England v India, 3rd Investec Test, Ageas Bowl July 24, 2014

Ageas groundsman battles heatwave

74

There are no survivors from the last time India played at the Ageas Bowl - formally the Rose Bowl - Hampshire's home ground, a bowl rising out of nowhere in the outskirts of Southampton.

Two members of that 2002 team are travelling as commentators; Rahul Dravid and Sourav Ganguly will remember this as a nasty pitch with such uneven bounce that led to rumours that the Indians did not even want to bat the second time around in that tour warm-up. The Indians won that match comfortably, though, bowling Hampshire out despite declaring with a lead of only 252. Nigel Gray, the head groundsman, remembers that pitch all too well, but those were the bedding-down days, only two years into the existence of Hampshire's new home ground.

The pitch for the Test, only second in the history of the venue looks green, not as green as Lord's last week, but promises good carry and bounce. It has been an incredibly hot week leading up to the Test so the challenge for Gray and his team has been to retain the moisture.

The pitch has been spending most of its time under the hovercraft, and is uncovered only for watering. The pitches for this series have received their fair bit of attention after Trent Bridge proved to be slow and low and Lord's brought the home team a loss even after they got their ideal seaming conditions and the first use of the surface. Trent Bridge even earned a poor rating from the match referee David Boon.

If Trent Bridge and Lord's are two ends of a scale, Gray believes his pitch is somewhere in the middle but leaning towards Lord's. "It will be a pretty good pitch," Gray said. "It has a bit of grass on it and will have good pace and bounce. A good international pitch. Grass is there but there but it isn't oceans of grass."

Gray is not too much into lengths of grass, but the mower right now is set at around 10mm. It will be trimmed later, but Gray is not sure to what height. Trent Bridge, by comparison, had 8mm three days before the Test, which was to be cut down to 6mm. Gray believes there is more to it than just the height.

"I am not one so much for the height of the grass," Gray said. "I go for the feel. We do check the height once in a while and whilst it is interesting it doesn't make the entire difference to what a pitch is like. There are other factors like how dense the grass is, how green it is. This has got some green on it." He expects the ball to seam around but not alarmingly.

Gray was later seen in conversation with Alastair Cook and Peter Moores, but he does not need any instructions. Asked if he was told by England what to give them, he said he knew England wanted English conditions, and that is what he will strive to provide. The heat - with highs going over 30 degrees and no rain expected anytime soon - remains a challenge.

Has there been any change in what England might want after they lost at Lord's in pretty English conditions? "Not as far as I am aware," Gray said.

Sidharth Monga is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Nampally on July 24, 2014, 20:34 GMT

    The Summer in England is unusually hot with temperatures close to 30 C. So even if the grounds man prepares a pitch with 8 mm of grass, the moisture content of the pitch will be grossly reduced from Day 1 to Day 5. The spinners will certainly have a better chance from day 4 while the Seam bowlers will dominate the first 4 days. But it all depends upon the tactics used by the 2 teams. Even on a dead pitch on Day 5 at Lords, using the short pitched bowling proved fatal for England. I do not expect the pitch will have the final say assuming it is half way between Trent Bridge & lords pitches. It will be the team that exploits the conditions to their advantage. I expect India to go in with 2 spinners & 3 pace bowlers. England will stay with their 4 seamers + 1 spinner. If England is to put up a better show, Cook & Bell have to perform. India needs Kohli & Pujara to put up big score in addition to those already performing. Players Form will decide the result NOT the overhyped Pitch!

  • RK.Chandru on July 27, 2014, 3:39 GMT

    Is Dhoni trying to protect an out of form Virat from the wrath of fans and the media? Why is he going to for an additional batsman when the side is already packed with seven able players (in fact, 8 if one considers Bhuvi too). It's unfair to drop Stuart who saved the side from blushes with his 70+ knock, without giving a fairly long run. The same goes good in the case of Jaddu too then. Barring his one knock, he too hasn't done anything (apart from being a street fighter) noteworthy to retain his place. He has bowled more overs than even the specialist producing a paltry returns. Binny seems to be more organised a batsman than Jaddu who's only living on his luck rather than any methodical appraoach. Dhoni's liking towards a few players has always prevailed more than any wisdom. It's the bowlers who are overworked and hence if at all there's any change, it's only wise to go in for an extra bowler and not another batsman. I'd even take a chance by dropping Kohli for Varun or Pankaj

  • timohyj on July 26, 2014, 14:14 GMT

    Ashwin needs to come on because Jadeja is not good enough to be India's only spinner in a test match. Jadeja is so one-dinemsional in his bowling, and he can't say that the surfaces were completely unhelpful. I can't believe he didn't get any of England's left handers out in the second innings at Lords with all the rough he had outside their off stump. Also, I wonder if Pankaj or Ishwar Pandey could do a better job than Shami as both of them have better seam positions. Shami is ideal for reverse swinging conditions, but we won't get any of that in England.

  • on July 26, 2014, 13:42 GMT

    I like that the Curator is upfront about preparing conditions for the English side. The home side will naturally want favorable conditions, and thats how it should be. Those who think its unfair remember the toss still has to take place and for all you know Indian bowlers could get first use of the pitch, if they don't then do what they did at Lord's, it is after all the toughest format of the game, expect no favors.

    If anything after Lord's the English side would like the spinner to not come into play at all not even on the 5th day and the bounce stay even throughout. India will probably retain Dhawan, but I would like Shami to be rested one of the three uncapped seamser, preferrably Aaron, to be given a go. He is the fastest bowler India has produced for a long while and I would like to see how he performs in seam friendly conditions. He can be erratic so that will have to be taken into account, but Shami needs to sit this one out, he has been poor.

