India v England, 3rd Test, Kolkata December 4, 2012

India under pressure amid pitch spin

83

Match Facts

December 5-9, Eden Gardens
Start time 9am (0330GMT)

The Big Picture

It has been a strange old few days between Test matches. Much of the talk has been about an 83-year-old groundsman and the 22 yards he is in charge of. MS Dhoni wants another pitch with spin and bounce - qualities that brought his side's downfall in Mumbai - and predictions for the surface have seemingly covered all bases. England, meanwhile, have sat back, enjoyed a few days off in Mumbai, done some charity work and worked hard in getting a key fast bowler fit.

The two results in this series - India's nine-wicket win and England's ten-wicket success - were of such convincing margins in opposite directions that it makes it difficult to really know where each team sits against each other. Yet such was the turnaround performed by England last week that the prospect of a first series win in India since 1984-85 is now a realistic ambition.

A link between the two results is that they have been achieved with a small collection of outstanding performances. In Ahmedabad it was largely Virender Sehwag, Cheteshwar Pujara and Pragyan Ojha. In Mumbai the matchwinners were Alastair Cook, Kevin Pietersen, Monty Panesar and Graeme Swann. While some individuals have been outstanding, both teams have also carried a number of players.

For England, pressure will be on the Warwickshire pair of Jonathan Trott and Ian Bell (should the latter return) to supplement Cook and Pietersen. Then, of course, there is Sachin Tendulkar. Nobody really knows what he is thinking about the future - it is all rumour and hearsay - but the bottom line is that he has averaged 22.83 this year. It's an intriguing subplot in a fascinating series.

Form guide

(Last five matches, most recent first)

India LWWWL
England WLLDL

Watch out for...

Virat Kohli is the latest golden boy of Indian cricket. His form over the last 12 months has been outstanding, but after two lean Tests it will be interesting to see how he responds. While there was not much he could do about the ripper from Graeme Swann that dismissed him in the first Test, he played two poor shots in Mumbai, the second a horrid, inexplicable, miscuing of a full toss to mid-off. There is no doubting his talent; he will score thousands of runs, but right now perhaps he needs a little more circumspection.

So far in this series the only sign of proper pace bowling has been from Umesh Yadav who is now injured. Steven Finn is more than capable of matching him and if, as seems likely, he is recalled he will also have three weeks of pent-up frustration to unleash. That can be a double-edged sword, though, and as part of a two-man pace attack he will have to ensure he does not spray the ball around. Still, if there is any bounce in the pitch Finn will be able to find it.

Team news

There are a couple of issues in the India camp. Harbhajan Singh is suffering from flu and did not train on Tuesday, but the likelihood was a return to two quicks so it should be a straight swap for Ishant Sharma. Yuvraj Singh took a blow on the hand during training, but the early indications were that it was not too serious. There has been debate about his place in the side, however with a return to two frontline quicks and two frontline spinners, Yuvraj's part-time option could be useful.

India (probable) 1 Gautam Gambhir, 2 Virender Sehwag, 3 Cheteshwar Pujara, 4 Sachin Tendulkar, 5 Virat Kohli, 6 Yuvraj Singh, 7 MS Dhoni (capt. & wk), 8 R Ashwin, 9 Zaheer Khan, 10 Ishant Sharma, 11 Pragyan Ojha

There are two changes likely for England despite victory in Mumbai. Finn is fully recovered from his thigh strain, and all indications are that he will replace the struggling Stuart Broad as the visitors attempt to spice up their pace attack. Bell, meanwhile, has returned from paternity leave, and is likely to replace Jonny Bairstow although there is a chance both could play and Samit Patel miss out.

England (probable) 1 Alastair Cook (capt.), 2 Nick Compton, 3 Jonathan Trott, 4 Kevin Pietersen, 5 Ian Bell, 6 Samit Patel/Jonny Bairstow, 7 Matt Prior (wk), 8 Graeme Swann, 9 James Anderson, 10 Steven Finn, 11 Monty Panesar

Pitch and conditions

The pitches have filled plenty of column inches in this series. The only certainty seems to be that it remains 22 yards long. "I don't think there will be much help for the spinners initially," Dhoni said. Perhaps more significantly is the location of this match. Kolkata is much further east and the daylight hours are short. Play will start at 9am, and both teams have agreed to use floodlights if needed although the forecast is for plenty of sunshine.

Stats and trivia

  • If Stuart Broad does miss out it will be first time he has been left out for tactical reasons (as opposed to injury or rotation) since the Chennai Test in 2008-09

  • In their last three Tests at Eden Gardens, India have declared their first innings at scores of 631 for 7, 643 for 6 and 616 for 5.

  • India and England have played nine times at the venue. England have won once, in 1977, while the most recent contest in 1993 was an eight-wicket win for India where England's leading wicket-taker was Graeme Hick.

Quotes

"We should still stick to turning tracks. That's what our strength is. That's what home advantage means. It's not like when Australia play in Australia or when England play in England, they win all the games. Still they stick to the kind of speciality they have got. It's the same for subcontinental teams."
MS Dhoni sticks to a familiar theme

"It's disappointing he's missed two games, but it's great that he's back and we've got some tough selection meetings ahead of us. But as a captain and as a coach, that's what you want. You want people pushing for places."
Alastair Cook on having Steven Finn available again

Andrew McGlashan is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • JG2704 on December 5, 2012, 8:40 GMT

    @IndiaRulesEverybody on (December 05 2012, 00:14 AM GMT) Funny how folk notice our SA import contribution when we succeed. How do you know an English born and bred player would not have succeeded where the SA player(s) succeeded ? It's all pure supposition. BTW in test cricket you need 20 wickets to win and I don't remember any of our bowlers in recent years coming from anywhere outside of the UK. And re the last test KP succeeded what happened to Trott in that one? OK you can say no Eng player would have done what KP did but by the same token they would unlikely have done as badly as Trott

  • Zeshan547 on December 5, 2012, 3:58 GMT

    it will be one hell of a match, just watch and wait guys!

