India vs England: 4th Test Preview

India are leading 2-1 in the five-match Test series.

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IND vs ENG Match Preview, 4th Test: Injuries, Tactical Player Changes, Pitch Conditions, and More
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Team India. (Photo Source: BCCI)

Can Bazball work in Indian conditions? This was the boiling question ahead of the five-match Test series. After England’s nail-biting win in Hyderabad in the first Test, the British pundits lauded their approach and believed that the hosts were likely to have a tough time countering Bazball. However, the Rohit Sharma-led side managed to get over the line in Visakhapatnam but the visitors weren’t bothered much. They decided to take a break and moved to the UAE to relax for a few days but upon returning, they were humbled by India in Rajkot.

In the third Test, the hosts defeated England by 434 runs. Right after that, some of the pundits called out key players like Joe Root and questioned their credibility under the new regime. Former cricketers like Michael Vaughan, Nasser Hussain, and Aaron Finch called Bazball out but Stokes clarified that under no circumstances would they change their strategy.

READ MORE - Ben Stokes remains unperturbed by criticism surrounding Bazball after Rajkot drubbing

Meanwhile, the surface in Ranchi is expected to favour the spinners, which can once again bother England. Skipper Ben Stokes and wicketkeeper Ben Foakes have played to the situation for the majority part of the series but the same can’t be said about the top-order batters. Ben Duckett has been exceptional at the top of the order but players like Zak Crawley and Root will need to improve immediately to salvage the series.

In the fourth Test, they have decided to bring in Ollie Robinson as Mark Wood has been handed a break. James Anderson will lead the inexperienced bowling unit, which also features Tom Hartley and the returning Shoaib Bashir, who comes in at the expense of Rehan Ahmed. Meanwhile, the focus will be on Jonny Bairstow, who’s going through a rough patch at the moment.

The hosts will be relaxed. Yashasvi Jaiswal hit a phenomenal double-century in Rajkot, which should give him confidence for the remainder of the series. Shubman Gill and debutant Sarfaraz Khan were impressive as well, while concern remains about Rajat Patidar's form. He is likely to continue at No. 4, as KL Rahul is yet to recover from his quadriceps injury. On the other hand, Dhruv Jurel has done a commendable job with both bat and gloves as he would look forward to the Ranchi Test to cement his position in the playing XI.

READ MORE - Shubman Gill reflects on the struggle of batting at number three in Tests

Jasprit Bumrah will miss the fourth Test as the team management has decided to manage his workload. In his absence, Mukesh Kumar is likely to make his return while Axar Patel might replace Kuldeep Yadav.

JSCA International Stadium, Ranchi: Pitch Report

The surface in Ranchi will assist the spinners. Batting will be easy in the first innings but the nature of the surface will change as the game goes on. Batting in the fourth innings could prove to be difficult and hence, the captain winning the toss should eye to bat first. A solid start would be extremely necessary to get a grip on the match.

IND vs ENG Probable Playing XI

India:

India might not make any changes to the batting unit. When it comes to bowling, Mukesh Kumar is expected to replace Jasprit Bumrah while Axar Patel might replace Kuldeep Yadav. 

Predicted XI: Yashasvi Jaiswal, Rohit Sharma (c), Shubman Gill, Rajat Patidar, Sarfaraz Khan, Ravindra Jadeja, Dhruv Jurel (wk), Axar Patel, Ravichandran Ashwin, Mukesh Kumar, Mohammed Siraj

England

England made two changes to their playing XI. Shoaib Bashir and Ollie Robinson have replaced Mark Wood and Rehan Ahmed.

Predicted XI: Zak Crawley, Ben Duckett, Ollie Pope, Joe Root, Jonny Bairstow, Ben Stokes (c), Ben Foakes (wk), Tom Hartley, Ollie Robinson, James Anderson, Shoaib Bashir

IND vs ENG Head-to-Head Record in Tests:

Matches Played            134
     India won             33
   England won              51
        Draw            50
  First Meeting    June 25, 1932
  Last Meeting February 15, 2024

IND vs ENG, 4th Test Broadcast Details:

       Date Friday, February 23 - Tuesday, February 27
      Timing                        09:30 am (IST)
Live Streaming                          JioCinema
Live Broadcast                          Sports18

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