India vs England, Fourth Test: Preview and Playing XI
After losing the first two matches, India staged a dramatic comeback in the series as they thrashed England by 203 runs in the third Test at Nottingham. With the series poised at 2-1, the visitors will now look to level honours in the fourth Test that is scheduled to be played at The Rose Bowl in Southampton from Thursday August 30.
Both teams have faced each other just once at the Rose Bowl in the longest format of the game with England emerging victorious by 266 runs. While England have been the more dominant side in this series, India will have gained huge confidence after their crushing win in the last match, and one might expect a close encounter.
The visitors have played six away Test matches this year. Of those, they have won two and lost four. Kohli's men gave the hosts a good run for their money in the opening match of the ongoing series, before being completely outplayed in the second Test at Lord's. But they have made an excellent come back by winning the third game at Trent Bridge by a morale-boosting 203 runs to leave the series wide open.
Meanwhile, Prithvi Shaw and Hanuma Vihari have been included in the 18-man squad for the last two Test matches. But it is unlikely that either of them would get a chance straight away as skipper Virat Kohli might not want to tinker with the winning combination.
Batting : Virat Kohli is leading the series run charts with 440 runs which includes two centuries and as many half-centuries. He is looking in imperious form at the moment and will once again be the team's go to man with the bat.
Ajinkya Rahane and Cheteshwar Pujara scored 81 and 72 runs in the third Test respectively, and both are expected to replicate their performance here.
Bowling : When it comes to bowlers, Ishant Sharma has been the pick of the lot with eleven wickets in three matches, and comeback man Jasprit Bumrah claimed a match haul of seven wickets at Nottingham, including a fifer in the second innings. Both are likely to give the English batsmen a hard time again.
Hardik Pandya and Mohammed Shami too seem to be enjoying bowling in these conditions and have been an additional advantage to the team. While Ravichandran Ashwin's untimely injury will concern skipper Kohli, he could bring in Ravindra Jadeja if Ashwin is not deemed 100% fit ahead of this game.
Expected Playing XI : Virat Kohli (C), Ajinkya Rahane, Hardik Pandya, Rishabh Pant, Ravichandran Ashwin or Ravindra Jadeja, Ishant Sharma, Mohammed Shami, Jasprit Bumrah, Shikhar Dhawan and Lokesh Rahul, Cheteshwar Pujara.
England now have three wins and two losses from the five Test matches they have hosted so far this year. The hosts were absolutely clinical in both the batting and bowling departments in the first two Tests, but slipped to a massive defeat in the third one.
Despite defeat in previous fixture, they are a force to be reckoned with in their own conditions and one might expect them to come out firing in the fourth test.
Batting : The batting line-up has fired each time this series and has been their strength so far. Even in the previous test they managed to give India a scare when Jos Buttler cracked a brilliant century in the final innings, and shared a massive 169 run partnership with Ben Stokes; who scored a steady 62 runs. While England's major concern will be Joe Root's form, his highest score in his last three innings is 19 and he could silence his critics with a solid knock here.
Bowling : With the ball, James Anderson has been their go to man throughout the series. He claimed four wickets in the previous match at Trent Bridge, and is just six wickets short of equalling Glenn McGrath's record.
Stuart Broad and Adil Rashid both picked up a three wickets haul in respective innings, and will be expected to trouble the Indian batsmen in the third test.
Expected Playing XI : Joe Root (C), Ollie Pope, Jos Buttler, Ben Stokes, Sam Curran, Chris Woakes, Adil Rashid, Stuart Broad, James Anderson, Keaton Jennings and James Vince.