The test series between England and India now moves to Trent Bridge as both the teams lock horns for the third test. Both the teams want the same result but for different reasons. While England would want to win the match and wrap up the series, India would desperately want to make a comeback in the series.
Things have not gone according to the plans for team India. The batsmen have miserably failed to live up to the expectations while the bowlers, despite being good for most of the parts, have struggled in decisive moments. No batsman other than Virat Kohli has reached the three digit mark in the two tests for team India. The second highest run getter in the series for India is Hardik Pandya with just 90 runs to his name. The very fact that Ravichandran Ashwin was the top scorer for India in both the innings of the second test, with scores of 29 and 33*, speaks volumes of how underwhelming Indian batting has been.
Indian openers have been anything but comfortable. Ajinkya Rahane and Dinesh Karthik have been struggling to spend time in the middle of the pitch. Former Indian chief selector Dilip Vengsarkar has urged Virat Kohli and Ravi Shastri to be bold enough to give Rishabh Pant a spot in the playing team. However coach Ravi Shastri has publicly backed Ajinkya Rahane, labelling him as the ‘pillar’ of the Indian batting order.
The bowling has been impressive. But the inability to pick up wickets in the decisive moments has come back to haunt the team. In the first test, Sam Curran’s fifty proved to be the turning point in the match. Similarly in the second match, the Bairstow-Woakes partnership took the match away from India.
There are many unanswered questions that Virat Kohli faces right now and it needs to be seen how he approaches to answer those impeding questions.
Also read: Kohli or Root – Who’s a better test batsman?
Erstwhile, England are a happy bunch currently. Fresh from back to back comfortable wins, the team is brimming with confidence. Jonny Bairstow has been among the runs in the both the tests and looks in supreme touch. Chris Woakes’ return came as a blessing in disguise in the last match. The Yorkshire all rounder scored a brilliant hundred and picked up 4 wickets as he was awarded with the Man of The Match trophy.
James Anderson has been an absolute magician with the red ball and his outswingers has left the Indian batsmen bamboozled. In fact, Anderson would be setting his sights on a world record as he is only nine wickets away from Glen McGrath to be the fast bowler with the most number of test wickets. Stuart Broad, on the other hand, has been a more than able partner to Anderson, picking up wickets in regular intervals.
However England have a selection problem of their own. Ben Stokes has been cleared up of all the charges against him and is set to return to the team. With Chris Woakes in supreme form, it seemed like it will be Sam Curran who makes way for the all rounder. Apart from the one change, England are set to name an unchanged squad. According to latest reports, England have announced their squad for the third test, as given below.
England (confirmed squad): Alaistar Cook, Keaton Jennings, Joe Root (C), Ollie Pope, Ben Stokes, Jonny Bairstow (Wk), Jos Buttler, Chris Woakes, Adil Rashid, Stuart Broad, James Anderson.
India (probable squad): Murali Vijay, KL Rahul/Shikhar Dhawan, Cheteshwar Pujara, Virat Kohli (C), Ajinkya Rahane, Dinesh Karthik/Rishabh Pant (Wk), Hardik Pandya, Ravichandran Ashwin, Mohammed Shami, Umesh Yadav, Ishant Sharma.
Needless to say, the test is going to be a test of character for all the Indian players as they try to make a comeback in the series.