bridge, England will look to wrap up the series at Southampton. Cook(80) and Jennings(94) are struggling for form but expect them to stick with their openers. Joe Root, who had some ordinary outings in the middle will look to make things right at Southampton. James Vince and Moeen Ali were extra additions to the 12-man squad and Vince who came as a cover-up to injured Bairstow might have to sit out.
Jonny Bairstow put an end to a lot of speculations and as he did both batting and wicket-keeping practice at net sessions. At the press conference, he revealed his desire to keep wickets. But it will be interesting to see whether England will pick him as a wicket-keeping batsman or not. They might play him as a specialist-batsman at no.4. Stokes and Buttler will follow him.
It will be interesting to see what they will do with their second addition Moeen Ali who returned team on the back of a magnificent all-round performance (219 and 8 wicket-haul) against Yorkshire. He offers more options as it will give them an opportunity to bring back Sam Curran into the playing eleven. For that, they had to drop Adil Rashid and play Ali as a lone spinner. We might not see any changes in the fast-bowling unit.
Probable XI: A Cook, K Jennings, Joe Root (C), Jonny Bairstow (WK), Ben Stokes, Jos Buttler (VC), Moeen Ali/Olive Pope, Chris Woakes, Sam Curran, Stuart Broad, James Anderson
Match Forecast :
Cloudy conditions were expected through the course of the match and whoever wins the toss might opt to bowl to take early advantage of overseas conditions at Southampton. In 2014 series, both teams came to The Ageas Bowl with India leading 1-0. It was England who make a turn-around and went on to win the series 3-1. This time around, it is India with better slip catching and momentum have their tails-up and are looking to stage a dramatic turn-around in the series.
Stats & Milestones :
--> Kohli needs six runs to become the 10th Indian to score 6000+ Test runs and will be second fastest after Sunil Gavaskar who reached in 117 innings.
--> James Anderson needs seven wickets to overtake Glenn McGrath(563) as the leading fast bowler in Test cricket. Currently, he had 557 at 26.85 avg.
Did You Know?
--> In 2014, against India, under tremendous pressure Cook scored two (95 & 70*) gritty knocks. He was dropped at 10 on day one.
--> Moeen Ali took 6 for 67 against India in England's previous win at Southampton. Anderson also had seven wickets in that match.
Who Said What :
"Our country has got such a bowling attack after a long time and if you compare one on one, we have better bowlers. I can definitely say that there will be a result on this wicket, and a good result" - Shami is confident of India's fast bowlers performance at Southampton.
"I don't know what the conversations are that are going to be had but it's a difficult one because you put so much hard work into keeping wicket over a long sustained period of time. It would be like saying do you want to give up your laptop and write everything free hand again" - Jonny Bairstow on his desire to keep wickets.