Can India seal the series at Mumbai?

India, England, Cricket, Virat Kohli

Can India seal the series at Mumbai?

Regenerate after 8 days break, India and England will resume the battle in the fourth test match at historic Wankehde Stadium, Mumbai from tomorrow. The Men in Blue have dominated the visitors at Vizag and Mohali. India is high on confidence with resounding win at Mohali by 8 wickets to take a commanding 2-0 lead in the series. The pitch at Mumbai is expected to help the spinners from the third day onwards that should favour the Indian slow bowlers. England spinner’s performance at Mohali was not up to the mark as they gave away more runs.

At Mohali, England elected to bat and were bundled out for 283 on Day 2. The Indian pace bowlers did the major damage supplemented by the spinners.  India was struggling at 204 for 6 after a reasonable performance by Parthiv Patel, Cheteshwar Pujara and Virat Kohli, as Murali Vijay, Ajinkya Rahane and Karun Nair had a bad day. England bowlers were not able to trouble the tail of Indian batting. Ravichandran Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja and Jayant Yadav added all important runs which helped the hosts to take a 134 runs lead.

In the second innings too, the Indian spinners bowled consistent line and length which did not allow England batsmen to score runs easily restricting to just 236 giving a target of 103 which the Indian’s scored with ease.

Looking at the pitch conditions at Wankede Stadium, Mumbai this year in Ranji Trophy matches, 2 games have been played at Mumbai. In the first match between Delhi and Maharashtra, 1150 runs were scored with two triple century knocks. The second match saw Andhra Pradesh defeating Haryana by 77 runs in a low scoring contest.

England’s performance at Wankedhe has been good as they have won the last 2 test matches in. In recent match of 2012, England defeated India by 10 wickets to level the series at 1-1. But situation this time is different as England is going to Mumbai trailing 0-2 with low confidence. If England has to beat India, they have to play aggressive cricket and put pressure on the Indian team.

The biggest problem for India in this series so far has been the opening partnerships. In the first three test matches Murali Vijay has been paired with Gautam Gambhir, KL Rahul and Parthiv Patel in the series so far and no partnership has been a great success. Murali Vijay has not been in great form so far except 126 runs in the first innings of first test. In this test match KL Rahul and Murali Vijay are expected to open the innings.

The middle order is at a loss as Ajinkya Rahane is injured and ruled out of the test series. Manish Pandey will replace Rahane. He, Virat Kohli and Cheteshwar Pujara who are in excellent form will be a strong middle order.

Parthiv Patel apart from being the wicke-tkeeper will also strengthen the lower order. Ravichandran Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja, & Jayant Yadav’s all-round performance has allowed Virat Kohli to play with  5 regular bowlers.

Mohammad Shami and Umesh Yadav have bowled with aggression. They have picked wickets when the team needed. Our two pace bowlers have done great job by bowling fast and also creating pressure on England batsmen. Mohammad Shami had a stiff leg and the decision on his availability for Mumbai test match will be decided by today evening. If Mohammad Shami is not fit, Bhuvneshwar Kumar should come into the squad.  Shardul Thakur called up to Indian squad for the fourth test as a cover for Mohammad Shami may not get a chance to play.

On the other hand, England has also included two new players. England captain Alastair Cook and Joe Root have not lived up to their reputation so far. England is dependent on Ben Stokes and Jonny Bairstow who have been quite impressive with their performances. England will miss the services of Stuart Broad. The spinners have let them down with their inability to bowl consistent line and length.

India leads the test series 2-0 and Virat Kohli led side will be looking to seal the series in Mumbai. While England needs inspiration to change their fortune and also stay alive in the series.

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