India vs England 4th Test: Sportsrush presents before you five areas which will aid India in drawing level in the ongoing Test series against England.
There is no hiding to the fact that the Indian team appeared as a different unit in the previous Test match of the ongoing series against England. A 203-run win at Nottingham meant that India saved the series for another defeat would have given England an unassailable 3-0 lead in the series.
That being said, India can still not afford to lose another Test because that will mean the end of the road for them as far as winning or for that matter, even drawing the series is concerned. Below are five areas which India must take care of in a bid to win the next Test at The Rose Bowl, Southampton:
1) A strong opening partnership – In three Tests and six innings, the highest that the Indian openers have scored is 60. Apparently, they have registered a 60-run partnership twice, both in the last Test. After Murali Vijay and Shikhar Dhawan scored 50 runs in the first innings of the series, the next that the Indian openers scored were 19, 0 and 0.
The team management has shuffled openers in all the Test matches as yet. With Shikhar Dhawan and Lokesh Rahul looking set to continue in the next Test as well, their target would be to at lease cross the 100-run mark. What can help them in achieving this is by spending more time in the middle. The Indian openers haven’t spent more than 18.4 overs together on the pitch, something which they might be looking to do tomorrow.
2) Virat Kohli factor – It might sound unfair with regard to a team sport but such has been Virat Kohli’s influence on the Indian team across formats in the recent years. Having scored 440 runs in three matches at an average of 73.33 and a strike rate of 58.43, Kohli has been the leading run-scorer in the series so far. The next best on the list is Jonny Bairstow, with 206 runs at an average of 41.20 and a strike rate of 65.60.
The numbers in itself signify Kohli’s importance to this Indian team. His value doesn’t necessarily revolve around batting. Being the captain, the onus of taking vital on-field decisions also falls on Kohli. He has been criticized for a couple of his decisions, if not more, in this series. He would be looking at working on that aspect of his game as well.
3) The cherished all-rounder’s spot – India’s desperation to find a genuine fast-bowling all-rounder isn’t hidden from anyone. Hardik Pandya’s extended run for the same had yielded results but not consistently. Him registering a five-wicket haul and scoring a half-century in the last Test at Nottingham was a kind of performance which is expected of him. But is it too much to ask from him on a regular basis still remains the big question.
If not the same, Pandya would be at least expected to stage a performance which would suit well with his profile of being an all-rounder.
4) The game-changer in Rishabh Pant – Rishabh Pant, who made his Test debut in the last Test, has it in him to become an X-factor for his team’s batting line-up. Pant was exceptional with his glove work behind the wickets in his first outing in Test cricket. However, he fared mediocre with the bat in hand. Scores of 24 and 1 did not justify his recent form. That being said, the same can happen with a dasher like him. If he stands tall to his reputation, he might as well cause a lot of trouble to the English bowling-line up, especially with (quick) runs down the order.
5) Bowling unit – After winning the last Test, coach Ravi Shastri was highly impressed with his bowling unit, calling it the best he has seen during his tenure. The Indian bowlers were usually found fault with not picking up 20 wickets in a Test match (especially overseas).
Going by the recent track record of the Indian bowlers (during the tour of South Africa and the ongoing tour of England), it seems as if they have eventually found the formula to pick 20 opposition wickets. In the current series, they have picked 38 wickets out of the total 46 English wickets.
Kohli might have been declared the ‘Man of the Match’ in the last Test, but it was the individual five-wicket hauls picked by Hardik Pandya and Jasprit Bumrah in the first and second innings respectively which played a vital role in laying down an Indian victory. This knack of one bowler leading the attack and others playing strong supporting roles can help India in winning the next Test as well.