India v England, 4th Test, Nagpur

Can brittle India stop England?

The Preview by Andrew McGlashan

December 12, 2012

Comments: 163 | Text size: A | A

Match Facts

December 13-17, Nagpur
Start time 9.30am (0400GMT)


Tim Bresnan celebrates an early wicket, Haryana v England XI, tour match, Ahmedabad, 2nd day, November 9, 2012
Tim Bresnan could be recalled by England if Steven Finn is ruled out of the final Test © AFP
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The Big Picture

This could be a momentous Test match. From England's point of view, a win or a draw would secure a series victory in India for the first time since 1984-85. For a new captain, Alastair Cook, that would be a herculean achievement, especially given the various issues he has had to deal with in the early months of his leadership.

Then there is India. It would be foolish to write them off despite the margins of defeat in the last two matches, but there is a feeling of significant change being on the horizon. Although a series-levelling win could buy key figures some time, (despite papering over cracks being dangerous) it is not inconceivable that a series loss will see the end of MS Dhoni as captain, the end of Sachin Tendulkar and the end of Duncan Fletcher as coach. That 'perfect storm' scenario is unlikely, but even the fact it warrants discussion highlights India's predicament.

As has been the case ahead of each Test in this series, the pitch has been the focus of much attention although, sadly for comedic effect, there hasn't been the sight of a groundsman being in the middle of a row. What do India think is best? England have shown over the last two matches that they are comfortable on a variety of surfaces. It was the slowest, lowest, pitch of series, in Ahmedabad, that caused them most problems.

It's a sign of the problems England have had in 2012 that defeat in this Test would make it the most losses they have suffered in a calendar year. However, some big lessons have been learned and there is a sense that the team is back on track. Finishing with a series win in India would be substantial proof of that.

Form guide

(Last five matches, most recent first)

India LLWWW
England WWLLD

Watch out for...

Test match No. 194 for Sachin Tendulkar. Could it be his last? Nobody knows what he is thinking about the future, but his powers are waning. There is a series against Australia next year, so maybe that will be time when he goes, but sooner rather than later the day will come for India. Does it need to be dragged out to a bitter end? This is not to say he can't score runs - he fought doggedly for his 76 in Kolkata - but this is not the Sachin Tendulkar who has entertained the world for more than two decades.

James Anderson produced one his finest overseas performances in Kolkata and even three wickets in each innings did not do justice to the skill he showed. He may well need a similar return in Nagpur and it is looking as though he'll have an even greater burden on his shoulders after the emergence of Steven Finn's injury. There is also the opportunity for one last duel with Tendulkar. The pair will not meet again at Test level.

Team news

There will be at least two changes for India after Zaheer Khan and Yuvraj Singh were dropped, but such is the state of chaos around the team it is not clear which way they'll go. It might be back to three frontline spinners, meaning a recall for Piyush Chawla, and Ajinkya Rahane, who averages 63.35 in first-class cricket, could debut at No. 6. The other options include Ravindra Jadeja as an allrounder at No. 6 with a balanced attack. Ashok Dinda and Parvinder Awana were both playing Ranji Trophy until yesterday so have not had much time with the squad.

India (possible) 1 Gautam Gambhir, 2 Virender Sehwag, 3 Cheteshwar Pujara, 4 Sachin Tendulkar, 5 Virat Kohli, 6 Ajinkya Rahane, 7 MS Dhoni (capt & wk), 8 R Ashwin, 9 Piyush Chawla, 10 Ishant Sharma, 11 Pragyan Ojha

England have been hit by a significant blow with Finn suffering a back injury, which makes him very doubtful. Stuart Broad is ruled out, so Tim Bresnan appears favourite to replace him, despite a poor year in Test cricket, although Graham Onions would also have a strong case. There are suggestions that Samit Patel's spot at No. 6 could go to Jonny Bairstow. Patel has not looked out of his depth, despite not converting starts into a substantial score, and it would be a harsh omission.

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

Pitch and conditions

"White and dry," was the basic description of the pitch on the eve of the Test. It had not been watered for two days so it will spin, the question is how much and how soon. The weather won't be an issue with daytime temperatures in the low 30s.

Stats and trivia

  • If Alastair Cook has another successful Test he could rise to the No. 1 batsman in Test cricket. England have not had the top-ranked batsman since Michael Vaughan in 2003.

  • Only three England batsmen have scored four hundreds in a series - Herbert Sutcliffe (twice), Wally Hammond and Denis Compton

  • Jason Krejza, the Australia offspinner, made his memorable (for right and wrong reasons) debut on this ground in 2008 ending with match figures of 12 for 358. Two years later, Dale Steyn took 7 for 51 after finding considerable reverse swing.

