Last summer’s, England v India Test series that saw an abrupt end with multiple Covid cases in the Indian camp forced the 5th and final Test to be postponed indefinitely. The 4 Test’s played of the 5 match Test series currently has India leading 2-1 with stage set for the all-important decider to get underway tomorrow. India will be out hungry for a win wanting to clinch the series win, 3-1. Whereas, England have got a bigger job in hand, that’s to win the Test and draw level to the series, 2-2.
Both sides have a lot changed since their last face-off, it was Joe Root led, Chris Silverwood coached England that struggled for wins, a lot was out of order and it now is Ben Stokes captaining the side with Brendon McCullum as head coach, who’ve got the team to play with intent and now are back to winning ways. Indian team has also seen quite a few big changes, it was a Virat Kohli led Indian team with Ravi Shastri as head coach that now has Rohit Sharma as full-time captain and Rahul Dravid as head coach. Jasprit Bumrah is set to captain the Indian side in this 5th rescheduled Test following Rohit Sharma’s unavailability.
England, last week defeated the World Test Championship winners, New Zealand 3-0 in a fashion that’s stunned and impressed the cricketing world. England chased down three tricky totals to register wins and that alone tells a lot about how good a form England currently are in. England now pick their bowling attack with an eye on the wicket, the best men for the job on a given surface are picked and with no preplanning and rotation in picture. Batters have all clicked, runs from openers to middle order all have got going and have made big contributions. England haven’t dropped anything that’s comes their way, they’ve been switched on and have always been up and about. To sum it up, England have got their selection, batting, bowling and fielding right in place now.
ENGLAND’S XI :
Alex Lees, Zak Crawley, Ollie Pope, Joe Root, Jonny Bairstow, Ben Stokes (C), Sam Billings, Matthew Potts, Stuart Broad, Jack Leach, James Anderson.
Hosts, India have not played a Test match for a while now and on their arrival in the UK, they had a practice game v Leicestershire. India first need to get their opening query answered, with Rohit Sharma, down with Covid and KL Rahul, undergone a surgery remain unavailable it’s all eye on what pair do India come up with. There lies huge responsibility in the hands of the experienced middle order players to set games up and drag India out of possible early tensions. India still lack an all-rounder in the Test format and that has them invest time getting their XI right by either playing an extra spinner or a pacer in the XI.
The weather for the opening couple days of the Test match isn’t very promising with showers on forecast, hopefully the sky clears for near complete play on both days. The weather for the remaining 3 days is very pleasant and should have compete play.
What we read on the outside is, clarity being reflected from the English camp and uncertainty, more question marks than answer from the Indian unit. Which side comes out victorious will be a wait and watch, but in a race where England are looking for a win to level the series and India eyeing a win to bag the series, 3-1 is surely not going to be anything short of an absolute treat to watch. Only a sleep away now is the series decider.