India vs England, 2018, third Test: Preview
Indians are 2-0 down, but there are still three matches to go, which is a lot of cricket. The third Test will question India's resilience.
Virat and company have had a tough time, particularly at Lord's, while playing the swing bowling of Jimmy Anderson, Stuart Broad, and Chris Woakes. But they need to remember that in South Africa they came back powerfully to win the final Test.
Much has been spoken about the skill of the Indian batters to battle it out in the complex situations, but at Lord's, it was the supreme talent of Jimmy Anderson and company which got better of them. This team is much better than the way they have played so far.
There is a possibility that Shikhar Dhawan might play and if he does, the big cover drives have to be put aside. He requires mental discipline to play other shots which he is capable of and operate much on the back foot. Will India play Karun Nair as the sixth batsman? That could be a great opportunity for the young man.
India needs a good start at the top which has not occurred yet. Whether Shikhar Dhawan comes instead of Vijay, will help them counter-attack, but whosoever is trusted with the task will need to stand tall and that will grant respite to the middle order to take the fight back to England.
The England captain is also settled about retaining leggie Adil Rashid, who didn't have to bat or bowl at Lord's. Root believes a spinner adds variety to the attack and he will have him in the XI, even if the leg-spinner is used sparingly.
The bowling looks in good health with Bumrah coming in. Shami has been the best on the play and Ishant has to find the form he displayed in Birmingham at the beginning. But Virat has to get the field right. Too many soft singles have been given away, especially off good deliveries.
England will be even more encouraged by the return of Ben Stokes. His addition will only add more contrast to the English bowling but will also add depth to their batting. Trent Bridge is a venue where the ball swings. It is a venue very close to Broad and Anderson's heart. So full-fledged attack could be the way forward for England to beat India again.
The visitors have fought to find their best XI, England, despite a forced change in the second Test, have a solid idea about what their best XI is in this series. And that's why Ben Stokes, who returned to the squad after the trail in Bristol Court. The allrounder Sam Curran, who the man of the match in the first Test at Birmingham will have to make way.
Can the Indians fight back? The problem is they have surrendered to the fact that it will be hard. The mind has to believe that. A lot is being said about Kohli's power, but he cannot win the matches alone. Sachin Tendulkar didn't.
India played sensationally well in 2007 because of the players around him scored as well. Pujara. Rahul, Rahane, Vijay, Karthik have to think, they have done it earlier in the past and in challenging circumstances and faith can help them change the mental frame they are in.