Quotes

"We have kept it really close, and the good thing is we are enjoying cricket, which at times you don't tend to do when you go through a rough patch. When it comes to dressing-room atmosphere, it's looking great."
MS Dhoni insists everything is fine off the field

"Everyone knows how important this game is, but as a player you've got to take that emotion out of it. We've got to continue on the same path. We know how hard we've worked over these last couple of games, and we've got to do it again."
Alastair Cook does what he does best. Keeps it simple

Andrew McGlashan is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

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© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Posted by mogs on (December 13, 2012, 11:27 GMT)

@BDforever : Who are Minnow's is it BD or India... Have you ever won a ODI / Test series.. We are world champions do not mess with us

Posted by bobmartin on (December 13, 2012, 10:14 GMT)

It really doesn't matter what the outcome of this final test is, the plain fact is that some Indians will need to reflect that perhaps they should take more care before making their pre-match predictions. ..... Revenge ? No... Whitewash ? No.... Tendulkar to the rescue ? No... England can't play spin ? Wrong.... England spinners are not as good as the Indian ones ?... Wrong.... Suggestion ?...Engage brain before opening mouth.

Posted by JG2704 on (December 13, 2012, 8:20 GMT)

@MuttaPasanga on (December 12 2012, 19:26 PM GMT) No it doesn't at all. It says "Can Brittle India Stop England?" which puts more of an emphasis on India's fragility. Surely even the most avid Indian fan can't really disagree with that?

Posted by crick50 on (December 13, 2012, 6:39 GMT)

@Aryan..huh.. GOD...who is god don't have your own definition if he don't retire himself soon the same person like you who portray him as god...will throw him llike dog......he is very good talented player.. as ages..one day he has to go...we will just cherish his era of play..if we keep seeing this lean patches for another year tendulkar of the past will be forgotten..lets enjoy cricket and cherish tendulkar era..time has come..everything on earth has a time and limit...

Posted by A_Vacant_Slip on (December 13, 2012, 6:15 GMT)

@maddy20 on (December 13 2012, 01:31 AM GMT) considering that you and many hundred of India fan were poking your nose in a series where your team's not playing (Aus V Eng, Pak V Eng, Eng V WI, Eng V SA) don't you think it is a bit rich lecturing other people about doing what you do? Cockyness come back to haunt you...

Posted by   on (December 13, 2012, 3:59 GMT)

For the first time I wish India lose this match .... Piyush chawla*??? No ajinkya rahane???

Posted by Solid_Snake on (December 13, 2012, 3:55 GMT)

Hahahaha lol cant stop laughing.. A suggestion for Dhoni->Bring in as many Spinners as you want.It wont matter even if you go out with 11 spinners .What a pathetic move.In the end all Dhoni came up with 'lets go all out with Spinners' idea

Posted by MrAdishaan on (December 13, 2012, 3:50 GMT)

Why Chawla is playing ??? For his batting or for his luck!!!

Posted by   on (December 13, 2012, 3:46 GMT)

Piyush Chawla and Ravindra Jadeja come in. That's surprising. Poor Ajinkya Rahane has been passed up again. Dhoni still trying to include his pets in the team. Anyway, I don't mind. this is the last chance for him. Probably this could be the last test for Dhoni at least as a captain. And i have to say, Dhoni is the most arrogant indian captain ever. Nobody, even the former players expect Jedeja ahead of Rahane. this is utter nonsense!

Posted by neil99 on (December 13, 2012, 3:45 GMT)

India will get pulverised in this test, and it's long overdue. India's recent performances put them on par with Bangladesh and they can no longer rely on 600+ first inngs and Day 3-5 rank turner. This scheme has been found out. As soon as Tendulkar, Dhoni, Gambir, Zaheer and Yuvraj are shelved the long hard comeback trail begins othewise talents like Kohli, Pujara and Ashwin will suffer.

Posted by Dhanvanth on (December 13, 2012, 3:41 GMT)

4 Spinners in a team! Weird to the core! Again dhoni bcci politics playing here. Rahane left out again pity him! Is there nobody to ask this!?

Posted by   on (December 13, 2012, 3:39 GMT)

I don't see any different story coming up in this match. Even if India manages to draw this one, the damage has been already done. Kohli and Dhoni came up with multiple comments before and in between the series but they lost their focus on the key attribute i.e. performance in the ground. Its time to rebuild and that too seriously. Time to come out of hangover of IPL and see how teams like England, Australia and even Bangladesh are evolving. Hopefully Indian cricket should not get into shell like hockey India where there is no coming back.

