Former England captain Ray Illingworth feels India is the better of the two sides 

Former England captain Ray Illingworth feels India is the better of the two sides 

The Indian team bounced back from 2-0 down at Trent Bridge to register their first win and is expected to carry on the form in Southampton.

Ray Illingworth
Ray Illingworth. (Photo by Adrian Murrell/Allsport)

The five-match Test series in England was the best chance for the Indian team to prove to the world that they are not home track bullies. After winning the T20 series and losing the ODI series, India headed into the Tests with a team that had the capability of making a mark in these conditions. After three matches England lead the series 2-1. However, former skipper Ray Illingworth feels that the win at Trent Bridge will give India the edge head to Southampton.

Virat Kohli and his men stormed back into the series after trailing 2-0. Sometimes, the team loses confidence after falling in the first couple of games and are written off. But Kohli’s men are no pushovers and when their backs are against the wall, they come back even stronger. The first Test was a close one and the margin of defeat was 31 runs but the hosts hammered them in the second Test and it appeared as if they now had the psychological advantage as well.

“India is definitely looking the better side at the moment. After winning the third Test, their morale should be high, but given the nature of the game, it might be difficult to win three in a row. India have the spirit and I won’t write them off altogether,” said Illingworth in an interview with Times of India.

A formidable unit

In the past, the Indian bowlers struggled to take 20 wickets in overseas Tests. But the likes of Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Shami and Ishant Sharma have ensured India possesses one of the best fast bowling units of the world. They have pace and maintain the nagging line of attack with great consistency to trouble the best of the oppositions.

“It’s great to see their pacers bowling at 145 kmph. They had Dennis Lillee coaching them for a while, isn’t it (at the MRF Pace Foundation)? Having the best coaching helps and they know how to fight and compete. This pace attack can put a lot of teams under pressure. Add to that the fitness and fielding standards, which have gone up so much in the last few years,” Illingworth added.

Skipper Kohli’s form in the series has been a major differentiator as well, he is the leading scorer in the series with 440 runs that included two centuries. The captain has handled the pressure quite well, has adapted to different conditions comprehensively and while doing that has shown his team the way.

The fourth Test between the two teams will begin on August 30 at the Ageas Bowl, Southampton. The Indian team will be looking to level the series with another dominating performance.

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