  • mikey76 on December 5, 2012, 3:07 GMT

    I wish Cook could win a toss soon. Will have to do this the hard way again!

  • BlindDrs on December 5, 2012, 2:51 GMT

    If cook and kp don't get favorable decision from umpires, then India will definitely win this match!

  • The_bowlers_Holding on December 5, 2012, 2:16 GMT

    YorkshirePudding on (December 04 2012, 18:10 PM GMT) I couldn't agree more, post the series in England all our links have been swamped with bitter snipes from the trolling minority. Personally I dreaded their rather unsavoury 'revenge' coming true if I am honest, and the trillions of derogatorand vitriolic posts. Now England have won a test and posted 2 decent scores out of 3, anything else is a bonus and the using a scuffed old pitch for a test match just seems rather depreciating to test cricket.

  • on December 5, 2012, 2:06 GMT

    I think Sachin should drop down to No.5 and give Rahane an opportunity at no.4 instead of giving Yuvraj prolonged chances

  • on December 5, 2012, 1:58 GMT

    this match is going to be interesting, i wanted india to win mumbai test but i was not disappointed with the result, that was the reality check for team india now they and we all know where they stand.

    i don't know if some one is going to agree with me or not, but dhoni should be sacked and dropped from test team, cant say same about sachin, that man has earned so much respect in his career that it feels bad to say that he should call his day asap or start performing.

    and this series was never a revenge.. if team india want a revenge then go and beat england in england.

    best of luck to both the teams

  • jimbond on December 5, 2012, 1:57 GMT

    England have a real dilemma of selection. It is very difficult to drop either of Broad or Bell- both proven players and match winners. For the long term future of the team, I would persist with them, because on their day, they can take the match away from the other team.

    India have already shot themselves in the leg by selecting the 15 member team. There is no cover for a middle order batsman. The extra batsmen- Rahane and Vijay both prefer the top of the order, and Vijay's recent performances do not justify his presence in the team. At least on Indian pitches- the Jadejas and the Tiwari's are not good enough. Hence, despite doubts about his fitness, Yuvraj will play. Ishant is not good enough to bowl on a flat pitch, and Dinda is slightly worse. I would have been happier with someone like Aaron, or Munaf as cover- are they injured?

  • on December 5, 2012, 1:49 GMT

    @ Stormy16, how can you say this is next best thing to Aus V SA, don't you know that no 2 is playing no 5, so can you kindly explain next best thing.

  • maidenshazza on December 5, 2012, 1:44 GMT

    I must agree with "talkcric.com" England are no mugs, they can sense a historic series victory, and good luck to them. As an Indian cricket fan, it breaks my heart with the closed mindedness of the Indian selectors and MSD. Whinging about pitches, holding onto dead wood instead of giving the youngsters a chance, arrogantly standing in the way of the DRS. How long can they have it all their own way??

  • JG2704 on December 5, 2012, 8:40 GMT

    @IndiaRulesEverybody on (December 05 2012, 00:14 AM GMT) Funny how folk notice our SA import contribution when we succeed. How do you know an English born and bred player would not have succeeded where the SA player(s) succeeded ? It's all pure supposition. BTW in test cricket you need 20 wickets to win and I don't remember any of our bowlers in recent years coming from anywhere outside of the UK. And re the last test KP succeeded what happened to Trott in that one? OK you can say no Eng player would have done what KP did but by the same token they would unlikely have done as badly as Trott

  • Zeshan547 on December 5, 2012, 3:58 GMT

    it will be one hell of a match, just watch and wait guys!

  • mikey76 on December 5, 2012, 3:07 GMT

    I wish Cook could win a toss soon. Will have to do this the hard way again!

  • BlindDrs on December 5, 2012, 2:51 GMT

    If cook and kp don't get favorable decision from umpires, then India will definitely win this match!

  • The_bowlers_Holding on December 5, 2012, 2:16 GMT

    YorkshirePudding on (December 04 2012, 18:10 PM GMT) I couldn't agree more, post the series in England all our links have been swamped with bitter snipes from the trolling minority. Personally I dreaded their rather unsavoury 'revenge' coming true if I am honest, and the trillions of derogatorand vitriolic posts. Now England have won a test and posted 2 decent scores out of 3, anything else is a bonus and the using a scuffed old pitch for a test match just seems rather depreciating to test cricket.

  • on December 5, 2012, 2:06 GMT

    I think Sachin should drop down to No.5 and give Rahane an opportunity at no.4 instead of giving Yuvraj prolonged chances

  • on December 5, 2012, 1:58 GMT

    this match is going to be interesting, i wanted india to win mumbai test but i was not disappointed with the result, that was the reality check for team india now they and we all know where they stand.

    i don't know if some one is going to agree with me or not, but dhoni should be sacked and dropped from test team, cant say same about sachin, that man has earned so much respect in his career that it feels bad to say that he should call his day asap or start performing.

    and this series was never a revenge.. if team india want a revenge then go and beat england in england.

    best of luck to both the teams

  • jimbond on December 5, 2012, 1:57 GMT

    England have a real dilemma of selection. It is very difficult to drop either of Broad or Bell- both proven players and match winners. For the long term future of the team, I would persist with them, because on their day, they can take the match away from the other team.