Posted by arunsesh on (December 13, 2012, 3:30 GMT)

We all keep commenting on the Indian performances and how it has dipped. I seriously feel that India is playing to their best possible currently. Our weakness is the fact that we have lost the shine of our batsmen which has always been our strength. Besides Pujara (and of course Sehwag) there is not a single batsman in the lineup who can make big hundreds and that is what is hitting us bad. If either of them score big India can win, else we are going to struggle in Test Cricket. We need to find batsmen who can play big innings if we need to grow in test cricket. Everything else including our well know bowling problems will fall in place. Sachin at his very best today is second best, and while he is still great, he has to be past his best years with age creeping up. We need Sachin more for his morale, and it is high time for others to step up and take over the no.4 mantle (Kohli is my bet) while he continues to guide and influence the entire team and performance by playing at 5 or 6.

Posted by jmcilhinney on (December 13, 2012, 3:27 GMT)

The decision to play Root in place of Patel seems a strange one. I can only assume it's prompted by a desire to play Root rather than not to play Patel as, while he hasn't exactly excelled, he hasn't flopped either. The fact that he isn't bowling may also be a factor. Given that Patel is only likely to play Test match in Asia or the Middle East and England have no such Tests for several years, he may well have played his last Test match. I don't see England playing Root at 6 consistently so I'd say that he's more of a threat to Compton than anyone else. I see Bairstow and Taylor as far more likely candidates to play at 6 most of the time. Maybe they see Compton as being the man to backup the top order longer term with Root being Cook's opening partner.

Posted by kempie on (December 13, 2012, 3:17 GMT)

Totally confusing & bizzare selection/replacements-:Why Jadeja,when there is already an effective left-arm spinner. Why Chawla,when we have a better option like Amit Mishra.Why not Praveen Kumar,when Ishant Sharma is looking completely clueless & helpless.

Posted by tests_the_best on (December 13, 2012, 3:16 GMT)

@landl47, interesting insights on the indian team coming from and english fan lol

Posted by ItHappensOnlyInIndia on (December 13, 2012, 3:14 GMT)

Sorry to say but a victory in Nagpur is going to do more harm to India than a defeat. Better to take that bitter pill now than to stick with the pain for another 2 years.

Moderator please post - Most (all) of my messages are very fair to both sides. You still don't post them. Why?

Posted by Dbatsman on (December 13, 2012, 2:49 GMT)

gambhir pujar kohli sachin shewag rahane dhoni ashwin didna ojha sharma

Posted by Dbatsman on (December 13, 2012, 2:47 GMT)

i think india should loose this match if they want to see major changes in the match

Posted by ammiel on (December 13, 2012, 2:43 GMT)

Dhoni quoted as saying, we've kept it really close, come on thats flat out wrong, india has been caned in the last two tests. I think Dinda or Awana must play ahead of either ashwin or Chawla. Rahane should bat at 3, Pujara 4 and push sachin to 5. As for england surely Onions deserves a go ahead of Bresnan and I think England must think long and hard about the 6 position with the Ashes looming.

Posted by Desihungama on (December 13, 2012, 2:35 GMT)

It's just amazing to watch how India's pool of players have shrunk to an extent they can't definitely name playing for a Test. Mind blowing!

Posted by   on (December 13, 2012, 2:08 GMT)

This series has already finished off some - Zack, Bhaji and maybe Tendulkar. Maybe its time to rebuild. India is ever so reluctant to drop non-performers. Remember Ghambir's comment about one such player that he is the best in the nets. Finn is a big loss for England. The Indians might just get lucky now.

Posted by BCCI007 on (December 13, 2012, 2:04 GMT)

Real problem is lack of Team Spirit.

Posted by TheFridge31 on (December 13, 2012, 1:56 GMT)

India will predictably roll over when the going gets tough , 3-1.

Posted by xcal519 on (December 13, 2012, 1:48 GMT)

no dinda pls ... he doesnt have bowler quality ..keep him out from India squad ..try other Indian bowlers

Posted by nccricket on (December 13, 2012, 1:43 GMT)

@ Omarrz A few more days mate and it will all be clear.. and since you are so good at adding one and one, I guess your team's never had the better of India, ever, in any World Cup level event, in the history of cricket - how do you add that one up? "(if you know what I mean ;) "

Posted by maddy20 on (December 13, 2012, 1:31 GMT)

@Davidpk Perhaps you Pakistani fans could do better than poking your nose in a series where your team's not playing? As landl47 pointed out this is a vastly inexperienced side rebuilding after losing several greats in a short amount of time. Given Tendulkar will also walkout soon(atleast I hope so) and possibly even Dhoni, we will soon see a completely newlook and rebuilding Indian side. Given these factors, it will be great achievement to win this test and hold off England. yes we did get cocky before the series and thought we can roll over England, but as the series transpired we have been rocked back to reality. We have to accept it. It happens to every team. @Omarrz I hope you are not referring to the team that got bowled out for under 100 4 times in a 3 test series AKA the asian test champion PPS: Only on dustbowls of Dubai!

