Going into the third and final Test, the momentum is certainly with the Indians, but there is no denying the fact that the series could well have been shared at this point, had rains not intervened at Lord’s.
England, with the Trent Bridge loss on their minds, will be doubly charged. With Indians, however, the pattern suggests they are stronger in a back-to-the-wall situation than the one they are in now. The pattern is not only seen in series abroad but on home soil as well.
The last England tour of India was a classic example, where the tourists came back to level the series in the final Test at Mumbai.
Given the fact that the Oval wicket has more bounce than swing, England bowlers will have an upper hand to begin with. That brings us to English tactics. Will Michael Vaughan go in for a green, hard track or will he prefer a flat one? A flat wicket, which will still afford a decent bounce, opens up the game for the most experienced bowler on either side, Anil Kumble.
Whatever the nature of the pitch and the conditions, I just hope the Indians will be up to it. Any player in the side thinking that maybe even a draw would lead to a series win, will be doing so at the peril of his own team. For the Indians, the option of a draw shouldn't arise.
I do not see any changes in the team composition, even though Ranadeb Bose did well in the tour match. Sreesanth should still get the nod but it is good to see the bench strength put pressure on the first eleven.
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