    India have already shot themselves in the leg by selecting the 15 member team. There is no cover for a middle order batsman. The extra batsmen- Rahane and Vijay both prefer the top of the order, and Vijay's recent performances do not justify his presence in the team. At least on Indian pitches- the Jadejas and the Tiwari's are not good enough. Hence, despite doubts about his fitness, Yuvraj will play. Ishant is not good enough to bowl on a flat pitch, and Dinda is slightly worse. I would have been happier with someone like Aaron, or Munaf as cover- are they injured?

  • on December 5, 2012, 1:49 GMT

    @ Stormy16, how can you say this is next best thing to Aus V SA, don't you know that no 2 is playing no 5, so can you kindly explain next best thing.

  • maidenshazza on December 5, 2012, 1:44 GMT

    I must agree with "talkcric.com" England are no mugs, they can sense a historic series victory, and good luck to them. As an Indian cricket fan, it breaks my heart with the closed mindedness of the Indian selectors and MSD. Whinging about pitches, holding onto dead wood instead of giving the youngsters a chance, arrogantly standing in the way of the DRS. How long can they have it all their own way??

  • Orienteer on December 5, 2012, 1:38 GMT

    I think that as India have already won two tosses so far that they should call "edge" and give both heads and tails to England. That would be a sporting gesture.

  • on December 5, 2012, 1:37 GMT

    @clarke501 on (December 04 2012, 15:36 PM GMT) You said:

    ..."Perhaps 'head groundsman' would have been more respectful but at least plain 'groundsman' makes it clear to every reader what his responsibility is. Curators are usually found in museums."

    1. "Curator" is his title, and that is it. I know the CEO of one company has given himself the title "Head Worker". That does not mean that, we should all call him just a "worker". Of course he does work. And readers would know that he works.

    2. Any one who follows cricket, knows that the "head groundsmen" you referred to are mostly titled "Curators". Those who are not aware of it should be in museums. A Phd is known Dr. So & so. You can't say, that doctors are only physicians.

    3. Using your logic, McGlashan should be called a "Writer", because that is what he does (at least in this piece. He didn't "edit" an article written by any one else.

    P.S. Anyway, McGlashan owes you a dinner, for your nice attempt to defend him. Cheers.

  • landl47 on December 5, 2012, 1:35 GMT

    The difference between the first test and the second was simple: Monty Panesar. That was by a long way the best I have seen him bowl and if he continues to bowl that way Dhoni might be asking for a seaming pitch for the 4th test.

  • Orienteer on December 5, 2012, 1:34 GMT

    Regarding "Kolkata is much further east and the daylight hours are short" - I'm willing to be corrected but I thought that day length was all about latitude not longitude!

  • on December 5, 2012, 1:12 GMT

    @James C Birbeck Dar on (December 04 2012, 19:24 PM GMT) You said:

    "Swann, Andersin Finn and Panesar is a long tail, but they can't do much worse than the tail in Mumbai" ...

    A glass half empty is also a glass half full. These four are England's best bet to get 20 Indian wickets in the match starting today. Bowlers who can take 20 , win matches. Batsmen who can get daddys and big daddys, more often than not , ensure draws, or save a match. At least, these four look far more potent than the Indian bowlers. Being an Indian, I wish I am wrong.

  • Sheela on December 5, 2012, 1:08 GMT

    The one basic fact is that when opposing batsmen try to dominate, Dhon's captaincy fails, as Dhoni sets fields which neither saves runs nor wicket taking. To win a Test match team as to take all 20 wickets of opposition and also score ru uns at a desirable pace to give the bowlers a chance to bowl out the opposition. Set batsmen should aim to paly long successful innings.

  • on December 5, 2012, 1:06 GMT

    I will be keen to note how many times Finn 'hits' the stumps - I mean he knocks down the stumps while arriving at the bowling crease!

  • Capt.Harry on December 5, 2012, 0:55 GMT

    The series is leveled at one apiece.Come on guys stop all this conspirating and postulating about spin, pace, selections, SRT retirement,venues, india's bowling attack and all other possible reasoning etc..etc..just sit back and enjoy test cricket at it's very best please...!!!! besides just by the tone you can tell that most comments come from spectators rather real cricket players who know that one day you lose and the other you win ....that is the reality of life....England played good and won the game.. let us see will unfold in this test ....enjoy

  • Sanaullah_Chowdhury on December 5, 2012, 0:31 GMT

    Big test for India and Sachin. If Sachin bat badly and India lose then it may be the end of his career.

  • nicholashodson on December 5, 2012, 0:29 GMT

    So I seem to be the longitude and latitude nerd of the group. Last (english) summer someone commented (during a bad light stopped play period) that we should play test matches in Rome (ie further south). Irritatingly, I pointed out that during the summerthe sun actually sets earlier in Rome than it does in Manchester.

    So here I am again -- this preview says "Kolkata is much further east and the daylight hours are short...". What has the longitude got to do with the amount of daylight?

    Kolkata is East of Mumbai and they are in the same time zone (I just checked that), so the sun rises earlier and sets earlier (on the clock) but the time between sunrise and sunset is set by the latitude.

    For the record, Kolkata is about 1800 km east of Mumbai but only about 400 km North. If I had more time I would find out how long daylight is in both places tomorrow. Anyway, good luck to England!

  • India_Rules_Everybody on December 5, 2012, 0:14 GMT

    @YorkshirePudding: England have already faced a far bigger humiliation when they lost the Ashes 5-0 in '06. Bet you are enjoying the fleeting moments when your team is not playing substandard cricket only made possible from the South African players in the 'English' team. Very shameful.