Posted by jmcilhinney on (December 13, 2012, 1:07 GMT)

Those who call Tim Bresnan a county trundler or the like are either being deliberately unkind or just aren't very smart. Bresnan has put in many good, sometimes match-winning performances for England and was a major contributor to their success. That said, he just isn't the same bowler since his elbow surgery. He has been relatively ineffective for a while and was completely ineffective in the first Test of this series. Unless something dramatic has happened in training to show that he is back to his best, I just don't see how the selectors can justify including him in this game. Broad has been dropped and that shows that they are prepared to acknowledge when someone is not at their best. If they believe that Onions is a Test-standard bowler then he should be in the team for this game. Meaker doesn't have Finn's height so his pace alone is probably not enough to justify his selection, although Yadav showed in game 1 that genuine pace can be useful if you can swing it.

Posted by   on (December 13, 2012, 1:07 GMT)

Worth trying, arunNY - a 'century or bust' player is probably a better bet lower in the order against a decent team. I can see the value in playing someone like Sehwag as an opener against either a weak team (the lack of a century being no problem if 300 is probably enough anyway) or in a team that rarely scores 450 (excrement or bust). But in an England V India game, such a player is probably best kept as a wildcard, to keep the bowling side guessing, and under pressure even if the openers go cheaply.

Posted by jiten27 on (December 13, 2012, 1:04 GMT)

todays game team shpuld be gambhie,vijay murali,pujara, virat kohli, sachin, dhoni, ashwin, jadega,dinda,ojha, ishant

Posted by disco_bob on (December 13, 2012, 1:02 GMT)

Yes, I am sure that Sachin will be looking forward to a final humiliation in Australia, the site of his glorious hundredth hundred. Oh no that's right he missed out and had to settle for an inconsequential match with Bangladesh. Sachin's quest to be part of an away side that finally manages to win a Test series in Australia is looking increasingly like Ponting's ultimately futile attempt at Ashes redemption.

I think the only modern day hero to succeed in this redemption stuff was Dennis Conner regaining the America's Cup.

Posted by Sqantic-Pilau on (December 13, 2012, 0:59 GMT)

Really hope England go with Onions - a much better bowler imho than Bresnan.

Posted by sawifan on (December 13, 2012, 0:56 GMT)

Dhoni's quote goes to show the Indian mentality at the moment. Despite being woeful, they are still 'enjoying their cricket'. C'mon!!! You would never hear and Australian/ South African/ English captain say this whilst playing so poorly. Dhoni is really showing that he is a very ordinary leader. It's an easy job when you have stars firing. Everyone used to criticize R Ponting's captaincy (which wasn't crash hot), but he was far better than Dhoni, and never came up with all these bs excuses. Team IND, do yourself a favour and get rid of this much jaded character ASAP!

Posted by AvidCricFan on (December 13, 2012, 0:48 GMT)

The team doesn't look united. The perfect storm may happen. While it may be hard for the fans to stomach, it may be good for India. Tendulkar should have packed bags with Dravid. He is overhanging. It is evident that he is trying to maximize his financial gains. All this talk of Tendulkar giving 23 years to the Indian cricket should not even be a discussion point. In these 23 years, Tendulkar has benefited more from the Indian cricket than what he has given.

Posted by crick50 on (December 13, 2012, 0:37 GMT)

@Aryan..huh.. GOD...who is god don't have your own definition if he don't retire himself soon the same person like you who portray him as god...will throw him llike dog......he is very good talented player.. as ages..one day he has to go...we will just cherish his era of play..if we keep seeing this lean patches for another year tendulkar of the past will be forgotten..lets enjoy cricket and cherish tendulkar era..time has come..everything on earth has a time and limit...

Posted by Shan156 on (December 13, 2012, 0:33 GMT)

@Alexk400, I think Chawla is a right arm legbreak bowler. He bats left-handed but bowls right arm, I think.

@landl47, good assessment of the experience of both teams. I think in the long-term, it would be good for India considering that some of these players are fearless and should be persisted with. While Rahane impressed in the limited overs games, he is a very good test player. Pujara has already established his test credentials and so has Kohli. What India need right now is some good, fit fast bowlers. They may not be successful initially but should be given support. If Fletcher is given a free reign, I think he can mould a successful test team out of India's young guns.