  • ShanNachimuthu on July 26, 2014, 13:18 GMT

    Considering the hot English summer and the 3rd & 4th day pitch conditions in last two matches, India does not need a fourth seamer. Had it been Ashwin instead of Binny in those matches it could have been bit more interesting. Also the form of Bhuvi ( both bowling & batting ) and Ishant encourages to go for Ashwin, in place of Binny. Rather than looking for a batsman to score additional 24 runs ( That's what I believe Rohit would score. Also I expect Ashwin would score more that him, say 36 ) go for a spinner, who can strike and make the opposition to score 100 runs lesser. Shami is disappointing, but as the pace combo as whole doing well I would like leave this as it is. Ashwin in place of Binny would be more appropriate than Rohit. Both MSD and Virat should fire to extend the lead in this series. Dhawan continue to be aggressive like the way he was in the 2nd innings last test match. Expected a fight back from England and Cook. Go India Go!!!

  • GRVJPR on July 26, 2014, 6:43 GMT

    What a joke, Heat waves in England?? Fact of the matter is that England was humiliated on green track at Lords and now they don't have guts to prepare another green track. So they are going for flat track so that their flat track bullies can score some easy runs. India has already won this series for me since they have forces the host nation to change pitches. If green track - India winning easily ( becoz of better batsmen and accurate pace attack), if dry track - India winning easily again (Indian spinner much better than english trundlers).

  • cktspirit on July 25, 2014, 18:06 GMT

    I think it will helps tear away pacers more than seamers. Given it could dryup and help spinners on Day 4 and 5, I'd have Gambhir for Dhawan and Varun for Binny.

  • Alberteinstien on July 25, 2014, 14:45 GMT

    If India play 11batsman i.e. Dhawan murli gambhir pujara Kohli Rahane binny Ashwin dhoni Jadeja Bhuvi in upcoming three matches then result will be draw. India 1st inning 450(1.5 days) England 1st inning 500 (against Bhuvi binny jadeja and ashwin in 2days).Now India with 11 batsman will not get all out in 1.5 days.Even if they get allout England will not be able to chase 300 runs in 1 or max. 2 sessions.

  • Alberteinstien on July 25, 2014, 14:28 GMT

    Play Ashwin in place of Dhawan and Pankaj in place of binny.Ashwin is a better opener than Dhawan. Had Dhawan batted in no. 8 he would not even averaged even 20.Batting at no.8 is harmful to career average.Had don bradman batted at no.8 he would have scored 0,20,60,30notout,40notout instead of 0,20,60,150and 250 which was his general trend.In first case he would have averaged 150/3 =50 In 2nd case(batting at no.3) he would have averaged 480/5=96.Some people think that not out scores increases the average but actualy its opposite of that. When you get set and you are not able to complete the innings than your career average decreases.

  • namakkalsekar on July 25, 2014, 13:52 GMT

    Gone were the days of spinners from India winning matches. In England, Chandra, Venkat, Bedi and Prasanna were successful. Present day Indian spinners lack flight , guile and the loop and hence they are unlikely to succeed unless the pitch helps. Pankaj should replace Binny.

  • Nampally on July 24, 2014, 20:34 GMT

    The Summer in England is unusually hot with temperatures close to 30 C. So even if the grounds man prepares a pitch with 8 mm of grass, the moisture content of the pitch will be grossly reduced from Day 1 to Day 5. The spinners will certainly have a better chance from day 4 while the Seam bowlers will dominate the first 4 days. But it all depends upon the tactics used by the 2 teams. Even on a dead pitch on Day 5 at Lords, using the short pitched bowling proved fatal for England. I do not expect the pitch will have the final say assuming it is half way between Trent Bridge & lords pitches. It will be the team that exploits the conditions to their advantage. I expect India to go in with 2 spinners & 3 pace bowlers. England will stay with their 4 seamers + 1 spinner. If England is to put up a better show, Cook & Bell have to perform. India needs Kohli & Pujara to put up big score in addition to those already performing. Players Form will decide the result NOT the overhyped Pitch!

  • RK.Chandru on July 27, 2014, 3:39 GMT

    Is Dhoni trying to protect an out of form Virat from the wrath of fans and the media? Why is he going to for an additional batsman when the side is already packed with seven able players (in fact, 8 if one considers Bhuvi too). It's unfair to drop Stuart who saved the side from blushes with his 70+ knock, without giving a fairly long run. The same goes good in the case of Jaddu too then. Barring his one knock, he too hasn't done anything (apart from being a street fighter) noteworthy to retain his place. He has bowled more overs than even the specialist producing a paltry returns. Binny seems to be more organised a batsman than Jaddu who's only living on his luck rather than any methodical appraoach. Dhoni's liking towards a few players has always prevailed more than any wisdom. It's the bowlers who are overworked and hence if at all there's any change, it's only wise to go in for an extra bowler and not another batsman. I'd even take a chance by dropping Kohli for Varun or Pankaj

  • timohyj on July 26, 2014, 14:14 GMT

    Ashwin needs to come on because Jadeja is not good enough to be India's only spinner in a test match. Jadeja is so one-dinemsional in his bowling, and he can't say that the surfaces were completely unhelpful. I can't believe he didn't get any of England's left handers out in the second innings at Lords with all the rough he had outside their off stump. Also, I wonder if Pankaj or Ishwar Pandey could do a better job than Shami as both of them have better seam positions. Shami is ideal for reverse swinging conditions, but we won't get any of that in England.

  • on July 26, 2014, 13:42 GMT

    I like that the Curator is upfront about preparing conditions for the English side. The home side will naturally want favorable conditions, and thats how it should be. Those who think its unfair remember the toss still has to take place and for all you know Indian bowlers could get first use of the pitch, if they don't then do what they did at Lord's, it is after all the toughest format of the game, expect no favors.

