England vs India 2014 - England back on track, India face selection issues | gocricket.com
 

England back on track, India face selection issues

6 Aug 2014, 1618 hrs IST,  ,  gocricket.com  
England back on track, India face selection issues
© Reuters
The case for Gautam Gambhir's inclusion has strengthened, while Ravindra Jadeja may struggle to hold onto his place in the Indian XI.

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Defeat can do multiple things to a team. India seemed to be perfect in Lord's but crashed down with a thud in Southampton. Suddenly, what seemed rosy and perfect now suddenly looks brittle and uncertain. After the loss at Southampton, India were beaten off the field when James Anderson was found not guilty in his altercation with Ravindra Jadeja.

The two main discussions for India heading into the Old Trafford Test are centred on the nature of the pitch and on the inclusion of R Ashwin. Traditionally, the Manchester wicket has favored spin but when conditions are overcast, it is a field day for fast bowlers. With so much rain prior to the match, it will be interesting to see what kind of pitch lies in store for both teams.

England

For 10 Tests before the match in Southampton, the world was a dark and gloomy place for Alastair Cook and his men. All that changed in the Rose Bowl. Not only they won the match but unearthed a potential 'match-winning' spinner in Moeen Ali. It was the first time that England clicked in all departments and they will be aiming to sustain the momentum. Sam Robson appears the only weak link in the batting and he will look to make amends.

The changes for England will be in the bowling. With Liam Plunkett ruled out and Stuart Broad in doubt, there could be a chance for Steven Finn to feature in this match. It will represent a remarkable turnaround for Finn, who had lost rhythm and confidence in the Ashes. Chris Woakes and Chris Jordan both struggled in Southampton but they might not face the axe considering the fact that England might want to play five bowlers on a helpful deck.

India

"To include R Ashwin or not to include?" That seems to be the major question for all Indian fans. Looking at the one-dimensional nature of the Indian attack in Southampton, Ashwin's variety or excess of it could prove to be a big boost for India. There is some good news though for India. Bhuvneshwar Kumar, who was troubled by a swollen ankle, is now fully fit and should play at Old Trafford. He did not practice on the first day at the nets but practised for a solid hour without any problem on day two.

There could be some changes in the line-up though. Shikhar Dhawan, who has scored just 122 runs at an average of 20.3, might be dropped and Gautam Gambhir might play in his first Test after a gap of close to two years. Rohit Sharma, who flopped in Southampton and was roundly criticized for his rash shots, could make way for Ashwin. Pankaj Singh, who went wicketless in his debut, might warm the bench and Varun Aaron could feature in a Test after a gap of three years.

Conclusion

With the series tied 1-1, this match is pivotal for both teams. A win for either team will go a long way in salvaging pride following a bad period. A loss for either could see teams wallowing in doubt for some seasons. With the Manchester crowd all set to give Indian skipper MS Dhoni and Jadeja a tough time, it will be interesting to see how India approach this match.

Probable XIs

England: 1. Alastair Cook (capt), 2. Sam Robson, 3. Gary Ballance, 4. Ian Bell, 5. Joe Root, 6. Moeen Ali, 7. Jos Buttler (wk), 8. Chris Woakes, 9. Chris Jordan, 10. Steven Finn/Stuart Broad, 11. James Anderson

India: 1. Murali Vijay, 2. Shikhar Dhawan/Gautam Gambhir, 3. Cheteshwar Pujara, 4. Virat Kohli, 5. Ajinkya Rahane, 6. Rohit Sharma/Stuart Binny/R Ashwin, 7. MS Dhoni (capt/wk), 8. Ravindra Jadeja, 9. Bhuvneshwar Kumar, 10. Mohammed Shami, 11. Pankaj Singh/Varun Aaron
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