Posted by   on (December 13, 2012, 0:22 GMT)

First of all selectors made a big mistake by dropping Zaheer Khan. What a nonsense team shown in preview for India XI? Its still pretty much a same team compared to last three tests. ODI and Test cricket are totally different formats. Virat Kohli is doing extremely well in ODI's, but hasn't score much in the last three tests. He should he dropped from the side and bring Ajinkya Rahane at No. 5 and at No. 6 bring in Ravindra Jadeja. Already at No.6 it was Yuvraj Singh, but didn't score enough to play in the side. It will prove if Jadeja's form is only in domestic cricket or he is ready to come back to play in international. So Jadeja's pick at No.6 will be a gift to the team with his bowling skills.

According to me the team should be for 4th test: 1 Gautam Gambhir, 2 Virender Sehwag, 3 Cheteshwar Pujara, 4 Sachin Tendulkar, 5 Ajinkya Rahane, 6 Ravindra Jadeja, 7 MS Dhoni (capt & wk), 8 R Ashwin, 9 Parvinder Awana, 10 Ashok Dinda, 11 Pragyan Ojha

Posted by Lmaotsetung on (December 13, 2012, 0:13 GMT)

Win lose or draw this has been a very satisfying tour. The 1 1/2 year wait was well worth it and it seem to have shut up those one-eyed prognosticators that's been polluting this site, not to say that they will ever go away but at least it's kept them quiet after the Mumbai test. I think as England fans, we should accept the fact that the Ashes of 2010-11 and to a lesser extend the Indian series of 2011 was more the exception than the norm in that they played out of their skin that year. Everyone contributed and what was it like 6-7 different batsmen making centuries on the Ashes tour? Form will come and go and I think as long as 2-3 batsmen go on to make a score Eng batting will be just fine with a few contributing here and there. We can't expect 1 thru 7 to be scoring centuries every match. As the year draw to a close I admit it's been a disappointing year and the failure to chase down 145 in UAE will forever haunt England fans, at least that will always stick to my mind.

Posted by dock_haul on (December 13, 2012, 0:05 GMT)

India will win and square the series 2-2

Posted by BDforever on (December 13, 2012, 0:05 GMT)

Hope to see a good fight. I wish all the best to both teams. But I doubt whether minnows can level the series.

Posted by El_Toro_Loco on (December 13, 2012, 0:00 GMT)

India will come out swinging hard but it'll be all hit & miss for india, England would wrap up this test & the series in less than 4 days. Rest In Peace Team India. LOL...

Posted by   on (December 12, 2012, 23:57 GMT)

i dont think india gonna win it, there are too many issues running in indian team, for example today i read in a newspaper aboyt issue between MSD and Gautham Gambhir... anyway by stregth if i see England is having more strengthen team then India, they are having experienced fellows and most importantly they are performing...but whats the performance of indian players is we saw in this series.... if i sum up my words i am looking forward a 3-1 series win for England, but as an Asian i wanna see India winning against Englishmen but unfortunately are very less chances :-( Bext of Luck India, from Pak :-)

Posted by Hasan1962 on (December 12, 2012, 23:47 GMT)

Indians - be prepared for a 3-1 series defeat. By the way - I am a Bangladeshi -born Australian citizen and have been a die-hard Indian cricket supporter since I was a kid and I am now 50. I only go against India when they play Bangladesh.

I would love to see India winning the last test and draw the series. But, what I have seen in the 2nd and 3rd test - not very opimistic.

Posted by   on (December 12, 2012, 23:32 GMT)

As an Aussies I can't believe I'm saying this so close to the Ashes, but come on England!

Posted by sagitrama on (December 12, 2012, 23:30 GMT)

Some one in BCCI PLEASE Read this Have a team for test matches that is not corrupted by T20 technique: 1. Ajinkya Rahane 2. Wasim Jaffer 3. Cheteshwar Pujara 4. Mohammad Kaif(c) 5. Manoj Tiwari 6. Rohit Sharma 7. Virat Kohli 8. Naman Ojha 9. Dinesh Karthik 10. Irfan Pathan 11. Ravi Ashwin 12. Umesh Yadav 13. Varun Aaron 14. Amit Misra 15. Pragyan Ojha

Play 5 bowlers in every test match including Irfan Pathan and Ravi Ashwin + 3 Regular Bowlers. It greatly reduces the risk of injury to bowlers and Batsman automatically become more responsible for their wickets. Throw out egoistic GODS like Sachin, Sehwag, Gambhir, Harbhajan, Zaheer, Yuvraj and DHONI from the team. We need Human Beings in the team who can recognize & correct their weaknesses, and return back to FC Cricket to get back to form instead of Gods boasting about their records and getting thrashed home and abroad.Finally have Dada(East Zone), Kumble(South Zone), Patil(West Zone), Kapil(North Zone), Laxman(Central) as selectors.