    If anything after Lord's the English side would like the spinner to not come into play at all not even on the 5th day and the bounce stay even throughout. India will probably retain Dhawan, but I would like Shami to be rested one of the three uncapped seamser, preferrably Aaron, to be given a go. He is the fastest bowler India has produced for a long while and I would like to see how he performs in seam friendly conditions. He can be erratic so that will have to be taken into account, but Shami needs to sit this one out, he has been poor.

  • ShanNachimuthu on July 26, 2014, 13:18 GMT

    Considering the hot English summer and the 3rd & 4th day pitch conditions in last two matches, India does not need a fourth seamer. Had it been Ashwin instead of Binny in those matches it could have been bit more interesting. Also the form of Bhuvi ( both bowling & batting ) and Ishant encourages to go for Ashwin, in place of Binny. Rather than looking for a batsman to score additional 24 runs ( That's what I believe Rohit would score. Also I expect Ashwin would score more that him, say 36 ) go for a spinner, who can strike and make the opposition to score 100 runs lesser. Shami is disappointing, but as the pace combo as whole doing well I would like leave this as it is. Ashwin in place of Binny would be more appropriate than Rohit. Both MSD and Virat should fire to extend the lead in this series. Dhawan continue to be aggressive like the way he was in the 2nd innings last test match. Expected a fight back from England and Cook. Go India Go!!!

  • GRVJPR on July 26, 2014, 6:43 GMT

    What a joke, Heat waves in England?? Fact of the matter is that England was humiliated on green track at Lords and now they don't have guts to prepare another green track. So they are going for flat track so that their flat track bullies can score some easy runs. India has already won this series for me since they have forces the host nation to change pitches. If green track - India winning easily ( becoz of better batsmen and accurate pace attack), if dry track - India winning easily again (Indian spinner much better than english trundlers).

  • cktspirit on July 25, 2014, 18:06 GMT

    I think it will helps tear away pacers more than seamers. Given it could dryup and help spinners on Day 4 and 5, I'd have Gambhir for Dhawan and Varun for Binny.

  • Alberteinstien on July 25, 2014, 14:45 GMT

    If India play 11batsman i.e. Dhawan murli gambhir pujara Kohli Rahane binny Ashwin dhoni Jadeja Bhuvi in upcoming three matches then result will be draw. India 1st inning 450(1.5 days) England 1st inning 500 (against Bhuvi binny jadeja and ashwin in 2days).Now India with 11 batsman will not get all out in 1.5 days.Even if they get allout England will not be able to chase 300 runs in 1 or max. 2 sessions.

  • Alberteinstien on July 25, 2014, 14:28 GMT

    Play Ashwin in place of Dhawan and Pankaj in place of binny.Ashwin is a better opener than Dhawan. Had Dhawan batted in no. 8 he would not even averaged even 20.Batting at no.8 is harmful to career average.Had don bradman batted at no.8 he would have scored 0,20,60,30notout,40notout instead of 0,20,60,150and 250 which was his general trend.In first case he would have averaged 150/3 =50 In 2nd case(batting at no.3) he would have averaged 480/5=96.Some people think that not out scores increases the average but actualy its opposite of that. When you get set and you are not able to complete the innings than your career average decreases.

  • namakkalsekar on July 25, 2014, 13:52 GMT

    Gone were the days of spinners from India winning matches. In England, Chandra, Venkat, Bedi and Prasanna were successful. Present day Indian spinners lack flight , guile and the loop and hence they are unlikely to succeed unless the pitch helps. Pankaj should replace Binny.

  • Night.angel on July 25, 2014, 12:31 GMT

    So many people are disillusioned here. When was the last time spinners from Ind take a 5-wicket scalp in the overseas test match. Other day, I saw BishenBedi took 6 wickets @ expense of 150+ runs and 50+ overs in England.

    Even in the last tours in SA,NZ,ENG, it was fast bowlers who took majority (90%) of wickets. In the last test Jadeja got a lucky wicket of Sam Robson, otherwise he wasn't convincing at all. At best what he can do is tie up one end.

    Remember people, spinners won't win u matches in England. In 2011, Harbajan, Mishra all got hammered. This time, Jadeja took 2 wickets from two tests. And, do u really expect Ashwin can work his magic in Eng. Dream on.

    I predict, both Jadeja and Ashwin will get 2 wickets combined in coming test, if they are playing. And Ind will lose.

    If Ind need a win, they need 4 fast bowlers to exploit the condition. Include pankaj in place of Binny.

    Dhawan,Vijay,puj,kohli,rahane,jadeja,dhoni,Bhuvi,shami,ishant,pankaj

  • Speng on July 25, 2014, 12:14 GMT

    The Bowl is a nice surface I think. I watched an Eng/Aus ODI there in 2010 and it was quick and bouncy but lots of runs were scored (Eoin Morgan got a century) and England won.

    Surprised it hasn't gotten more international matches (1 Test, 17 ODI in over 10 years) but it's kinda in the middle of nowhere as it's relatively far from Southampton proper and not easy to get to even if you live nearby.

  • on July 25, 2014, 11:28 GMT

    My Best wishes for Mahi and Team for 3rd coming up Test

  • electric_loco_WAP4 on July 25, 2014, 11:26 GMT

    A v wise move to have nice grass covering aided by bounce,carry.And of course swing subject to o/head.Which Eng will much welcome as they look to bounce back with big W.Will help their far superior attack take 20 cheap Ind W.Also exploit Ind's weaknesses.

  • Jalz007 on July 25, 2014, 11:10 GMT

    Grass or no grass, the batsmen must watch & must know which ball to defend & which ball to leave...it boils to patience, technique & temperament.....Ideal situation for the likes of Rahane, Dhawan, Kohli & Pujara to establish themselves (if not now then when?) & prove that they are quality international batsmen!!!!

