After settling scores of 2011 at Lord’s, all was well for Team India until Southampton and Old Trafford shook them up.
After settling scores of 2011 at Lord’s, all was well for Team India until Southampton and Old Trafford shook them up. Now a battered and bruised side would look to lift the dampened spirits as they go into the fifth and final Test against England, hoping to bring back the lost pride and level the series 2-2.
MS Dhoni’s men have slipped up badly after the Lord`s Test with humiliating defeats in Southampton and Old Trafford. While the new look batting line-up has crumbled time and again, the bowling lacks penetration and that has allowed the hosts to stage a dramatic turnaround in the 5-match series.
But Dhoni and his men will be boosted by the news that lanky pacer Ishant Sharma is fit for the final game and might bench the likes of Ravindra Jadeja and Pankaj Singh. Stars like Virat Kohli and Cheteshwar Pujara have failed to live up to their talent and potential and will need to buck up for the final game.
Southpaw Gautam Gambhir who has replaced his Delhi teammate Shikhar Dhawan, must show that he still belongs into the top league and if the former manages to stay at the crease for a long time, it would nicely set up for the visitors in the fight to save the series.
Dhoni though has stuck by the idea that India will play five bowlers again, without changing around too much. There might be some chopping and changing but the skipper will go 5-bowler strategy which shows an attacking mindset.
Indian skipper MS Dhoni has come under the criticism of losing most of the away matches and letting the series slip away. It happened in South Africa, New Zealand and seems the trend has caught up in England as well.
When MS Dhoni steps out for the toss with counterpart Alastair Cook, the former will equal former Indian great Sourav Ganguly`s record of having led India in 28 Tests overseas. Ganguly won 11 of those matches, lost 10 and drew the rest. Dhoni`s on the other hand, makes a sorry reading, with 6 wins, 8 draws and 13 losses.
The news from the English camp is all great with Stuart Broad, who suffered a broken nose at Old Trafford, is likely to play. The English all-rounder is slated to undergo knee surgery shortly after the series and will miss the ODI series.
The cause for concern for Alistair Cook and management will be the form of opener Sam Robson while Chris Jordan, too has not been impressive.
With England in high spirits and India looking down the dumps, a touch of Independence Day could pump up the boys as they go for series leveller at the Oval.
India: MS Dhoni (c & wk), Shikhar Dhawan, Murali Vijay, Gautam Gambhir, Cheteshwar Pujara, Virat Kohli, Ajinkya Rahane, Rohit Sharma, Ravindra Jadeja, Stuart Binny, R Ashwin, Ishant Sharma, Mohammad Shami, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Ishwar Pandey, Pankaj Singh, Varun Aaron, Naman Ojha.
England: Alastair Cook (c), Moeen Ali, James Anderson, Gary Ballance, Ian Bell, Stuart Broad, Chris Jordan, Jos Buttler (wk), Sam Robson, Joe Root, Ben Stokes, Chris Woakes, Steve Finn.