Posted by ZedInLosAngles on (December 12, 2012, 23:22 GMT)

Do not play Dinda! He is another medium pacer with no bite or anything special to speak of. Don't about Awana, but if he has pace and skills, then take the risk. I don't believe in Ishant Sharma. He bowls to far outside off and too short most of the time. Same goes for Piyush. He is definitely not international material. For sure ODIs and T20s. Doubt he will be good in Tests. Jadeja, maybe a better option. Then we can use left arm spin and some additional batting depth. He is no special bowler bowler, but England is suseptible to spin and left spin (KP!).

Posted by 2.14istherunrate on (December 12, 2012, 23:11 GMT)

Bresnan is like a carthorse among thorough breds. We do not want to hand them victory!!

Posted by RednWhiteArmy on (December 12, 2012, 23:10 GMT)

India will never learn. They need to get rid of some pensioners

Posted by heathrf1974 on (December 12, 2012, 23:01 GMT)

Anything's possible, it is a new test. India will have to hope Cook has an off game and England reduce their performance due to now leading the series. The main issue though is the improvement of the all-round Indian performance.

Posted by   on (December 12, 2012, 23:00 GMT)

At the start it was called a Revenge Series .... And Now it has become " nightmare in my backyard Series" ... lol !

Posted by md4cric on (December 12, 2012, 22:43 GMT)

arunNY has very good point.If changes need to be made use the resources with better possibilities.Sehwag at 6 will be a "blow away" batsman. Dhoni should avaoid newer ball while batting and Ishant and Awana for New ball,Jadeja and Ashwin for Spin .Rahane could open as well.For this test atleast India need a big total for an attacking field for spinners.

Posted by JG2704 on (December 12, 2012, 22:00 GMT)

I'd change the formation of the England side and have 3 proper spinners and have Patel who has not offered a huge amount with the bat and even less with the ball and in the field. Play Tredwell and fight fire with fire - we would not be losing that much batting from Patel and we'd gain an extra dimension to our bowling , so I'd go Cook,Compton,Trott,KP,JB,Prior,Swann,Jimmy,Monty and 1 from 3 other seamers. I know it (on paper) weakens the batting but to me it strengthens the bowling by more than it weakens the batting. They are unlikely to do this but in recent experiences they don't do so well when we go with a deeper batting order.The last game was the longest tail we've had recently but we won it - should have been by at least 10 wkts. I'm not against Bres playing but I hope they look at the conditions and play whoever they play on their bowling merits and not even take their batting into consideration

Posted by VickGower on (December 12, 2012, 21:56 GMT)

Davidpk, this team is rebuilding. What do you expect? Even with the greatest batting lineup ever, and Kumble, Zaheer, Bhajji around, India was not sharp and fit enough to be consistent world beater. What do you expect during the rebuilding phase. Let us get real. Okay to keep the pressure up on the team, but a bit of perspective is helpful too. Not as if India's doing nothing. Bhajji is out, Dravid and Laxman have been "phased" out. Zaheer has been shown the door. Now you got a captain with a team that cannot bat, and probably has the worst fielding and bowling attack in the world. If you have to blame the system for not churning out timely and awesome replacement that is one thing. But not as if Australians have been able to easily replace ANYONE in the batting line up, and their bowling - well, plenty of reserves, but.with all their professionalism, they are all gutted by injury too.

Posted by NH777 on (December 12, 2012, 21:42 GMT)

I don't want to see loose... if we loose its good for Indian cricket... Dhoni and Sachin will decide what to do... captain will change...I wanted some aggressive captain...Which Dhoni is missing in his captaincy... I feel Jadeja should play and Ashwin as batting all rounder and include another bowler and try keep on changing bowling every few overs. ofcourse each player should bowl tight...

Posted by   on (December 12, 2012, 21:38 GMT)

As a loyal Indian fan, I seriously hope that the team has done it's homework. The bowlers look clueless every time Cook comes on to bat. And even when Cook gives the slightest of opportunities, the fielders drop his catches. The bowling has been lackluster throughout the series. Dinda should be given a chance.

Posted by   on (December 12, 2012, 21:17 GMT)

INDIA will strongly bounce back in this test and they will win. Come on Dhoni n co show d world who u r...wis u all gud luck..

