India take on England in the fourth cricket match today at the Oval, London. With the series tied at 1-1, the action now moves to this test match.
Vice-captain Ajinkya Rahane’s form and senior off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin’s probable inclusion will be in focus as India look to move on from their Leeds debacle when they take on a stronger England team in the fourth Test.
The biggest problem In Indian team is the dismal performances of its three middle-order stalwarts — the skipper himself, Cheteshwar Pujara and his deputy Rahane. Pujara might have redeemed himself with a knock of 91 which was high on “intent quotient” but the same can’t be said about Rahane, whose form is shaky despite a crucial 61 in the second innings at the Lord’s.
The Oval track has traditionally helped spinners and therefore Ashwin, who had a six-wicket haul in a county game against Somerset)might just bring in his 400 plus wicket experience to trouble the English batters who have been wary of him in the past.
But Kohli, whose fascination for four pacers is well documented, might want to replace an off-colour Ishant Sharma with Shardul Thakur, who is more of an all-rounder and it is to be seen if Ashwin comes in place of Jadeja, who hasn’t been penetrative enough.