A lot has happened since the second Test at Trent Bridge --- riots have broken out in London and Birmingham, Rahul Dravid has returned to the one-day side and subsequently announced his retirement from the shorter format, Zaheer Khan has suffered an injury and RP Singh has returned from nowhere.
The third Test starts in Birmingham amidst all these developments with India having a lot to play for. MS Dhoni and company need to remember that though they are 2-0 down, they still have a chance to make it 2-2 and hold on to the No 1 position. More than the No 1 tag, it is important for the team to not worry about numbers but play good cricket.Birmingham is not only a fantastic city, it is also a great venue to play cricket. The first two Tests had packed galleries and I believe it would be the same here. Reports say the pitch has a strong tinge of green, but come Wednesday morning, I am sure it will look much browner with all the rolling done to get it ready for Test cricket.
The wicket at Edgbaston is newly laid, and county club Warwickshire were docked points for having prepared a poor surface.
However, I expect a good pitch for the third Test, as groundsmen take special care when it comes to international cricket. There is also talk about the ball turning in the last three county games and that's why there is a tinge of green on the pitch, as England would not want to give the spin advantage to the visitors.
The big question is, what should India do if they win the toss? I believe they should bat, as that gives them the best chance to win. India's batting has stood up, time and again, in testing conditions, as there is class and quality in their ranks.
They will be bolstered by the return of Sehwag. Both Sehwag and Gambhir revel in each other's company, and if they can get India going, the visitors will get that much needed start, which has been missed till now. What has happened till now is that Sachin and Laxman have been exposed very early to the new ball and that has created problems.
India will go into the third Test with three seamers and a spinner. They should remember that this is a result-oriented pitch. This could be the most positive factor as it may give India an opportunity to win and come back strongly.