3rd Test: India Look For A Turnaround Of Fortunes




The Indian team came to England with a huge reputation but after nine days of cricket in the country that ruled them for four centuries, India have been down and outplayed. After being mauled by 196 and 319 runs respectively in the two tests, a battered and bruised looking team moves to Edgbaston with a last chance to redeem their top ranking. A loss here for Dhoni’s men would move England to the top spot while it would mean a fall from grace for the mighty champions.

3rd Test: Last chance to salvage some pride

3rd Test: Last chance to salvage some pride

Things have only got downhill for India since Zaheer Khan hobbled out after the first hour at Lords with a hamstring injury. The remaining three bowlers didn’t have the firepower to stop Pietersen race away to a double hundred. A shoddy performance on the field carried on when they came out to bat as Dravid played a lone hand. The problem with the Indian team has been the inability to finish things off. After getting the top six batsmen out for a little over 100, the bowlers allowed Prior and Broad to dominate proceedings and put the match in England’s control.

It was déjà vu at Trent Bridge. After England were put into bat and were reduced to 120/8, they allowed Broad to score a counterattacking century and then again let Bell, Morgan and Bresnan to score big in the second innings. Here again, they were left short of a bowler as Harbhajan Singh picked up a side strain. A blow to Gambhir at Lords meant that the whole batting order had to reshuffle leaving a shaky middle order with Yuvraj and Raina at 5 and 6 and a completely out of sorts Dhoni at No.7.

India will go into the match at Edgbaston with atleast three changes from the side that played at Old Trafford. Gambhir returns from injury to take the opener’s slot along while Yuvraj Singh has been ruled out of the series with a broken thumb. Amit Mishra is most likely to take the spinner’s slot with Harbhajan flying back to India. But the most important arrival will be the one of Virender Sehwag! Apart from bringing a bit of lunacy at the top of the order, he invokes fear in the minds of the bowlers and although he has hardly played any cricket in the last six months after undergoing a surgery on his shoulder, the value he brings to the team is invaluable. Among others, Suresh Raina might get one last chance ahead of the recalled Virat Kohli while Sreesanth’s first innings performance might have just done enough to keep his place ahead of Munaf Patel.

While England have also had their share of injuries, it is not something that will bother them. Chris Tremlett’s hamstring continues to keep him out of action but that spared the selectors a headache after Bresnan’s impressive performance at Nottingham. Jonathan Trott has also been ruled out after dislocating his shoulder while fielding and Ravi Bopara has been called up as a replacement. Graeme Swann, who also had a niggle during the second test, has been declared fit to play. Ian Bell will keep the No.3 slot after a wonderful 159 in the second innings at Nottingham while Morgan would move up one place to accommodate Bopara at No.6. The in-form batsman Alistair Cook hasn’t exactly set the series on fire and will look to set things straight here at Edgbaston.

The Indian batsmen have failed to register 300 in the four innings they have played while every batsman, barring Dravid, has failed to find their feet in bowler friendly conditions. The inclusion of Sehwag at the top of the order and the fitness of Gambhir should bolster the batting but the lower middle orders of both the teams show a stark difference. While Prior has scored a century and two half centuries, Dhoni has an aggregate of 49 runs in four innings and while Broad himself has two half centuries at No.8, the Indian tail has contributed a total of 123 runs in four innings.

England have indisputably been the better side in the first two tests and it is now that they could be most vulnerable. India, who have everything to lose, will look to come out all guns blazing and it would take a remarkable performance for them to give themselves a chance to salvage the series.

Probable Squads:

England: Andrew Strauss (Captain), Alastair Cook, Ian Bell, Kevin Pietersen, Eoin Morgan, Ravi Bopara, Matt Prior (Wicketkeeper), Tim Bresnan, Stuart Broad, James Anderson, Graeme Swann.

India: Gautam Gambhir, Virender Sehwag, Rahul Dravid, Sachin Tendulkar, V.V.S. Laxman, Suresh Raina, M.S. Dhoni (Captain and Wicketkeeper), Amit Mishra, Ishant Sharma, Praveen Kumar, Sreesanth.

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Monish Menon

Author:

Hi, I am Monish Menon from Hyderabad and currently working at Franklin Templeton Investments as a Compliance Business Analyst. Sport has always been my passion since I was a kid and I invest all my non-existent free time by watching, playing, writing and analyzing various sporting events across the world. Apart from being a diehard Manchester United fan and a Ferrari supporter, I believe that Roger Federer is still the best tennis player and Sachin Tendulkar is God. I play club cricket and I also am a part of my organization’s cricket and football squad. Being such a sports fanatic, writing about it is something that came naturally to me and I am glad that I got an opportunity through thesportsmirror.com to share my thoughts with the rest of the world. For other articles written by me, you can visit my blog at www.monishmenon.wordpress.com

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