  • on July 25, 2014, 10:28 GMT

    Let's hope for another absolute green pitch so that we would see the excellence of Bhuvi yet again.

  • on July 25, 2014, 10:22 GMT

    @cricketfan11111- Yes, I agree with ur point abt bowlers but I like to watch shots played by batsmen more than bowlers taking wickets.. Everybody has their personal likings right? No doubt abt bowlers makes test cricket interesting but I love batting more.. As I myself was a batsman in my school cricket team and scored 19 centuries for my school.. Couldn't continue bcz of family problems.. That's why I love batting more than bowling..

  • R_U_4_REAL_NICK on July 25, 2014, 10:21 GMT

    What does it say on the yellow bucket in the photo there - is it "RAIN" in a bucket?

    Word this morning is that the pitch is looking good and is "ready".

  • on July 25, 2014, 10:02 GMT

    @mzm149 dude you're way too optimistic about England's chances

  • madras_boy on July 25, 2014, 9:54 GMT

    Finally, i am seeing comments that is not asking Vijay to be rested !!! Also glad people are not asking for Rohit to replace Vijay. If Badrinath was given chances like Rohit, he would have been playing like Dravid in our test team ! Poor fellow. Rohit can be tried instead of Virat. Team should be VJ, GG, CP, RS, AR, MSD, RJ, SB/RA, BK, MS and IS

  • mzm149 on July 25, 2014, 9:38 GMT

    Indians have won just a test match, not the series. Their fans should come down to earth now. It was just one bad game for England. They will definitely win the series.

  • streetblader on July 25, 2014, 9:36 GMT

    I believe Rohit Sharma deserves a chance here at the expense of Binny. It is a given that Gambhir will not get a chance under Dhoni's captaincy for sure, so RS looks like the only one who might/should get in. In any other plane of thought, both Gambhir and Rohit ought to replace Dhawan and Binny.

  • TATTUs on July 25, 2014, 9:32 GMT

    Heat wave? LOL! I guess England should think for a while now before criticizing Sub continental pitches.

  • on July 25, 2014, 9:14 GMT

    @wapuser sorry to hear our comments; England not playing up to the potential is no excuse for their lame show over the last two test matches. Similar allegations and excuses were given by Indians in 2011 when Indians had a disastrous tour. I know its a hard pill to swallow however, a bit of appreciation for efforts put by the Indians to win the match would be deeply appreciated. Again, India won not because England played poorly, India won because India made England play poorly.

  • ladycricfan on July 25, 2014, 9:10 GMT

    @Arun Bose, without good bowlers even the test match will turn into boundary galore. It is the contest between bat and ball makes batsmen's every scoring shot special. Bowlers's skill and the way they work batsmen out is just as interesting as the batsmen scoring runs against them.

  • crazycricfan007 on July 25, 2014, 9:08 GMT

    Have 2 spinners. This time it will not be green as lords (flat track with bounce) and our pacers struggle on flat track. Spin is after all our strength and Dhoni wants to play five bowlers. Replace Binny with Ashwin. This will allow our pacers to stay fresh on flat track.

  • on July 25, 2014, 9:07 GMT

    Expecting no changes.. a slight possibility could be another fast bowler say Ishwar pandey for binny. This gives dhoni the option to attack with Ishant sharma

  • ladycricfan on July 25, 2014, 8:52 GMT

    Binny was chosen as a fifth bowler who can bat. But from what we have seen so far Binny is a better batman than a bowler. Binny can't be persisted with for his batting while better batsmen Rohit and Gambhir are warming the bench. If they want to keep the 5 bowler strategy Binny should be replaced by Ashwin or Aaron/Pandey. If only one spinner it should be Ashwin, not Jadeja.

    Best XI: Vijay, Dhawan, Pujara, Kohli, Rahane, Ashwin, Dhoni, Jadeja, Bhuvi, Shami, Ishant.

    9 good batsmen. Shami can also swing his bat. 5 good bowlers. 3 part time bowlers in Kohli, Vijay and Dhawan. If top order falls early Bhuvi can be promoted ahead of Jadeja.

  • on July 25, 2014, 8:23 GMT

    I think India should immediately include Rohit Sharma in playing 11. No point in keeping the most important batsman out for so long time. Cse Rohit is now settled batsman in Indian side. Specially in ODIs Rohit is performing well and it is verymuch clear that Rohit will be opening in next years WC. Rohit should play in third test. It is good for him as well as for team India. If we analise his performance in SA & NZ, we finds his performance better & better as time went. Rohit played brillient 68 in NZ first test & played 31* in 2nd test saved India. Plus we all know Rohit played brillientely in last years CT in English conditions. As an opener he handled worlds top most pace attack verwell in swinging conditions. Now India tried Binny in first two test. Binny bowled only few overs. So its definately better to give chance to Rohit in place of Binny. Rojit is also a part time off spinner. Vijay too got wicket in seacond test. So Rohit will the handy option for team India. ATB India

  • on July 25, 2014, 8:22 GMT

    For me, Test match always comes first, I am a big fan of IPL too but it isn't exciting and gripping like a test match..The kind of shots even defensive ones are so pleasing to watch in Test cricket rather than those wild slogs we see in T20..Yeah, It looks good when they score boundaries and sixes more often in T20s but when a splendid cover drive or a straight drive or an on- drives comes out in a Test match after long period of time, It just looks majestic.. I love test cricket and I would never want it to die and players like Amla, Cook, Pujara, Clarke, Sangakkara, Younis Khan, Chanderpaul and many more makes it absolutely fun to watch test cricket...My sincere request to cricket fans around the globe is please never let it die.. I didn't mentioned any bowlers..Sorry, But I love batting more than bowling.. Batsmen are like officers in this game and bowlers are more like labours.. Batting looks more attractive, Atleast to me.. You're free to agree or disagree.. :-)

  • rhome on July 25, 2014, 7:59 GMT

    To have the right bowling stocks is the key to winning a test match. For example, 100 - 120 overs are to be bowled to get all the wickets. In case of 4 bowler strategy, if there is one spinner in the team, he will bowl 35 to 45 overs in an innings. So the remaining 60 to 70 overs are shared between 3 pacers which is a big work load on the pacers. If the 5th bowler is a spinner, 2 spinners together will share again 50 to 60 oversmax, if the pitch doesnt respond. fo a lively pitch, you will want a pacer to bowl most. So the ideal 5th bowler is a pacer, an for India it should be Aaron / Pandey

  • on July 25, 2014, 7:38 GMT

    Even after t20,love test matches. just enjoying each delivery like opening wrapped gifts.

