England vs India, 4th Test - India predicted XI

England vs India, 4th Test – India predicted XI

The momentum is with the visitors going into the fourth Test.

Ravi Ashwin
India’s Ravichandran Ashwin attends a practice session with Karun Nair. (Photo by LINDSEY PARNABY/AFP/Getty Images)

India and England will square off in the fourth Test in Southampton after a refreshing break of eight days. The five-match series is nicely poised at 2-1 and the visitors will be keen to level the series and take it to the decider. They thumped the home side at Trent Bridge by a whopping 203 runs and the momentum is definitely with India who have turned things around superbly. However, it will not be easy for them to get past the opposition as they are tough to beat at home.

There is always anxiety around India’s playing XI thanks to the reputation of their skipper Virat Kohli who hasn’t gone in with the same team for 38 consecutive matches now. Just when everyone thought that he has finally found the perfect team for the conditions, Ravi Ashwin remains doubtful for the game. He wasn’t 100 percent in the last game as well and a groin strain hasn’t allowed him to bowl in the nets so far.

A final decision on his availability will be taken only before the match as the possibilities of more changes can’t be ruled out either. The selectors have included Prithvi Shaw and Hanuma Vihari in the side for the last two Tests and it remains to be seen if they will be included in the line-up.

Here we bring you India’s predicted XI for Southampton Test:

Openers (Shikhar Dhawan, KL Rahul)

Finally, the visitors have found the perfect combination at the top of the order. After a long time, India’s opening duo added 50 runs and it changed the face of the team’s batting. Shikhar Dhawan changed his technique and a break in the second Test seems to have worked for him. He will now have to concentrate on scoring big in this Test and give his team a perfect start.

KL Rahul also is a changed batsman compared to the first couple of matches. He is meeting the ball late and is not committing to any shot. More than the front-foot drives, the backfoot punches are coming into play which has gone in his favour and like his partner he also needs a big score. It is about building on a good start for them and if the duo manages to do it, then 2-2 is definitely on the cards. His slip catching is also an added plus and he is expected to continue in the same vein.

Middle-order (Cheteshwar Pujara, Virat Kohli (c), Ajinkya Rahane, Rishabh Pant (wk))

The old Cheteshwar Pujara is back. His 208-ball stay in the second innings at Trent Bridge must have given him loads of confidence. His job is to wear down the bowlers and then the rest of the line-up pounces on it. Pujara is the perfect number 3 for Team India and no wonder it was a mistake to drop him for the series opener.

Virat Kohli has just shut all the pre-series debate with his form in this series. He needed a cushion on either side of him and India’s captain got it in the third Test. Both Pujara and Rahane got runs and then Kohli responded with two assured knocks in both the innings of the game. It is imperative though for him to keep scoring and don’t let the opposition get into India’s lower order soon.

Ajinkya Rahane scraped the cover drive from his game to avoid getting out behind the wickets in the last game. He scored 81 runs with utter ease and there was a huge sigh of relief for the fans. The vice-captain finding his form back has upped the confidence of the whole team and it was also a huge support to Kohli. He should continue to bat well and keep England bowlers at bay.

Rishabh Pant impressed everyone in his debut game. More than anything, his second-ball six to get off the mark in the longest format. He also took seven catches with the gloves and a couple of them were down the leg-side which very few would’ve managed to grab. Pant will only improve in the upcoming matches in both the aspects of his game.

All-rounders (Hardik Pandya, Ravindra Jadeja)

Hardik Pandya must have played his best cricket in the last Test matches. He had to cop a lot of criticism for his role in the team. But the way he bowled and batted in Nottingham was a testament to a fact that the youngster is improving. He has developed both inswing and outswing which helped him get a maiden five-wicket haul in Tests. He needs to play the same way and keep on contributing to the team’s cause.

Ravindra Jadeja will finally get a game to play on this tour. Ravi Ashwin is struggling to recover from a groin strain and it is most likely that the left-arm spinner will take his place. Though Ashwin’s absence will hurt India, Jadeja offers a lot. He bowls extremely tight lines to bring the leg-before dismissal into play and is a brilliant fielder, probably the best in this line-up. He must be itching to hit the straps soon and make the difference.

Bowlers (Ishant Sharma, Mohammed Shami, Jasprit Bumrah)

Ishant Sharma has grown as the Test bowler over the years and he has led this bowling attack well. The lanky fast bowler has made the new ball to talk and has kept England’s batsmen on the tenterhooks right through. But there is an issue with Mohammed Shami who tends to get carried away with the new ball. If Shami also starts well in Southampton, the hosts will be in trouble in quick time.

Jasprit Bumrah made a stunning comeback at Trent Bridge. His spell with the second new ball in the second innings changed the game dramatically. His ability to keep bowling at a high pace hurries the batsmen and it will be important for India that he stays fit. Bumrah’s inclusion has worked wonders for the visitors and it goes without saying that he will be eager to continue in the same vein.

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