Preview: England v India - Third Test
The third Test of the four-match series between England and India
August 10- 14, 2011. The game begins at 3:30 pm, IST.
Edgbaston, Birmingham. Not the best of grounds for India to attempt a comeback in the series. For one, India have never won a Test match at this venue. Their last outing over here was in 1996 where a Nasser Hussain century and a five-wicket haul from Chris Lewis in the third innings helped subject India to an eight-wicket defeat. England, on the other hand, have every reason to be optimistic about their chances of snatching the No. 1 Test team status from India in this match. In the last decade, they have lost only one Test match at Edgbaston (against South Africa in August 2008).
The situation in both camps could not be more different. India, trailing 0-2 in the series, have lost their pace spearhead Zaheer Khan and best spinner Harbhajan Singh to injury woes over the last few days. The exit of Yuvraj Singh and the indifferent form of Suresh Raina also opens up the discussion of who will bat at No. 6 forIndia. Abhinav Mukund’s century against Northamptonshire on the weekend would instill confidence in the opener; he might just be considered ahead of Suresh Raina or Virat Kohli on the back of his warm-up game showing.
At the same time there is the matter of Virender Sehwag. The dashing opener, who scored just eight runs in the practice game against the Northants, hasn’t played a Test match in over seven months. In that context, there could be a case for India opening the innings with Mukund and Gautam Gambhir. That would give Sehwag the opportunity to settle in at No. 6, away from the risk posed by the new ball. Equally, playing the mercurial Sehwag at any position other than the opening slot might rob India of their best chance to put England on the back foot.
England, meanwhile, are on a roll. They have injury issues of their own – Ravi Bopara comes in as a replacement for Jonathan Trott while Chris Tremlett is out of consideration for Edgbaston. However, such is the depth in their squad that these are but minor blips in what many consider to be England’s best opportunity to rise to the top of the ICC Test rankings.
If there is one cause for worry for the hosts, it is Graeme Swann’s form. The England off-spinner has fared only marginally better than Harbhajan Singh in this series from an economy-rate point of view (Swann’s 3.76 to Harbhajan’s 4.11). Nevertheless, two wickets in two Tests don’t give Swann’s fans much reason for cheer. Yet, Swann need look no further than his previous performance at Edgbaston, which came against Pakistan last year, for inspiration. In that Test, Swann took six for 65 in the third innings of the match to give England a comfortable target of 118 to chase down in the fourth innings which the hosts did for the loss of just one wicket.
Virender Sehwag, having hit 85 sixes in Tests, has a chance to move up the order of leading six-hitters. Should Sehwag smack four sixes in this Test, a distinct possibility even if the Delhi dasher faces just four deliveries, he would surpass Jacques Kallis (86), Chris Cairns (87) and Brian Lara (88) to occupy second place after Adam Gilchrist (100) in the list of leading six-hitters.
Tim Bresnan doesn’t know what it feels like to draw or lose a Test match. The burly Yorkshire lad, who made his Test debut against West Indies at Lord’s in May 2009, has an unblemished win record. England have ended up winning each of the eight Test matches Bresnan has played in his career so far. The losing opponents include West Indies, Bangladesh, Australia and India.
England – played 45, won -23, lost – 8, tied – 0, draw –14 – win percentage – 51.1
India – played 5, won - 0, lost – 4, tied – 0, draw – 1 – win percentage – 0.00
Highest total in an innings: England 633/5 decl. in 165.2 overs v India - July 12, 1979
Lowest total in an innings: South Africa 30 in 12.3 overs v England – June 14, 1924
Best individual score in an innings:Peter May (England) – 285* v West Indies- May 30, 1957
Best bowling figures in an innings:Wilfred Rhodes (England) 11.0-3-17-7 v Australia – May 29, 1902
Average first innings score at Edgbaston: Overall - 308, since 2000 – 291
Average second innings score at Edgbaston: Overall - 315, since 2000 – 381
Result summary at Edgbaston:
|Matches||Won by side batting Ist||Won by side batting IInd||Draws|
|Matches||Played||India Won||England Won||Drawn|
Last meeting at Edgbaston: June 6, 1996 to June 9, 1996
Brief scores: India – 214 & 219 lost to England – 313 & 121/2 by 8 wickets
Form guide (most recent listed first):
India: Lost, Lost, Drawn, Drawn, Won, (1 win, 2 losses)
England: Won, Won, Drawn, Drawn, Won (3 wins)
India: MS Dhoni (c & wk), Gautam Gambhir, Abhinav Mukund, Rahul Dravid, Sachin Tendulkar, VVS Laxman, Suresh Raina, Virat Kohli, Pragyan Ojha, RP Singh, Ishant Sharma, S Sreesanth, Munaf Patel, Praveen Kumar, Virender Sehwag, Wriddhiman Saha and Amit Mishra
England: Andrew Strauss (c), Alastair Cook, Ian Bell, Kevin Pietersen, Eoin Morgan, Ravi Bopara, Matt Prior (wk), Stuart Broad, Tim Bresnan, Graeme Swann, James Anderson, Chris Tremlett and Steven Finn.
All stats are as onas on August 9, 2011