  • JG2704 on December 4, 2012, 23:53 GMT

    @rhtdm302 on (December 04 2012, 15:06 PM GMT) Why even bother commenting on it then?. If it's that boring surely you have better things to do? Maybe not

  • JG2704 on December 4, 2012, 23:52 GMT

    Not sure us Eng fans should be getting too excited.While a great response in Mumbai we still have probs.Cook's form has been incredible, KP's inns was decent ,Prior has looked good and Compton promising but the middle order has not convinced and I worry what may happen if Cook fails and whether it could be like Australia when Clarke/Hussey fail?On the plus side we can also hope that our other guys are due scores etc.In the last Ashes Aus came back to level the series winning by an inns after losing by an inns and then lost the next 2 heavily.I'm sure it'll be a good toss to win.I wouldn't mind Tredwell getting a game as part of a 3 man spin attack if the pitch is similar , either in place of Broad if they play 4 bowlers or if they want to be really bold in place of Patel with Finn or Onions for Broad. If they go with 6 bats I'd prob stay with the same. If you're to change a winning line up it has to be a change which will definintely add to the side. Not sure Bell would add anything

  • heathrf1974 on December 4, 2012, 23:44 GMT

    Really looking forward to this test match. Are England the real deal and is India continuing to decline or are they back on the up?

  • Cpt.Meanster on December 4, 2012, 23:36 GMT

    India to win this one. Kolkata is India's fortress. The toss wouldn't matter to India as much as it will to England. India have won most of their games in the last 2 years after losing the toss. It all comes down to how England bat in their first innings. Kolkata will have ZERO bounce in the wicket. It's always been a slow turner and very much like Ahmedabad. These are traditional Indian conditions which India enjoy. England need to score at least 400 if they are to escape a defeat. India on the other hand need to bowl much better. No more off days for Ashwin any more in this series. It's time he walks the talk. Expecting a good game.

  • Meety on December 4, 2012, 23:15 GMT

    @ iluvtest on (December 04 2012, 14:58 PM GMT) - Oz pitches are affected by weather conditions NOT politics or opposition. IF Oz were doctoting pitches - how does the WACA fit into that conspiracy theory? It was a dead track when India won, & almost a blast from the past when Sth Africa dominated the other day. How does it explain Hobart, where we gave NZ basically a NZ pitch? If India played on the recent Adelaide pitch, they would of been shot out under 200 both innings. The Gabba has suffered over the last 3 years due to unseasonally cool Novembers, the pitch doesn't get to bake, it will look Green (usually always does), but ends up being tacky. We certainly never "doctored" the pitches when the mighty WIndies rode into town. Oz pitches favour quality bowling of any type, that CANNOT be said of Indian pitches. Wire brushes anyone?

  • on December 4, 2012, 23:05 GMT

    rahane should be playing instead of yuvraj. let him show his telant. give him opertunity. also murali vijay will be better than sehwag let young generation to do something.

  • Nerk on December 4, 2012, 21:39 GMT

    The last test showed how close these teams are. The battle of the spinners will be intriguing, and may decide the match. I expect five days of tough cricket, with all three results a possibility.

  • mikey76 on December 4, 2012, 21:12 GMT

    @Jose Puliampatta. In England "curators" are referred to as groundsmen. Its not a slight against your 83yr old friend. Take a chill pill and relax. Lets hope for another Cook/Pietersen masterpiece, and some fireworks from Finn.

  • hhillbumper on December 4, 2012, 21:10 GMT

    lets hope there is some good quality cricket and see what happens at the end of it all

  • indirockz on December 4, 2012, 20:56 GMT

    Can we stop about 4-0 bashing and counter prediction of 3-1 and all and just enjoy the game as it comes? Past is gone and future no one knows so why not just take one game at a time and hope for the best?

  • Nampally on December 4, 2012, 20:37 GMT

    Andrew, In the team news you mention that Yuvraj took a blow on his hand & the indications are it is not too serious. Did India called up a back up player like Jadeja who is a similar left handed all rounder like Yuvraj? If they did it will be a big boost for India because Jadeja is in top form after his triple century & will bring lot of confidence to the depressed Team India - a batsman Panesar did not bowl to in Mumbai.

  • on December 4, 2012, 20:08 GMT

    Kolkata is the only ground where dhoni has test centuries in India. Hope he scores one and silences his evergrowing critics.

  • R_U_4_REAL_NICK on December 4, 2012, 20:02 GMT

    @Whatsgoinoffoutthere (post on December 04 2012, 15:45 PM GMT): true, but what other numbers 9-11 are consistently tearing up the batting world in tests at the moment? Wickets taken for fewer runs are much more valuable in tests, and I think England have a much better chance at doing that with the likes of Panesar, Finn, Swann, Anderson... regardless of what other boxes they may or may not tick. Broad and Bresnan have offered nothing of note with the bat for quite some time, and Patel showed great promise in the warm-ups but has really disappointed in the real games to date.

  • on December 4, 2012, 19:59 GMT

    I think Yuvraj has to be dropped. Tendulkar can come in at No: 6 for the last few matches of his career.

  • talkcric.com on December 4, 2012, 19:27 GMT

    If India bat first it could be over in four days wih an historic victory for the English. India looked terrible in England last year and they have a poor poor bowling attack with little craft in the spin dept and lousy fast attack. England smell blood and they look like a team again.

  • on December 4, 2012, 19:24 GMT

    Swann, Andersin Finn and Panesar is a long tail, but they can't do much worse than the tail in Mumbai.

  • stormy16 on December 4, 2012, 19:09 GMT

    This is the nest best thing (after SA V Aus) in test cricket and I reckon it will be gloves off cricket from now on. India thought they were going to cruise to a series win by producing spin tracks which backfired badly. There is now no choice for India but to play all its cards. Obviously bringing in the Eng seamers to the game will be a problem (as we know) - the trick will be how to dismiss KP before he makes an impression on the game. For India its about runs and plenty of it, not something that was thought to be a problem before the series but the last test highlihgted a new issue. Dont need to hear this from me - Sachin needs to deliver, India are under siege and Sachin needs to come to the party. For Eng the key is Sewag (for a start) but if Sewag has an impact the game will get out of hand soon. Its all set for exciting cricket.