  • on July 25, 2014, 7:36 GMT

    @Arun: Your views are absolutely spot on. Dhawan will definitely score, given some time. Also, Cook can be back, I saw some signs of a turn around in his batting in the second innings. However, the mental pressure may bind him down.

  • cric_J on July 25, 2014, 7:36 GMT

    England will have 1 change for certain- Buttler for Prior. I don't see Stokes retaining his place after being ordinary with the ball & failing to reach double figures in 3 out of 3 inngs with the bat. Though I personally would have preferred Finn, they'll get Jordan in as he'll be a more like-for-like replacement.

    Also, England absolutely NEED to reshuffle their batting order. Ballance has done superbly at 3, but for a young lad he's had to take up a lot of pressure which has forced him to look too defensive & tentative. With Cook, Robson & Ballance, all largely backfoot players & accumulators, England's top 3 look a bit too cautious. IMO Bell will be the best foil as no.3 to Cook/Robson, so I'd get him up at 3. Root has easily looked the best of the lot. So I'd have him up at 4 & Ballance at 5 followed by Moeen, Buttler & the bowlers.

    Having said all this, whatever wicket England get, whatever 11 they select & whichever order they play in, they're gonna have to play really well.

  • cric_J on July 25, 2014, 7:31 GMT

    Going by this report, we may see a very good test wicket come Sunday. A wicket which offers everything- seam, swing, pace, bounce, spin - will keep all 11 players from both sides in the game & may well make for some absorbing viewing.

    I won't be surprised if India go unchanged & I see them making no more than 2 changes. Of course, there are plenty of changes they COULD make. But I don't think they WOULD.

    Shikhar has looked largely out of sorts in all of his 4 inngs. Maybe India should keep him in for one more test. But I'm 65-35 inclined to have Gambhir in for him. Another change, unlikely I feel, could be Rohit for Binny. Yet another change, even more unlikely, could be Ashwin coming in. And the only way Ashwin could come in is for Shami. And then, Aaron for Shami ? I don't think so.

    But you never know with MS.

  • prudhvirazz on July 25, 2014, 7:10 GMT

    another green pitch. that's why I love test matches.

  • on July 25, 2014, 6:57 GMT

    If ever Kohli wanted to get back to form then it's at the Ageas bowl as it's a great batting wicket with good even bounces are for Dhawan as the ball comes on great. Personally think England are doomed as India seem to be out playing them in all areas

  • on July 25, 2014, 6:41 GMT

    Ifs ! And buts ! We have had enough of it. Accept the realities as exist now, and deal with them. It applies to both the teams.

    Some facts: Cook, Bell, & Kohli are totally out of form. Confining to India alone for a moment: Dhawan finds it difficult to adopt the kind of patience which Vijay displayed. But, it is hard to choose between Dhawan and Gauti; both of them have similar tendencies to give away their wickets because of their impetuosity. Dhoni, it seems, does not have confidence in Binny. Dhoni is not a great Test match batsmen, though he is the best finisher for the short formats. Dhoni will not be disturbed from Captaincy at least till the next 50-50 World Cup is over.These are facts as of now. (Of course, these can change, and I do hope so)

    So, within the existing realities, at least for India, it looks the only change is to replace Binny with one of the three options mentioned in an earlier post: Ashwin, Rohit, or Saha... for reasons mentioned therein.

  • on July 25, 2014, 6:35 GMT

    As mentioned in this article, England are again taking it easy just before the most important match of this series for them, If they lose this one then they have no chance of winning this series and only India had to play really bad to draw this series.. But India is practicing hard even after being 1 up in the series but England is not even practicing..It shows the state of mind they are in right now.. One must appreciate Cook for his eagerness to come back to form, He's trying hard in the nets but form doesn't come back in the nets...Only when you play in the middle and score some meaningful runs only then it comes back..He's a class player, I have no doubt abt his talent, 25 test hundreds doesn't come just like that..His mental state is not clear as he has extra pressure to captain the side..And when your head is messed up, You can't bat freely.. Relieve him of captaincy and you will see good old Cook is back..

  • on July 25, 2014, 6:18 GMT

    If Binny is NOT going to be used, why waste a slot in the playing XI. Replace him with any one of the following options. Also, don't demoralize Binny any further.

    (a)Ashwin (if you want some genuine offspin against the many left-handers), or

    (b)Rohit (if you want to strengthen the batting and use his part-time spin), or

    (c)Saha (to keep wicket better ... catch better... and minimize byes)

  • on July 25, 2014, 6:08 GMT

    Even if India plays as good n hard as they have till now,one should remember that the game changed on its heels only on the final afternoon up until where England gave a befitting reply in each of the previous innings(even in the first test).Therefore,I don't see an easy win for either teams,unless one of them relaxes!If either of these teams relax or blink owing to complacency (India) or lack of confidence/self doubt/apprehension etc (for England),then its game over for that particular team.Though some have been sarcastic about India and England,..to say that these are two evenly matched teams with problems is not such an exaggeration.They do have problems,but improve they will. And any way,can anyone vouch that the highest ranked teams (or a team on a winning roll)would win the next match they play with absolute certainty?In cricket,I don't think so.The way these both fought hard,mean real hard!,would exhaust anyone, it augurs well for both irrespective of a win/lose.Good luck then!

