Aug 15 () : The hectic five test series between England and India culminates with the last test scheduled to start at The Oval in London on Friday, when the Indian Nation celebrates its 67th Independence Day.
India, after making heads turn with a win at Lord’s in the second test, are back in familiar turf , as England have defeated them comprehensively in the last 2 matches and seems to have a far more settled side than India.
The Indian team has struggled in all departments be it batting, bowling or fielding. The drop catch of Cook by Jadeja in the third test set things in motion as the team has failed to latch on to the opportunities that have come their way.
In the batting front, the struggle starts at the very beginning as the openers have failed to put on a 50 run partnership all series and Gambhir who replaced Dhawan in the 4th test, did not set things on fire as expected. Pujara who has had reasonable success in South Africa , has failed to score more than the one fifty he scored in the first match. He has got starts but has not been able to convert them to big scores.
The biggest worry is of the batting form of the young sensation Virat Kohli who is yet to go beyond 40 runs this series. He has fallen prey to Anderson four times this series and does not seem too confident when he walks in to bat. India will be praying he finds form in the last test and help the team draw the series.
With India deploying a five batsmen strategy, the role of Rahane has become more prominent and he has delivered almost every time he has had an opportunity. It’s only that he has fought most of the battles with the lower order for company and the team would benefit if one of the top order players stick around and build a substantial innings.
India missed the services of Ishanth in the last 2 matches as it showed in the easy manner the England batsmen scored their runs. He is scheduled to play the match at The Oval and India will be hoping the Hero of the Lord’s victory can help them win again to level the series.
For England, every thing seems to be going right. The batsmen have found form, the openers are scoring, their no.3 batsman Ballance has been scoring runs with ease; they have a spinner who has taken 19 wickets in the series and have 2 pace bowlers who can finish off any team on their own on their day.
Broad who missed the second innings in the last test is expected to play and it is anticipated to be a cracker of a contest with both the teams giving it their all.