About the Match
It is 1-1 after three matches and there are two more to go as England readies itself against India for the fourth test match at Manchester, to be held from 7th to 11th Aug. Team England played like a wounded tiger and the 95 run loss in the 2nd test has been befittingly avenged by them with a thumping 266 run win at Southampton in the 3rd test against the visitors. A comeback innings of 95 in the 1st innings followed by an unbeaten 70 in the 2nd innings settled the issue of Cook’s weaknesses in the captaincy; this has brought fresh life to the test match series and it is only the mental toughness of the teams which will play a decisive role in the outcomes of the remainder two tests. Some changes have been made in the composition of the teams due to injuries, which may not change the performance capabilities drastically.
Ballance was able to repeat his good performance with the bat with a century and 155-run partnership with Cook for the 2nd wicket and a 142-run partnership for the 3rd wicket with Ian Bell, which almost took the match away from India. Buttler appearing first time in the test format played a decisive innings with 85, helping the team to take the total to an imposing 569 to enable the home side to declare the first innings. The top order has come back to form, as wished by the captain after the debacle at Lords; they need to keep up their performance from here on. Anderson is able to deliver quick blows and Ian Bell also came good with 3 wickets in the 1st innings. Above all, it was the slow right arm off-break by Ali taking 2 wickets in the 1st innings and claiming 6 wickets in the 2nd innings, which changed the complexion of the game. Steven Finn has been included to increase the fast bowling capabilities; England should keep up their capabilities as a team, supporting each other to keep their winning momentum going.
The top order should try to stay at the wicket coming out from their temptation to hook all over, as done in the shorter versions of the game. Instead of hoping to get away with the big shots, they must put their head down and play for the cause of the team; the batsmen in the middle order and tail are doing their best. Considering the English conditions, the bowlers are doing a good job; Ashwin may be an asset with both and ball and Bhuvneshwar Kumar along with Mohammed Shami is doing well. Kohli, Shikhar Dhawan and Rohit Sharma have not lived up to the expectations and sooner they perform, it would be in their own interest as well as that of the team. Dhoni is able to lead the team from the front with timely advice and bearing enough patience but the youngsters have to heed and perform. India has talent and determination but it is the failure of batsmen and some lapses in fielding which is letting the team down and India has to pull up its socks and prove its potential.
The series is tied presently and both teams will be eager to come up with a vantage position; while England has settled comfortably with its recent win and received a major boost, India will find solutions to win the game at Manchester.
India, 5.00 @ Bet365