  • on July 25, 2014, 6:07 GMT

    My India XI Gambhir,M Vijay ,Pujara,Kohli ,Dhoni (No Choice ) Rahane ,Rohit/Ashwin (depends on tactics) Jadeja ,Pankaj/Aaron ,Bhuvi,Ishant

  • on July 25, 2014, 6:07 GMT

    If anyone watched Dhoni's interview during presentation of last match, He mentioned abt Ashwin so there is 98% chance that he's going to be in the team for the next match in place of binny as he didn't gave him a single over in 2nd innings, Clearly he's not happy with him..So, Ashwin is in the team for next match for sure.. Rohit shouldn't be given any chance bcz he throws his wicket away even when he's in prime form(Unusual in International cricket).. Varun Aaron has the gift of pace but he doesn't have the control ala Shaun Tait.. Bowlers with pace and no control becomes passengers in short period of time so he's not in my team atleast... Only one change is required and that's Ashwin in place of Binny.. Dhawan should be given one more chance otherwise Gambhir should be considered for Old trafford test.. My team:- Dhawan, Vijay, Pujara, Kohli, Rahane, Dhoni, Ashwin, Sir Ji(Jadeja), Bhuvi, Shami, Lambu(Ishant)... Pankaj singh or Ishwar Pandey or both must be considered after this test.

  • WalkingWicket11 on July 25, 2014, 5:45 GMT

    @wapuser, you make a very good point: if England had played less poorly, they would have won. I guess you could take that even further and make a similar analysis for India as well. If Kohli and Pujara had scored big hundreds, India would have got a huge first innings lead. If Dhoni had held on to catches, England would have made a much lesser score. On England's previous tour to India, if the Indian batsmen had played spin as well as they normally do, a crappy bowler like Panesar wouldn't have been so successful there, and England would have lost 3-0 or 4-0. If the Indian senior players on 2011 tour had scored big hundreds, they wouldn't have lost that series 4-0 (they might have still lost it 2-1 though). You see, you should be more generous with your 'Ifs', don't just pick and choose the ones that support your point.

  • Qa_ankit on July 25, 2014, 5:38 GMT

    To be very frank, if its a green track then India has a better chance of winning then normal pitches. Obviously here we are not gonna get Spin Dusty tracks. So i think our bowlers will be quite happy with that. If India win the toss and bowl on green track, then they are up for something from where they can't lose the series.

  • on July 25, 2014, 5:35 GMT

    Green pitches don't help england now India has good bowlers and good batting so i mean england losing by 3 or 4 nil this series gud luck to them

  • koolsid80 on July 25, 2014, 5:24 GMT

    I would like Indian XI to be as follows:

    1) G. Gambhir 2) M. Vijay 3) C. Pujara 4) V. Kohli 5) A. Rahane 6) M. Dhoni 7) R. Jadeja 8) R. Ashwin 9) B. Kumar 10) I Sharma 11) M. Shami

    I know I want 2 spinners. i.e. because of the heat, the pitch will dry up quickly and will also be roughed up. Also there are a lot of lefties in the English side. Also Binny is hardly given a ball, so might well use Ashwin.

    If India wants to play 7 batsmen then I think Gambhir should open and Dhawan should be at 6, around the time the 2nd new ball is due. I do not think Rohit Sharma is good enough to play in English conditions.He has scored 167 runs in 8 innings outside India at an average of 23.85 runs with just 1 half century. Dhawan on the other hand has 370 from 12 innings outside India at an average of 30.83, that too as an opener.

  • on July 25, 2014, 5:24 GMT

    why don't they give varun Aaron a go? he s a genuinely quick bowler and England have so far struggled against the Indian quickies ... if we take out binny we still have 8 proper batsmen including bhuvi.... binny has hardly made his presence felt and I don't think he can make a big impact in the coming games as well whereas aaron can maximize India s potency with the ball

  • cesar12345 on July 25, 2014, 5:21 GMT

    guys post your playing IX for the 3rd test MY:dhawan(last chance),vijay,pujara,rahane,kohli,rohit,MSD,RJ,bhuvi,shami,ishant

  • jimbond on July 25, 2014, 4:50 GMT

    For India, it makes sense to replace Binny by Rohit Sharma. Gambhir vs Dhawan is also a ploy worth considering. The limited number of overs that Binny is bowling now can well be bowled by Sharma, and Sharma is a slightly better bowler than Vijay. Given the limited success for spin bowlers it will be tough for India to play both Jadeja and Ashwin and given his ability to keep things tight at one end, Jadeja may be preferred here. On wickets predicted to aid swing bowlers, India may benefit by playing an additional batsman. If the innings fold fast as at Lords, shortage of a fifth bowler may not hurt the teams. And from an Indian perspective they should use their middle order talent of Pujara, Rahane, Kohli and Sharma together whenever they get the opportunity. It gives them a psychological edge over opposing teams.

  • on July 25, 2014, 4:48 GMT

    If "ifs" and "buts" were pastries and nuts we all would be having merry christmas.. So, English fans stop using ifs and buts bcz it isn't helping ur team.. Actions on the field decides which team is better and which team deserves to win.. @Rizvi- India didn't said to England to play awefully so stop that nonsense already.. Don't be jealous, Try to be sportive no matter what.. It's good that It's a green wicket again, Sporting pitches are best for test cricket as it gives both teams an edge over each other..

  • on July 25, 2014, 4:46 GMT

    I am sure Dhoni will keep the same team even though everyone is crying out for Ashwin in place of Binny. Very conservative Test match captain hence the record.