  • on December 4, 2012, 19:05 GMT

    Ashok Dinda should get a chance ahead of Ishant Sharma who is still not fully fit to represent India in a Test.

  • on December 4, 2012, 18:56 GMT

    India's Struggle Against Spin Will Continue !!!

  • SirViv1973 on December 4, 2012, 18:53 GMT

    @DC Laurie, I'm not an Indian and I haven't heard much about Proveen since he got Injured during the tour last year, but I would hazard a guess that because at home Ind's preferred bowling line up is 2 spinners and 2 seamers he is always likley to miss out. A lack of genuing seam bowling depth and credit for what he's done in the past means that Zaheer still has to be the first choice seamer. Praveen is a bit too similar to Zaheer quite short & skiddy and not very quick, which certainly isn't idea for a 2 man pace attack. Yadav has a bit of pace which is why he was in before he was injured & ishant although not the quickest is tall and far more likley to be able to abstract some bounce.

  • SirViv1973 on December 4, 2012, 18:38 GMT

    Eng appear to be in the acendency after the events in Mumbai. I think the first couple of days here may well determine who wins the series. Eng's batting remains the key for me. I thought before the series began if it fired Eng would win. You feel at some point Cook will miss out and if KP goes cheaply in the same inns then Eng will be under real pressure. You feel if Eng are going to win the series then either Compton, Trott or Bell will need to make a big score at some point. Still not sure Samit will be able to produce much and I may have been tempeted to stick Bairstow in at 6 as I think he is more likley to get a score & the need for samit as a bowling option isn't really there now as Monty & Swann will probably bowl around 70% of the overs.

  • deol84 on December 4, 2012, 18:23 GMT

    Its little hard to predict who is going to win it,technicaly england has superior bowling attack both spin and pace and probably better batting line up as well.55-45 infavour of england.

  • zarasibaat on December 4, 2012, 18:23 GMT

    Good time for England to win a series in India. They must drop Samit patel because he is not a test player niether he is a complete batsman nor bowler He is a utility player who is fit for T20 and ODI's. Include Bell in place of Samit and finn should be in for Broad. Winning the toss will be important team batting 1st will have a real advantage.

  • YorkshirePudding on December 4, 2012, 18:10 GMT

    @Rohanpatel.pst, maybe but at least English fans dont have to face a 4-0 humiliation. :).

    As long as England put up a credible performance like they have in 2 of the 3 completed innings, I'll be happy with the result.

  • ramses_13 on December 4, 2012, 18:09 GMT

    rahane should be given a chance to play ahead of yuvraj singh or virat kohli. if sachin's performance in this test will be poor the i guess he needs to retire voluntarily

  • Mitch1066 on December 4, 2012, 17:53 GMT

    Cook is in form of his life there no guarantee he going to fail plus even if he does others could deliver like kp or trott or even bell who frankly deserves rub of green to change a game. Cook trott kp prior bell are good batsmen . Compton too early to tell and lower batsmen add runs but when they preform then it works . I think England are good unit and shoud be treated as such! India sehwag gambhir doni are off pace mostly that new player looks good sachin past it kolhi shown promise

  • on December 4, 2012, 17:11 GMT

    Please, no Ishant Sharma. This is absurd, when Dinda is in such fine form. Note the dead pitches of domestic cricket where he had done so well last two seasons. Seems like India would lose this test. At least that will give selectors the guts to go to chop shop!

    About Dhoni- The Eden curator sums it up best: "It is the batsmen who scores runs and not the pitch" - classic!

  • SnowSnake on December 4, 2012, 17:05 GMT

    In one way it is good to see that Indian pitches provide result in every test match. India pretty much deserve the beating they are receiving in recent times. Even NZ was close to a win in previous series in India. In part, complacency is the problem for India. Dhoni thought that India is immune to spin. The complacency is creating problems both at home and abroad! I just hope that Pujara is not a few match wonder just like some of the other new guys have been (Rohit, Kohli, Raina, Yuvraj etc.).

  • on December 4, 2012, 17:04 GMT

    I will be a BORING DRAW ! i am sorry guys after defeating on 2nd test, if am not wrong indians will go for a batting friendly wicket. Because all the things went wrong on 2nd TEST CHEERS

  • BDforever on December 4, 2012, 16:17 GMT

    In some situations cricket is unpredictable. Among those predictable things we can still find something predictable. According to my prediction it's gonna be another defeat for India.

  • A_Yorkshire_Lad on December 4, 2012, 16:13 GMT

    @Nightwing32 - so , you're looking forward to the cricket but you'll only really enjoy it if England don't win , eh ? That's awfully decent of you , I must say ! Not ! At least you're being honest ! Well , one good turn deserves another , so I really REALLY hope that your cricketing enjoyment is severley curtailed over the next few weeks. Cheers !

  • on December 4, 2012, 16:09 GMT

    to rhtdm25 its very interesting compared too aus vs sa cause 632 is not so good if you wanna see the competition. its comletly one sided match.

  • on December 4, 2012, 16:07 GMT

    English spinners have shown their skills on sub-continent wickets.Now its time for their pace bowlers to exhibit their prowess.

  • BustIPL on December 4, 2012, 16:02 GMT

    For sure India should drop Ashwin. Even a wrist spinner of the level india currently have will not do as it is easier to score against them. England dont need to bolster the batting department as they already have very capable lower order. Furthermore, it is a batting pitch so no worries with batting and england should be able to score heavily. Fin can come for broad but then broad can come back for patel. I will like Bairstaw to retain his place and Bell can come back in the 4th test.Also Swann, panesar are upbeat and look fast to the opponents while indian spinners are too much dependent on the pitch to be of a certain kind etc. While India carry lot of dead weight england had few concerns about broad who should recuperate with rest he found after 2nd test.

