Related Link : India’s tour of England
The final test at The Brit Oval is just about to get underway and the mission for Michael Vaughan and his team is to win it at any cost. Even if they go on to win the Test, the series will only be drawn at 1-1. India can win the series with just a draw. So that creates all the pressure in the world on the homeside which has gone into this series without three key performers. The rub of the green has gone in India’s favour as they could have so easily have lost the Lord’s Test but for the rain. So far the series has been a closely fought contest, there has been very little to separate both teams. India have managed to seize on the opportunity to win the second test after bowling out England cheaply on the first day.
The last time a Test Match was played at The Oval, history was created when it became the first ever match to be forfeited. It was the infamous England-Pakistan match and the ugly ball tampering episode that got Pakistan to forfeit the match. The pitch at The Oval has historically been a sportive one. There is a bit of extra pace and bounce on this track that can help both the batsmen and also the seamers. Swing may just take a backseat. India haven’t had a bad time at this ground. So far they have played nine tests, out of which they lost two, won a Test in 1971 and drew the remaining six matches. India played a Test on their last tour at this venue which was a high scoring draw with Rahul Dravid scoring 217 after Michael Vaughan’s 195 had helped England post a 500-plus first innings total.
England are in a real peculiar situation. The last time they lost a home series was way back in 2001 against a dominating Aussies. It will be hard work for them to win this third and final Test Match against some star Indian players who are playing their last ever Test on the English soil. The homeside will have to get a big boost from its batsmen. Like always any batsmen getting a start has got to convert that into a big big hundred or perhaps a double to bat India out of the contest. Kevin Pietersen’s recovery from fever on time is indeed good news for England. The positive for England from the second test was the bowling of Chris Tremlett. He has shown the ability to extract bounce out of nowhere from the good length region which has put the Indian batsmen under trouble. He will be getting a lot more assistance from The Oval which according to reports has a bit of grass cover to aid the homeside. The same team that played in the two tests is expected to play with Stuart Broad likely to sent back to his county.
Everybody knows that this is the last time that the likes of Dravid, Tendulkar, Ganguly and Kumble will be playing Test Cricket in England. All these four will look to try that much harder to do their best in stopping England from running towards a much needed victory. The Indians will also be looking to play the same XI with Sreesanth getting another opportunity to prove himself. He should be a charged up individual after having been dropped from the rest of the tour. As long as the two left armers – Zaheer and RP Singh keep their consistency, it is not going to be easy for the English batsmen. The role of the opening batsmen – Wasim Jaffer and Dinesh Karthik will be crucial. If they can stay the distance in removing the shine off the new ball, then the middle order will find it easier to tackle the bowling.
All said and done, it can be concluded that England will be the side looking to do the catching up job. India will have to stop them from doing that with some counter attack perhaps. Not to forget that India had last won a Test Series here in 1986, so the players will be keen in taking the advantage of the 1-0 lead. England have shown that they have the ability to bounce back and the Indians would know that for sure. It should be a great contest once again if both sides play to their potential.