Posted by bumsonseats on (December 12, 2012, 21:12 GMT)

if india draw the test series, then i suppose everything in the garden will be rosy. and if they win the T20 well you can guess my drift. all goes back to normal. what was it cassius clay used to say. im the greatest

Posted by landl47 on (December 12, 2012, 20:44 GMT)

There's one thing about this Indian side- it's getting younger (and less experienced) in a hurry. There are now only 4 players over 30 in the squad: Dhoni and Gambhir (both 31), Sehwag (34) and Tendulkar (39). Four players haven't played a test (Awana, Dinda, Jadeja and Rahane) and Chawla has played only 2. Only Ishant Sharma of the under-30s has played more than 20 tests. The England squad is not likely to have any debutants (Root is not likely to play) and even with the relative newcomers (Compton and Patel or Bairstow) England will be vastly more experienced as a group, with 7 players having played more than 40 tests and Trott 37. England also aren't an old side, with Swann at 33 the oldest.

I think long-term India has the right idea. Whether this reshaped squad is good enough to beat England we'll see over the next 5 days.

Posted by Alexk400 on (December 12, 2012, 20:36 GMT)

Play chawla. I am no fan of chawla but i think if there is a weakness in ENgland , it is spin. They might have played Ashwin well , so left arm google spin might work better than useless dinda.

Posted by venkat23 on (December 12, 2012, 20:33 GMT)

If India plays Rahane tomorrow, it is better to play him as opener with Gambhir and play Sehwag in the middle order

Posted by goodwill12 on (December 12, 2012, 20:32 GMT)

Same batch of incompetent and careless losers again in India team. Not so impressed with selection.

Posted by -Aryan- on (December 12, 2012, 20:23 GMT)

Why Chawla??? I mean seriously!!! If India wants a third spinner, it should me Amit Mishra. He has been performing better at the domestic level than Chawla. But since he is not in the team, Jadeja is a better option. Also, get rid of Ishant Sharma...total waste. We desparately need Irfan Pathan back. Also, its high time that India play Ajinkya Rahane. The playing XI for tomorrow should be: 1) Gambhir 2) Sehwag 3) Pujara 4) GOD 5) Kohli 6) Rahane 7) Dhoni 8) Jadeja 9) Ashwin 10) Sharma 11) Ojha. Go India Go!

Posted by Omarrz on (December 12, 2012, 20:02 GMT)

Come on England! Win the series and let the world know who is the real Asian Test Champion.. (if you know what I mean ;) )

Posted by rivernile on (December 12, 2012, 19:45 GMT)

Losing Finn is a big blow to England. It will be interesting to see how India responds to all the hoopla being passed around following the Kolkata loss. Looking forward to a good match.

Posted by arunNY on (December 12, 2012, 19:44 GMT)

Why not open with Gambhir and Pujara and drop Sehwag to no 6..

Posted by fguy on (December 12, 2012, 19:40 GMT)

The dhoni-fletcher-bcci combine have killed test cricket in india. England are just here to perform the burial. The 4th test is the last rites. They say the role of the coach is limited. Then why spend money on them. It's too much of a coincidence that after kirsten joined SA they went from a very good side to an excellent side & since fletcher became our coach we've gone from a good side (excellent at home) to absolute rubbish. Forget the "there is no alternative" spiel. Make the ball boy the captain, he can't do any worse. We thought 0-8 loss was the lowest point but no we managed to sink further. I foresee india going the west indies way after the '90s (without having reached the peaks they did in the 80's) & falling down to depths for a very long time & driving away fans. This is equivalent of the body blow australia inflicted in '92 from which WI never quite recovered To england's credit they learnt from the UAE jolt. We didn't learn from our twin 0-4 jolts.

Posted by   on (December 12, 2012, 19:37 GMT)

I'm going to say this in advance of the start so that I can be slammed down if proven wrong. It's just opinion - it happens to be mine - but that makes it no more (or less) valid than anyone else. I believe that very little benefit comes from changing one's number 6 batsmen. If 1 - 5 aren't getting the big scores then #6 probably won't make a difference. At present only Pujara appears a consistent threat - and I use the word consistent deliberately - the others have flattered to deceive but only he has gone on to the big score. Looking at recent form, surely India needs to rely on 1-5 scoring big - enhance either Dhoni or Ashwin to #6, #7 and bring in another bowler. You need 20 wickets and in tests 2 & 3 that seems unlikely. Ashwin at best is a batting all-rounder now, Ishant is a busted flush. India needs deparately someone capable of changing the game. England can draw and win the series - India needs a win for pride. Time to gamble

Posted by amilag on (December 12, 2012, 19:27 GMT)

England should not be complacent when playing with minnows! They will have to stick to the basics..

Posted by Shan156 on (December 12, 2012, 19:27 GMT)

England have already exceeded expectations in this series. A series win would be sweet. Hopefully, it will be 3-1 to England. It is hard to win a test in India, harder to win it after batting second, and even harder to do it twice in a row. Out of the 11 defeats that India have suffered at home since 2000, 3 are against England. OZ have 3 wins and SA has 4. Pakistan won the other. At least now, hopefully, our Indian friends will stop belittling England and give them their due credit. We are really proud that our team beat India in 2 tests in India. That is implicitly acknowledging India's greatness at home. We will be glad if Indian fans reciprocate the respect we have for India. Sure, there are a few fans on either side who engage in banter. Let's hope it doesn't turn ugly. Sports is for fun and not to hate each other. Let's enjoy it for what it is. Good luck to both teams. May the better team win.