  • DCLaurie on December 4, 2012, 16:00 GMT

    Do any Indian fans know what happened to Praveen Kumar? Why is he not even being considered? He was head and shoulders above the rest of the pace attack who came to England in 2011 and no mug with the bat either and yet Ishant Sharma's going straight in ahead of him, am I missing out on something here?

  • RedRoseMan on December 4, 2012, 15:51 GMT

    I think the toss will also be a major factor - as it should have been in the first two Tests. So far India has won what should have been two crucial tosses, but the series is 1-1. If England wins the toss it will be interesting to see if they can bat India out of the match - it is difficult to see this current Indian team batting long to save a match having been put under the hammer in the first innings.

    But ultimately I think Nampally has the crux of the issue - it rather depends on which England and which India turn up, just as it was in the SA-AUS series. SA were AWOL for long periods in the first and second Tests allowing a weak Australian team to seriously outperform - but they did enough (with some help from the weather) to keep the series all square. In the final Test SA really turned their game up and completely steam-rollered an even weaker Australian team - the match was more or less over as a contest by the close on the second day.

  • Whatsgoinoffoutthere on December 4, 2012, 15:45 GMT

    Hmmm... Anderson, Finn, Panesar. That's quite a long tail by today's standards.

  • Rohanpatel.pst on December 4, 2012, 15:44 GMT

    India is going to win. England is going down 3-1.

  • Nightwing32 on December 4, 2012, 15:43 GMT

    Since Ponting, Dravid and Laxman left, all the pressure is on Tendulkar even more. Anyway should be fun cricket even though I don't like seeing England win...they are playing well and Cook is just stepping up while Compton looks right. Then again you England does have Trott.

  • shayad on December 4, 2012, 15:38 GMT

    eng lineup

    A Cook,N Compton,J Trott,K Pietersen,I Bell,M Prior,T Bresnan,G Swann,J Andreson,S Finn,M Panesar

    ind lineup G Gambhir,V Sehwag(C),C Pujara,S Tendulkar,V Kohli,A Rahane,D Karthik,R Ashwin,Z Khan,I Sharma,P Ojha

  • Selassie-I on December 4, 2012, 15:38 GMT

    Really looking forward to this now! Good luck all round! Hoping for a result pitch again, Dhoni is very right in terms of not wanting a flat pitch that will undoutably be a draw.

    @liaqathussain on (December 04 2012, 14:26 PM GMT) Yadav is the quickest bowler in the world? so not Shaun Tait or shoaib akhtar then..

  • shillingsworth on December 4, 2012, 15:36 GMT

    @Jose Puliampatta - Perhaps 'head groundsman' would have been more respectful but at least plain 'groundsman' makes it clear to every reader what his responsibility is. Curators are usually found in museums.

  • Narbavi on December 4, 2012, 15:31 GMT

    @PhaniBhaskar24: Are u saying he purposely mentions the pitch everytime? No, its the reporters who pester him with the same old question, so he has to answer it!!

  • Secunderabadi on December 4, 2012, 15:30 GMT

    I have a strange feeling that Sachin will perform extremely well in this test and then announce Nagpur, Maharashtra to be his last venue for test cricket. People will then say he should have continued.

  • sawifan on December 4, 2012, 15:28 GMT

    as much as being an Aussie makes this hard to say, i think despite the 2 'margins of victory', ENG have been the better team, and would feel confident. I feel ENG's 2nd innings in the 1st test was much more like what they will produce this series. The 1st innings was more 'deer in the head lights' kind of stuff. Either way, it will be a close series, but i feel ENG definitely have the momentum if u include their 2nd innings to with the 2nd Test. Good luck both teams! And good luck SRT!

  • bumsonseats on December 4, 2012, 15:20 GMT

    all the talk i feel is a sham, in the end an old grounds man has had his 15 minutes of fame and its back to business as usual. what kind of wicket, well its self service dhoni can select his liking from the 3 prepared. were in the world do you get that option, perhaps he will wait till the toss then go for a wicket of his choice. in normal cases a groundsman has such pride in his work he covers it up so not to much sun get on it or in other countries not to much rain. he rolls it everyday if grass is growing he may give a cut but not the final cut as he will wait till the morning. when the toss is about to start he may meet the captains and hand his pride and joy by a shake of their hand. as he looks at it he may say its like a grandchild and he hopes it behaves and at the end of 5 days he will go and take back his wicket.what we will get is a used 4 day wickets scuff marks. with 360 overs give or take.what a dam sham, if there is a god let cook win the toss, they deserve it.

  • rhtdm302 on December 4, 2012, 15:06 GMT

    Compared To AUS vs SA, this series has been nothing but mediocre and boring, I wish it ends soon!

  • iluvtest on December 4, 2012, 14:58 GMT

    @jmcilhinney. Are you sure England and Australia are not preparing different pitches according to opponents? Just look at the recently concluded series in Australia.They certainly doctored the pitches to counter SA's deadly bowling and mostly negated the effect.When is the last time when the worlds top Fast bowler looked like nobody in Australia? Don't remember.It is the same with England.They prepare seaming wicket for sub continent teams and normal wicket for others. Is it just normal? I don't think so. But they may not be asking for it publicly but the result is same.

  • IcTP on December 4, 2012, 14:53 GMT

    @ Martin Atkin: What Gnasher means is that since Kolkata is nearer the Eastern corner of the country, the sun rises earlier in the day (by the clock, since the entire country is in the same time zone), that it would on the West coast, e.g. in Bombay/Mumbai. The sun sets earlier too, for the same reason, and the post-tea sessions can get a bit gloomy at the Eden Gardens, especially in December.