  • on July 25, 2014, 4:25 GMT

    digging holes is not a bad thing, infact every home country does just get advantage of condition, but make sure u dont fall into it as it happned at lords...

  • fairfan70 on July 25, 2014, 4:22 GMT

    Both teams are on even scale as they approach 3rd test. Neither has a significant advantage over the other. For each of Cook's failures, India has Virat Kohli failing. For each Bell's failures, India's second opener has not performed to the expected level. Where as English bowlers have been getting wickets evenly between them (good sign), for India it has mainly been Bhuvi (not so good) except in 2nd innings of 2nd test. Cook's conservative captaincy is similar to Dhoni's. Unless India plays another reasonably good seamer, say Pankaj Singh, English seam attack will easily be superior to that of India's. England's wicket keeper may now be better than India's Dhoni who has been performing poorly behind the stumps. All in all, both teams look even with slight advantage to England, unless India corrects its team selection issues.

  • Realistic_cri_fan on July 25, 2014, 4:21 GMT

    If the wicket is green, I am pretty sure that England will win the toss.Don't ask me how?

  • on July 25, 2014, 4:20 GMT

    Replace Dhawan with Gambhir, Kohli with Rohit Sharma. If Stuart Binny is not going to bowl then better to go with Ashwin who is both a decent bowler and batsman. I did love to see one of aaron, pandey or singh play in place of Ishant but that is not going to ever happen so heck with that.

  • on July 25, 2014, 3:49 GMT

    @wapsuer, you've got to get real first.. all that you've said from Broad to Moeen, its not India asked english to do so, after winning the toss no one will bowl that short on a 1st day green wicket.. if its a mistake by english strategy accept and move on. India did play well and executed their plans better that England in the test, give credit where it is due. Im not saying that India is all set to win the series they have won only a test. Stop saying what if that what if this and England could have won India if they have played half the well they usually do. Only when u starting accpeting mistakes u will improve and see results, i wish good luck to both teams to provide another cracking test match.

  • on July 25, 2014, 3:36 GMT

    Another Green wicket!! we all know the result is going to be, dont we :)

  • IndianSRTfan on July 25, 2014, 3:27 GMT

    @JustIPL: "When india can survive by leaving....why english batsmen cannot survive just the bouncers" Perhaps they took your advice where you say you don't blame them going for their shots as it was best that they did it in face of Ishant's "predictable military (medium) one type of deliveries"?

  • Sexysteven on July 25, 2014, 2:33 GMT

    I hope this pitch is agood one I'm sick of seeing low and slow wickets everywhere these agood wicket should have pace and bounce something for fast bowlers at the start something for the spinners by the end and good batsmen can get runs on it if they have good technique slow and low roads don't do it for there needs to be a contest between bat and ball where techniques are tested where the average player will be found wanting but the good and great players can still score runs therefore you find the better team usually wins mind you I'm not sure who the better team is out of India or England not convinced by both teams yet hopefully the next three tests will determine who is the better team

  • on July 25, 2014, 1:22 GMT

    India have a history of going one up in a series and losing the advantage. It has happened a few times in the past . If India is expecting to get an easy draw or a win from this next game- they would be expecting too much. In SA they came close to winning the first test match were on top on first day of second test match and then lost their few . Going back a few years same thing with Adelaide after the Dravid-Laxman heroics and then MCG ..first day advantage sqaundered. Same thing in SA when Sreesanth put them ahead. Really now upto Duncan Fletcher and MS Dhoni to stay on top now that they are on top . If they do all the things they did at Lord they should be atleast be able to salvage a draw. If they go in with the expectation of drawing the game they will come out second.

  • JustIPL on July 25, 2014, 1:20 GMT

    Whatever be the pitch england have to bowl the good areas and bat by leaving alone the bouncers. I still don't criticize england tail of falling trap to the ishant bouncers as ishant was too predictable bowling only the one type of deliveries and it was best to hit his military pace to run through the target before the new ball is due. When india can survive by leaving the wider deliveries then why english batsmen cannot survive just the bouncers

  • on July 25, 2014, 0:36 GMT

    Wickets which keep the balls low and and pace slow produce dull / boring cricket, often leading to draws. It hurts spectator interest and the collections.

    It is the pitches with uneven and unpredictable bounce, which are dangerous, to the physical welfare of the players. That is what the referrers should be more concerned about.

  • on July 25, 2014, 0:35 GMT

    M.vijay started playing like a proper batsman, as long as he bats like that he will be boost to team. With likes of young batting trio ( in the past it was sachin, Dravid, and special man) but now ( world no 1(VK), pujaara & rahane), with sir in between the batting and bowling with likes of bhuvi's swing , shami's peace under a great leader nation's PRIDE man King of the kings SPARTON warrior it's not going to be easy for England team on any wicket in any ground.

  • on July 25, 2014, 0:25 GMT

    Gray wicket is a green wicket! Interesting! Folklore says, Grey is India's fovourite colour and green is for England; when it comes to the pitches. Trying to please both? A man who tries to please both his wife and lover often gets into a tangle :-)

    Jokes apart, when two teams are evenly matched, it doesn't matter; what colour it takes, how long the grass is, or how hot/cold the weather is. But, don't get referee red in the face. It shows up in his post match report. Then that red will show up on the faces of the men who matter at Hampshire. No, Gray?

    As Cricketfan 11111 says, at the moment India seems to be playing better than England, pushing conditions to the back-burner. However Lady Luck in cricket is like a moody girlfriend; no one can predict her with full confidence. So let's all wait and look forward to an absorbing test match.

  • on July 24, 2014, 21:33 GMT

    currently indians are more confident than english team, no matter how the pitch will be.

