Fourth Test: India have history against them at batting-friendly Oval
London, September 1, 2021
Barring the historic win in 1971 that also won them their first-ever series in England, India have not much hope to draw from their record at The Oval, where they play the fourth Test from Thursday.
India have played 13 Test matches and lost five of them. Seven have been drawn.
The Oval has one of the best batting pitches in the country and there could be some respite for the Indian batsmen who are struggling to find runs on this tour.
The Indian top three have managed to score runs in some innings or the other. However, the Nos. 4, 5 and 6 have been disappointing.
Skipper Virat Kohli, who bats at No. 4, is due for a big score and so is No. 5 Ajinkya Rahane and No. 6, the wicketkeeper-batsman Rishabh Pant.
The Indian team management, which is insistent on playing five bowlers, may bring in bowling all-rounder Shardul Thakur to strengthen the batting in place of Ishant Sharma.
There are concerns over left-arm spinner Ravindra Jadeja's fitness. The team management may mull bringing in R Ashwin in his place as there are already calls for him to be reinstated in the playing XI.
England are bound to see changes as Jos Buttler is out, leaving the wicket-keeping duties to Jonny Bairstow.
Moeen Ali has been named vice-captain.
However, it will be interesting to see if the home side rests one from James Anderson and Ollie Robinson. Both the new-ball bowlers have played the first three Tests and have bowled the maximum number of overs in the series so far.
England have Chris Woakes and Mark Wood back in the squad and that allows them to rest one of their new-ball bowlers. Both Woakes and Wood could also play as England may drop Sam Curran, who has been a bit off-colour with the ball.
India: Rohit Sharma, KL Rahul, Mayank Agarwal, Cheteshwar Pujara, Virat Kohli (captain), Ajinkya Rahane (vice-captain), Hanuma Vihari, Rishabh Pant (wicket-keeper), R. Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja, Axar Patel, Jasprit Bumrah, Ishant Sharma, Mohammed Shami, Mohammed Siraj, Shardul Thakur, Umesh Yadav, Wriddhiman Saha (wicket-keeper), Abhimanyu Easwaran, Prithvi Shaw, Suryakumar Yadav, Prasidh Krishna.
England: Joe Root (captain), Moeen Ali (vice-captain), James Anderson, Jonathan Bairstow, Rory Burns, Sam Billings, Sam Curran, Haseeb Hameed, Dan Lawrence, Dawid Malan, Craig Overton, Ollie Pope, Ollie Robinson, Mark Wood, Chris Woakes.