  • myStraightTalk on December 4, 2012, 14:52 GMT

    Who is the indian vice captain? Lets groom him since Dhoni is on the decline...

  • wiseshah on December 4, 2012, 14:48 GMT

    Stop crying for pitch, that customly made for indian spinner, try to play in any situation, sop giving poor excuses, even in turning pitches monty and swann will be more effective than u

  • on December 4, 2012, 14:31 GMT

    Gnasher, my geography is pretty hazy, but I'm pretty sure it's Kolkata's location in the N-S axis, not the E-W axis, that dictates the length of its days.

  • liaqathussain on December 4, 2012, 14:26 GMT

    silly article that suggest finn can match yadev for pace,, i think its the other way round, if not finn is much quciker then yadev and by far the quickest bowler in world cricket today, to match his up with umesh is disgracefull,

  • Nampally on December 4, 2012, 14:24 GMT

    After 2 lopsided decisions- one on each side- it is indeed difficult to judge which is the better side.In the 3rd test, both sides will be cautious knowing that each side can win if there is a slightest sign of exposed weakness. For England the 4 main players remain Cook, KP, Swann & Panesar & for India the 4 top players are still Sehwag, Pujara, Kohli, Ojha. India need one more bowler to rise to be winners. Personally, a right arm wrist spinner would have swung the match in India's favour.Dhoni needs improved moves- using all his bowlers, field placing & bowling changes. the Indian team is sleeping. Lack of production from Tendulkar, Dhoni,Yuvraj & Kohli (batting) & Ashwin + ZAK in bowling needs to be corrected. India cannot win with so many non performers. Dhoni needs to rally these players for intensity & grit.On England side Cook really rallied 4 guys to perform @ high level.I expect a keen battle with match going to Day 5.India should win if only the XI wakes up & plays hard!.

  • on December 4, 2012, 14:15 GMT

    @Anderw McGkashan. You said, "The prospect of a first series win in India since 1984-85 is now a realistic ambition." I fully agree with you. When I look at the form of ALL Indian batsmen (except the young man, Pujara), poor quality of the bowlers (except occasional good spells from Ojha), and the captain's idiosyncratic mindset piling more problems on his already poor caliber as a test batsman... Yes, I have to agree with you. Behind the wicket also, the captain had not been great shakes in recent months. But, as an India supporter, I would be delighted, if most of the Indian batsmen hit form. In that case, an Indian win of the series is on the cards.

  • on December 4, 2012, 14:02 GMT

    @Andrew McGlashan. The 83 year old is a "curator", and not a "groundsman". He has had dozens of groundsmen working for him for a couple of decades. Some of those groundsmen also had become curators in smaller centres. How would McGlashan like it, if he is referred to as a "writing clerk" and not an "Asst Editor" at ESPNcricinfo. (One of the local newspapers, I am involved with has a cadre called "writing clerks", consisting of fresh graduates with aspirations to become copywriters and editors, one day) One need to be a little bit more sensitive, when we refer to other professionals in general, and people of that vintage in particular.

  • kingcobra85 on December 4, 2012, 14:00 GMT

    I dont think India is under pressure. Cook is bound to fail atleast once. If he doesnt so does the England batting lineup.

  • 2.14istherunrate on December 4, 2012, 13:52 GMT

    It seems a while since Mumbai, and hopefully time for a bit of relaxation before the battle is rejoined. This seems a totally pivotal game in not just series terms but also in plotting the course of both sides in the wider world. A win for England will put the side firmly back on course, a loss for India will see them lost in mid table mediocrity, while the opposite for both will indicate England has much to do to regain former status, and India are managing to fulfil expectations at least. The advantage is slightly in England's favour after Mumbai and much could depend on the wicket, its pace and bounce. It matters less whjo makes the runs than the runs being made so if Cookie and KP want to step up again then please do;similarly Swann and Monty. Will Broad survive the chop against the run of opinion and will Patel get a third game. I think I hope Finn for SB and Bairstow for Patel but Morgan would do.

  • joseyesu on December 4, 2012, 13:51 GMT

    Though I prefer Ind to go with spinning track, I ponder that Is test match is about 2 players taking almost 95% wickets everytime. When looking at the SA side almost everybody's bowlers contribution in in limelight.

  • jmcilhinney on December 4, 2012, 13:50 GMT

    I've got no issue with Indian pitches spinning more than English or Australian tracks but Dhoni asking for pitches that turn big from day 1 is like England or Australia asking for pitches that seam on day 5. Firstly, England and Australia don't ask for pitches of any kind but rather just play on whatever the groundsmen prepare. Secondly, a pitch in England or Australia that still provides significant assistance to pace bowlers is very much not the norm. Spinners get more assistance late in the game in England and Australia than pacers do early in India.

  • jackiethepen on December 4, 2012, 13:30 GMT

    Selection will look carefully at fitness. Broad has looked very under-par and probably should not have played in the last Test after his virus. I know players will swear they are well enough but a virus should not be brushed aside. It has a way of causing fatigue. Bell returning from paternity leave has to adjust once again to heat and time difference. Flower will be able to judge whether he is match fit and should select accordingly. He'll play if fit because England need established players to counter pitch difficulties as well as Indian bowling. So far Bairstow and Patel have not impressed but one or the other will be selected unless Morgan is given a go. Decisions like this have to be made by watching players prepare. Humidity will play a role in Kolkata. Interesting that only 3 or 4 players on either side have performed well in these Tests. On paper India appear to have a strong batting line up. Kohli is a golden boy in ODIs. He has yet to adapt to Test cricket.