  • indianzen on July 24, 2014, 20:53 GMT

    At the moment, Indians look unstoppable... Swing or spin, we have enough to pluck out 20 wickets...

  • on July 24, 2014, 20:44 GMT

    Thanks curator for giving us the pitch like this... It improves our confidence for playing the remainder of the series and also in Australia...

  • Eclipse0990 on July 24, 2014, 20:41 GMT

    @Cricketfan11111: toss does matter for India. It didn't at lords because of English bowlers' line which was wide of off stump. Maybe they came with assessment that Indian batsmen are weak outside off stump with moving deliveries.

  • on July 24, 2014, 20:41 GMT

    @cricketfan1111 Get back to earth, unfortunately yes the Indian team looks good but even if this English side was playing even half the well they usually play in those conditions, India would be buried alive like they were being done from previous 15 abroad tests. Broad and Anderson bowl short and dont swing, Prior drops catches, Moeen replaces Swanny as spinner and batsmen offer wickets to Ishant Sharma's long-hops than what do you expect? Currently even if a Bangladeshi test team tours England, they may not lose by more than 20 runs maybe.

  • muzika_tchaikovskogo on July 24, 2014, 20:30 GMT

    Let's hope for another lively wicket like the one at Lord's

  • ladycricfan on July 24, 2014, 19:57 GMT

    It does not matter for India what type of pitch is prepared. If it is seaming india has the bowlers. If it has bounce india has the bowlers. If the weather assists swing india got the bowlers. Spinning pitches, never a problem for india. Batsman are doing marvellously in alien conditions. Even the toss does not seem to affect India's chances.

  • ladycricfan on July 24, 2014, 19:39 GMT

    If the pitch is same as Lords it will be another exciting test match.

  • Eclipse0990 on July 24, 2014, 18:38 GMT

    I hope the pitch remains the same as Lord's except for the uneven bounce which had players in danger of getting injured. This time around though, England might have learnt the lesson and if they put India in first on a grassy pitch, they'd go for the kill. But if they lose the toss, then it might even be game over for them given their state of mind. I'd say England should've called upon Onions and Tremlett and had Finn and Anderson. This would weaken the lower order batting but the bowling would get heaps better. India should look to play Ashwin and Rohit as they both can bat and that's what they need right now. It's high time Rohit was tested in english pitches. A big first innings total from India would put England on back foot. India as of now hold the edge with 1-0 lead. But never count out Cook and co. One wrong move from India and England be back in the game with all guns blazing.

  • Eclipse0990 on July 24, 2014, 18:38 GMT

    I hope the pitch remains the same as Lord's except for the uneven bounce which had players in danger of getting injured. This time around though, England might have learnt the lesson and if they put India in first on a grassy pitch, they'd go for the kill. But if they lose the toss, then it might even be game over for them given their state of mind. I'd say England should've called upon Onions and Tremlett and had Finn and Anderson. This would weaken the lower order batting but the bowling would get heaps better. India should look to play Ashwin and Rohit as they both can bat and that's what they need right now. It's high time Rohit was tested in english pitches. A big first innings total from India would put England on back foot. India as of now hold the edge with 1-0 lead. But never count out Cook and co. One wrong move from India and England be back in the game with all guns blazing.

  • ladycricfan on July 24, 2014, 19:39 GMT

    If the pitch is same as Lords it will be another exciting test match.

  • ladycricfan on July 24, 2014, 19:57 GMT

    It does not matter for India what type of pitch is prepared. If it is seaming india has the bowlers. If it has bounce india has the bowlers. If the weather assists swing india got the bowlers. Spinning pitches, never a problem for india. Batsman are doing marvellously in alien conditions. Even the toss does not seem to affect India's chances.

  • muzika_tchaikovskogo on July 24, 2014, 20:30 GMT

    Let's hope for another lively wicket like the one at Lord's

  • on July 24, 2014, 20:41 GMT

    @cricketfan1111 Get back to earth, unfortunately yes the Indian team looks good but even if this English side was playing even half the well they usually play in those conditions, India would be buried alive like they were being done from previous 15 abroad tests. Broad and Anderson bowl short and dont swing, Prior drops catches, Moeen replaces Swanny as spinner and batsmen offer wickets to Ishant Sharma's long-hops than what do you expect? Currently even if a Bangladeshi test team tours England, they may not lose by more than 20 runs maybe.

  • Eclipse0990 on July 24, 2014, 20:41 GMT

    @Cricketfan11111: toss does matter for India. It didn't at lords because of English bowlers' line which was wide of off stump. Maybe they came with assessment that Indian batsmen are weak outside off stump with moving deliveries.

  • on July 24, 2014, 20:44 GMT

    Thanks curator for giving us the pitch like this... It improves our confidence for playing the remainder of the series and also in Australia...

  • indianzen on July 24, 2014, 20:53 GMT

    At the moment, Indians look unstoppable... Swing or spin, we have enough to pluck out 20 wickets...

  • on July 24, 2014, 21:33 GMT

    currently indians are more confident than english team, no matter how the pitch will be.

  • on July 25, 2014, 0:25 GMT

    Gray wicket is a green wicket! Interesting! Folklore says, Grey is India's fovourite colour and green is for England; when it comes to the pitches. Trying to please both? A man who tries to please both his wife and lover often gets into a tangle :-)

    Jokes apart, when two teams are evenly matched, it doesn't matter; what colour it takes, how long the grass is, or how hot/cold the weather is. But, don't get referee red in the face. It shows up in his post match report. Then that red will show up on the faces of the men who matter at Hampshire. No, Gray?

    As Cricketfan 11111 says, at the moment India seems to be playing better than England, pushing conditions to the back-burner. However Lady Luck in cricket is like a moody girlfriend; no one can predict her with full confidence. So let's all wait and look forward to an absorbing test match.