India v England 4th test Oval: Preview
The most important test match of the series as it turns out is here and back in London. The team winning this test will not lose this series. This has been such a series and two teams are so fragile in their batting that a defeat for either of them in the previous test may not have a bearing on this series.
As it turned out it was a huge debacle for India at Leeds and England will be going into the Oval test with greater momentum but they cannot relax as the fragility of their batting can get India right back in this series. Let us look at the team talk. India v England 4th test Oval: Preview
Oval is not a happy hunting ground for India as only one Test, that historic 1971 match is won by India on this ground on which England dominated at other times. Questions on middle order and lower middle-order still persists. Pujara’s 91 in the 2nd innings at Leeds is good news but Kohli’s getting out in the slips, poking at deliveries outside off,
Rahane’s chronic inconsistency and Pant’s awkward batting has already cost India dear and can add to further woes if there are no improvements on these fronts. The Shami, Bumrah batting heroics at Lords was an aberration but 36 or 78 is not, which is brutally proved by the England bowlers at Leeds.
Virat Kohli has gone through a lot of scrutiny on his batting technique in the last 1 month. Even journalists at press conference had directly questioned him on his technique. It remains to be seen whether that 55 in the 2nd innings drives him for bigger scores or the England bowlers will continue to dominate him by getting him outside off for fun.
The bowling after the high at Lords seemingly ran out of gas at Leeds with Ishant and Siraj going through the motions.
For Oval, it is expected that Ashwin will play. However, whether Virat sticks to his 4 fast bowlers formula or not is anyone’s guess. Also, it remains to be seen whether any of the tired fast bowlers are rested. Fresh legs are introduced as part of load management. However, Ishant is almost sure to be benched for this game.
Rahane is also another spot in question with Vihari or Surya waiting in the wings.
The Probable India XI
Rohit , Rahul , Pujara, Kohli , Rahane/Vihari , Pant , Jadeja, Ashwin , Shami , Bumrah , Siraj/ Shardul
Leeds test not only allowed England to comeback but it also got their top-order batting going.
Runs for two comeback guys Hameed and Malan must have given England team management lots of pleasure. Burns looked very good too and Root is in fabulous form.
The bowling will get stronger at the Oval with the return of Chris Woakes. Who has always thrived against India and Mark Wood back from his shoulder injury. After losing nearly the cream of their bowling with the absence of Broad, Archer, Woakes etc. England really made a great comeback at Leeds and now is struggling to make choices from an embarrassment of riches. They will have to choose from Woakes, Wood & Overton for their remaining two potential fast bowling spots and Sam Curran is likely to miss out.
Also, it remains to be seen whether England plays Anderson in this test. With another one coming close on the heels of this one and it will be a big ask for a 39-year-old fast bowler to play back to back three tests.
Buttler will not take further part in this series for an addition to his family. H
Hence Bairstow is likely to keep and Ollie Pope to get his first test in this series.
Probable England XI
Burns, Hameed , Malan , Root , Pope , Bairstow , Moeen , Woakes , Overton/ Wood , Robinson , Anderson
Pitch: It has a greenish look but should be a great batting wicket with balls gripping on 4th, 5th days.
Weather: Can be cloudy but generally good with some rain predictions on 5th day
Live Telecast: The match will be telecast live on Sony Network