  • PhaniBhaskar24 on December 4, 2012, 13:26 GMT

    Oh Dhoni! can you speak something else apart from pitch.....Cook seems to be much bothered about team ( rightly so)and not pitch...though i am an indian, i really feel England should win this...then the real introspect would happen with selection board & hence the correct changes...mind all..india is a land with plenty of abilities

  • No featured comments at the moment.

  • PhaniBhaskar24 on December 4, 2012, 13:26 GMT

    Oh Dhoni! can you speak something else apart from pitch.....Cook seems to be much bothered about team ( rightly so)and not pitch...though i am an indian, i really feel England should win this...then the real introspect would happen with selection board & hence the correct changes...mind all..india is a land with plenty of abilities

  • jackiethepen on December 4, 2012, 13:30 GMT

    Selection will look carefully at fitness. Broad has looked very under-par and probably should not have played in the last Test after his virus. I know players will swear they are well enough but a virus should not be brushed aside. It has a way of causing fatigue. Bell returning from paternity leave has to adjust once again to heat and time difference. Flower will be able to judge whether he is match fit and should select accordingly. He'll play if fit because England need established players to counter pitch difficulties as well as Indian bowling. So far Bairstow and Patel have not impressed but one or the other will be selected unless Morgan is given a go. Decisions like this have to be made by watching players prepare. Humidity will play a role in Kolkata. Interesting that only 3 or 4 players on either side have performed well in these Tests. On paper India appear to have a strong batting line up. Kohli is a golden boy in ODIs. He has yet to adapt to Test cricket.

  • jmcilhinney on December 4, 2012, 13:50 GMT

    I've got no issue with Indian pitches spinning more than English or Australian tracks but Dhoni asking for pitches that turn big from day 1 is like England or Australia asking for pitches that seam on day 5. Firstly, England and Australia don't ask for pitches of any kind but rather just play on whatever the groundsmen prepare. Secondly, a pitch in England or Australia that still provides significant assistance to pace bowlers is very much not the norm. Spinners get more assistance late in the game in England and Australia than pacers do early in India.

  • joseyesu on December 4, 2012, 13:51 GMT

    Though I prefer Ind to go with spinning track, I ponder that Is test match is about 2 players taking almost 95% wickets everytime. When looking at the SA side almost everybody's bowlers contribution in in limelight.

  • 2.14istherunrate on December 4, 2012, 13:52 GMT

    It seems a while since Mumbai, and hopefully time for a bit of relaxation before the battle is rejoined. This seems a totally pivotal game in not just series terms but also in plotting the course of both sides in the wider world. A win for England will put the side firmly back on course, a loss for India will see them lost in mid table mediocrity, while the opposite for both will indicate England has much to do to regain former status, and India are managing to fulfil expectations at least. The advantage is slightly in England's favour after Mumbai and much could depend on the wicket, its pace and bounce. It matters less whjo makes the runs than the runs being made so if Cookie and KP want to step up again then please do;similarly Swann and Monty. Will Broad survive the chop against the run of opinion and will Patel get a third game. I think I hope Finn for SB and Bairstow for Patel but Morgan would do.

  • kingcobra85 on December 4, 2012, 14:00 GMT

    I dont think India is under pressure. Cook is bound to fail atleast once. If he doesnt so does the England batting lineup.

  • on December 4, 2012, 14:02 GMT

    @Andrew McGlashan. The 83 year old is a "curator", and not a "groundsman". He has had dozens of groundsmen working for him for a couple of decades. Some of those groundsmen also had become curators in smaller centres. How would McGlashan like it, if he is referred to as a "writing clerk" and not an "Asst Editor" at ESPNcricinfo. (One of the local newspapers, I am involved with has a cadre called "writing clerks", consisting of fresh graduates with aspirations to become copywriters and editors, one day) One need to be a little bit more sensitive, when we refer to other professionals in general, and people of that vintage in particular.

  • on December 4, 2012, 14:15 GMT

    @Anderw McGkashan. You said, "The prospect of a first series win in India since 1984-85 is now a realistic ambition." I fully agree with you. When I look at the form of ALL Indian batsmen (except the young man, Pujara), poor quality of the bowlers (except occasional good spells from Ojha), and the captain's idiosyncratic mindset piling more problems on his already poor caliber as a test batsman... Yes, I have to agree with you. Behind the wicket also, the captain had not been great shakes in recent months. But, as an India supporter, I would be delighted, if most of the Indian batsmen hit form. In that case, an Indian win of the series is on the cards.

  • Nampally on December 4, 2012, 14:24 GMT

    After 2 lopsided decisions- one on each side- it is indeed difficult to judge which is the better side.In the 3rd test, both sides will be cautious knowing that each side can win if there is a slightest sign of exposed weakness. For England the 4 main players remain Cook, KP, Swann & Panesar & for India the 4 top players are still Sehwag, Pujara, Kohli, Ojha. India need one more bowler to rise to be winners. Personally, a right arm wrist spinner would have swung the match in India's favour.Dhoni needs improved moves- using all his bowlers, field placing & bowling changes. the Indian team is sleeping. Lack of production from Tendulkar, Dhoni,Yuvraj & Kohli (batting) & Ashwin + ZAK in bowling needs to be corrected. India cannot win with so many non performers. Dhoni needs to rally these players for intensity & grit.On England side Cook really rallied 4 guys to perform @ high level.I expect a keen battle with match going to Day 5.India should win if only the XI wakes up & plays hard!.

  • liaqathussain on December 4, 2012, 14:26 GMT

    silly article that suggest finn can match yadev for pace,, i think its the other way round, if not finn is much quciker then yadev and by far the quickest bowler in world cricket today, to match his up with umesh is disgracefull,