India vs England: India’s predicted XI for the fourth Test in Southampton
Virat Kohli could go into the fourth Test against England with an unchanged team, making it a first in his tenure as India captain.Updated: Aug 29, 2018 09:41 IST
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
All it took for the picture to change was one comprehensive win. From plunging into a deep hole after the surrender at Lord’s to now bouncing around with confidence, the win at Trent Bridge has boosted Virat Kohli’s India. England, on the other hand, are grappling to get their combination right for the fourth Test and are under more pressure.
Perhaps for the first time in his captaincy tenure Virat Kohli could go in with an unchanged team for two successive Tests and barring any last minute injury hassle, things look fairly settled for India.
There is an injury concern over R Ashwin, but the team management is pretty optimistic about his chances.
Here is the predicted XI for India for the Southampton Test.
After missing out at Lord’s, Shikhar Dhawan returned at Nottingham and displayed great tenacity. He reined himself and refrained from expansive strokes. He might not have scored a 50, but then with knocks of 35 and 44 in both the innings, he did his best to shield the middle order from the new ball.
Much like Dhawan, KL Rahul did not hog headlines, but he was sedate and looked settled at the crease. His scores read 23 and 36 and while this is nothing to write home about, it ensured that the rest of the batting had their nerves settled down before they walked out to face the music.
When flashy strokes are becoming the norm even in Test cricket, Cheteshwar Pujara keeps vindicating his importance by grafting it out in the centre. He dug in and scored a gritty 72 in the second innings and combined with captain Virat Kohli to put together a stand of 113 runs to put the match well beyond England.
Is there anything else remaining to write about Virat Kohli. He is batting like a man possessed, he walks out, takes guard and scores centuries. He is the fulcrum around which the Indian team rotates, and Southampton promises to be no different. Never rule out another century from the captain, not when he is batting like the way he has been batting.
The vice-captain was under the scanner, he responded with a brilliant 81 in the first innings and looked the best in a long time. The footwork was decisive, the approach was positive, it was all one associates with Ajinkya Rahane. His return to form was the biggest positive for India going ahead in the series.
His position was in doubt, there were questions around his worth. Hardik Pandya responded with a five-wicket haul and then with an unbeaten half-century. It was what this Indian team wants from their all-rounder. A big tick mark for the management to keep persisting with him, a big tick mark for Pandya for not leaving his bubble!
A memorable debut, a second ball six, five catches in his first outing and then a win, Rishabh Pant could not have asked for a better introduction to Test cricket. However, he now has to work on his wicket-keeping skills and try to be more secure while collecting the wobbling Duke.
He was hampered with an injury and the pitch conditions and the relentless nature of the Indian attack did not allow him to have a big say at Nottingham, but if Ashwin pulls up fit, he will have an impact at Southampton where the ball spins.
He has finally become the pace spearhead for the Indian team. It was his spell which sliced through the England top-order in the second innings in the third Test. Virat Kohli should ideally throw the red ball to Ishant and then let him go against the jittery opening combination of Alastair Cook and Keaton Jennings.
He blows hot and cold, but on his day he can win matches for Virat Kohli and this is what keeps him in the team. He got only two wickets at Nottingham, but looked threatening in patches. He has to work on his consistency going forward.
The T20 specialist is now a Test bowler for India and his five-wicket haul won the game for the visitors. He offers variety with his action, and the lengths he bowls makes it all the more difficult for the batsmen. And then with his plethora of variations, he can be quite a handful for the hosts.
First Published: Aug 28, 2018 12:32 IST