India’s predicted XI for fifth Test – debut for Shaw, two spinner strategy for Oval
Virat Kohli and boys will look to end their England tour with a positive result and for that to happen, the visitors will first need to iron out the flaws in the playing XI.cricket Updated: Sep 07, 2018 09:38 IST
After losing the series in Southampton, the Indian team will look to finish off on a high against England in the fifth and final Test at the Oval, starting on Friday. Following the devastating 60-run defeat in the fourth Test at Rose Bowl, the visitors will now play for pride at the Oval as the host have taken an unassailable 3-1 lead in the series.
Virat Kohli and boys will look to end their England tour with a positive result and for that to happen, the visitors will first need to iron out the flaws in the playing XI. Under the leadership of Kohli, India put out the same XI for the first time in 39 Tests at Rose Bowl. But there might be some permutations and combinations this time round.
Hindustan Times take a look at the possible XI for the final Test at the Oval –
Despite scoring just 158 runs in six innings thus far, the southpaw should retain his place for the simple reason that he has shown excellent temperament and tried to apply himself at the top against some top-quality pace attack, unlike others. Also, the one factor that is in his favour is that his partner KL Rahul has been woeful and if one opener makes way for someone else, then it has to the Karnataka lad.
The rise of Mumbai star Prithvi Shaw has been meteoric and it has been very well documented. But even he wouldn’t have thought in his wildest dreams that he might get to make his maiden Test bow against England at the Oval. Such a scenario looks increasingly possible as the opener has been failing consistently. KL Rahul seems to be the likely contender to make way for Shaw, as the right-hander has been simply abysmal in the series, scoring just 113 runs in eight innings. Moreoever, Shaw is no stranger to English conditions as he recently struck a majestic 188 against West Indies ‘A’ in an unofficial Test at the Kent Country Cricket Ground. He further scored 62 against England Lions, the same game where Murali Vijay and Ajinkya Rahane were drafted into the XI to prepare them for the England series.
Before the Southampton Test, Cheteshwar Pujara had scored just 104 runs in four innings, however, it all changed when he struck a century in the first innings of the fourth Test, to give India a fighting chance in the match. Despite him failing in the second innings when it mattered most, dropping Pujara from the line-up seems to be out of the equation.
The one Indian batsman who has stood tall amongst the ruins is Virat Kohli. The India skipper is the top-scorer of the series by miles — 544 runs in 8 innings — as Jos Buttler stands second with 260 runs in seven. While no one is ignoring his batting credentials, question marks continue to pop up regarding his leardership on the field. The India captain will look to put those talks to rest to with a complete performance at the Oval.
Vice-captain Ajinkya Rahane’s place in the side is also secure owing to him turning his fortunes around with some strong performances in the last two Tests. After scores of 15 & 2 at Edgbaston and 18 & 13 at Lord’s, Rahane has since struck two important fifties for the team. His ability to forge partnerships has come in handy for the team and he will eye a similar performance in the final Test.
The team management is expected to persist with Rishabh Pant for the final Test, despite him failing with the bat in the four innings that he has played in the series. The southpaw has scored just 43 runs in four innings but he has received good reviews for his wicket-keeping skills and therefore, expect him to be handed the gloves once more at the Oval.
The spinner has received flak for his inability to pick wickets at crucial times, however, R Ashwin remains India’s most reliable all-rounder. So far, he has picked 11 wickets in the series and he is the sixth-highest scorer for India, ahead of even opener KL Rahul.
With all-rounder Hardik Pandya remaining as inconsistent as ever, the team management may be forced to give Ravindra Jadeja a chance in the final Test and bring back the Indian spin combo that has terrorised batsmen in Indian conditions in the last two seasons. England played both Adil Rashid and Moeen Ali and that paid dividends at Southampton and India will look to exploit the conditions of the Oval by doing the same in the last Test.
Fast-bowler Ishant Sharma has been firing on all cylinders in the series and he is India’s top wicket-taker with 15 scalps in four matches. Ishant has been skipper Kohli’s go-to-man and whenever the team is in need of a crucial breakthrough, the pacer has delivered.
Like Ishant, Mohammed Shami’s pace too has troubled the hosts and he has been on top of his game for most part of the series. With 14 wickets in four matches, Shami is right up there with the top wicket-takers of the series and he will expect to add to that tally in the last match.
After missing the first two Tests due to injury, Jasprit Bumrah walked into the line-up and blew away the hosts with his pace and swing. Bumrah has scalped 11 wickets in two matches and is leading the charge of the Indian pace battery.
First Published: Sep 05, 2018 13:24 IST