From the historic Lord’s the focus shifts to Ageas Bowl,which will host only its second test to date.With India enjoying a 1-0 lead in the series,a result in the third test will decide which way the series is headed. India will be definitely be the more confident of the two sides on the back of its historc win in the 2nd test. England will hope to put an end to its 10-match winless streak.
India vs England 2014 3rd Test
The Ageas Bowl pitch will provide good bounce for the bowlers,unlike Nottingham which was a graveyard for bowlers.The bounce may well help the spinners in addition to pacers leading Ms Dhoni to pick R Ashwin.With a bit of grass to be left on the wicket,the first session could well decide which way the match would swing. The track touted as a result oriented track will attract lot of attention in the build-up to Sunday as this series has witnessed a dead track and then one of the most greenish track ever produced.
The Indian batting has started to find its feet overseas.The young brigade has shown exceptional patience and the application to leave balls outside the off stump .Vijay and Rahane pilled on the runs at Lord’s and India will be counting on Dhawan and Kohli to start converting their starts. Cheteshwar Pujara has shown remarkable temperament and a big score seems round the corner. Ms Dhoni was applauded by experts by promoting himself up the order but his tendency into a shell is becoming a matter of concern and he would like to get over the criticism.
The Indian lower order was the difference in the previous win,with Jadeja and Kumar scoring handsomely,Dhoni now has a bit more confidence to play five bowlers. Stuart Binny is expected to make way for R Ashwin after he was not called upon to ball in the 2nd innings and also had a dismal show with the bat.India will be buoyed by the performance of their pacers who have relished the challenges and have executed their plans perfectly. Ishant-Bhuvaneshwar have shown great promise and their Lord’s performance have increased the expectations from them. Shami needs to get his act together in the third test as he has been the weak link in the Indian attack. Also India needs to improve upon its slip catching which could well be a deciding factor on bouncy tracks.
Captain Cook is going through a long lean patch by his standards and his captaincy has too drawn criticism from experts,Ageas Bowl will be the ideal opportunity for Cook to silence his critics’ and turn around the English fortunes.A dismal show may well draw the axe on his captaincy. Along with Cook,another senior batsman,Ian Bell has had a forgettable summer but going by their track record they have the knack to bounce back at the most difficult times and India will be wary of the fact.
With Matt Prior making way for Jos Buttler and Ben Stokes failing to register a run in three innings,the lower middle order is an area of concern for Cook. Joe Root and Gary Ballance will be once again entrusted to take forward the English batting on their young shoulders as they have done all summer. James Anderson and Stuart Broad have bowled the most overs by any pacer this year and this scenario looks hard to change come Sunday if England seek a revival in their fortunes,they will have to take upon themselves to lead the English charge on the in-form Indian batting. With England leaving out Keerigan of the squad once again Moeen Ali will have to fill in the extra overs.
Never has England looked so disorganised against India at home and if they don’t seize the opportunity in Southampton then it will be a tall order to avoid a 4-0 drubbing in the series.
India : Vijay,Dhawan,Pujara,Kohli,Rahane,Dhoni(C/Wk),Ashwin/Rohit,Jadeja,Kumar,Shami,Ishant
England : Cook(c),Robson,Ballance,Bell,Root,Ali,Buttler(Wk),Jordan,Broad,Plunkett,Anderson