India have their backs to the wall on this tour. After losing the first two Tests, even the scheduling of the tour appears diabolical to them. The game against Northamptonshire was to allow Indian players to get the much-needed practice, but in retrospect it served no purpose at all as two days are not long enough. India would have liked Zaheer Khan to have a long bowl but he bowled just three overs and was off. Sehwag was expected to get some batting practice prior to Edgbaston but he was out for eight. Gambhir and Dhoni did not trouble the scorers much, and apart from Mukund, who got a century, and Amit Mishra's 61, none of the others got past 50. In the end, India's first innings score of 352 was easily overhauled by a second-tier county side, which is really making things desperate for them.
The problem of team selection continues to haunt India. With players either overcooked by playing too much cricket, like Harbhajan Singh, or undercooked by playing too little, like Virender Sehwag, Dhoni has to think clearly ahead of Edgbaston. Should he pick Sehwag or someone like Mukund and give him the much-needed confidence? If I were in Dhoni's place I'd go with Mukund, knowing fully well Sehwag's formidable record. Amongst the Indian bowlers, the only change I see is Amit Mishra coming in place of Bhajji. Edgbaston could well allow the leggie to make it count. Whatever the final batting line-up will be, India's senior batsmen must stay at the wicket and score runs.
The difference between the two sides has been negligible in some sessions, but huge over the matches. England have the psychological edge. Andrew Straus should not be worried about selection. Each player knows what is expected of him.