Posted by MuttaPasanga on (December 12, 2012, 19:26 GMT)

Please have better 'Titles' for the articles. It showcase as though England is the greatest team now and no one could stop them. Even the author has commented "It's a sign of the problems England have had in 2012 that defeat in this Test would make it the most losses they have suffered in a calendar year". Its a poor patch for India now, which any team have the chance to go through. One man 'Sehwag' can change the game. Good Luck India.

Posted by zarasochozarasamjho on (December 12, 2012, 19:21 GMT)

As a Pakistani supporter, I would support India in most matches where Pakistan is not playing. Your article says "don't write off India". To the extent that you can't write off any team before a match (Bangladesh as the worst can beat SA as the best for a particular match after all), the statement is true. Teams not with much skill can still win many games due to sheer tenacity and unwillingness to lose. Indian team hasn't got that trait. Worse; there are passengers in the team purely because of past reputation. This also creates ill-feeling and a feeling of despondency within the team. But worst is that the Indians are SERIOUSLY LACKING IN SKILLS. I see England winning this match too - irrespective of ground and weather conditions (excluding rain disruptions, of course). Most of the 9 defeats in the past 10 matches have been HEAVY defeats, remember! Just compare this to the 3 tests that England lost to Pakistan. In 2 of them, England were expected to win but lost only by small margins

Posted by   on (December 12, 2012, 19:15 GMT)

Never been a fan jadeja, but something inside me says he should be played ahead Rahane and play Ashok Dinda and Parvinder Awana ahead of Ishant... My 11..Gambhir, Sehwag, Pujara, Sachin, Kohli, Jadeja, Dhoni, , Ashwin, awana, Dinda,Ojha...givens india balance in bowling and batting...

Posted by bumsonseats on (December 12, 2012, 19:08 GMT)

the indian fans must be worried. what usually would be a couple of 100 messages on any indian topic, the forums seem as bare as the nagpur pitch. never mind a indian win will bring the happy posters with their happy messages

Posted by CricketingStargazer on (December 12, 2012, 19:08 GMT)

@Full-Blooded-Wallop The devotion of Indian fans to their team is good to see. Most of them are generous and appreciate good cricket by the opposition too. I'm looking forward to England v India having 5 Tests once again next time: it was about time that it did.

Posted by   on (December 12, 2012, 19:05 GMT)

I bet nepotism still rules for Dhoni , he will play Murli Vijay for rahane!

Posted by A_Vacant_Slip on (December 12, 2012, 19:04 GMT)

@Full-Blooded-Wallop. Wasn't it you who wrote on (October 25 2011, 18:49 PM GMT) "I just had a dream that England defeated India in India in 2085 for the first time after a grand 100 years. But then I realized this is a cruel harsh world and it was JUST a dream". It is a cruel harsh world isn't it @Full-Blooded-Wallop....

Posted by keecha on (December 12, 2012, 19:00 GMT)

People who have wondered why India is where it is right now, is just one man - Laxman. India cold have lost a lot more matches, which he single handedly turned India's way with a hundred at No.6, battling along with the tail. You now have an old car with the best in class shock absorber removed.

Posted by jiten27 on (December 12, 2012, 18:57 GMT)

I am agree with abhaybhai. may be we can try vijay murali instead of sehwag,then it willbe balace team at least everyone do fifty than it will 400 runs easdily

Posted by GokulGoks on (December 12, 2012, 18:41 GMT)

As an Indian fan, it's hard to feel confident about our team at this moment. I'd be very surprised if this result is anything other than a draw or an English win.

Posted by   on (December 12, 2012, 18:30 GMT)

If India plays like how they usually play in e Test match in India, India will win. But don't see it coming. This one looks like another movie with prominent English Subtitles.

Posted by CricketingStargazer on (December 12, 2012, 18:29 GMT)

It's remarkable. As in Kolkata, the bookies have England as rank outsiders to win this Test, with India strong favourites. Even most Indian fans would probably admit that their side is up against it. It looks very much like the side that bats first will start with a huge advantage, maybe the bookies expect MS Dhoni's lucky coin to come up trumps again? Should the result of a Test depend so much on the toss though? Suppose Dhoni loses the toss and are caught batting last on an impossible minefield?

Posted by RandyOZ on (December 12, 2012, 18:26 GMT)

The final straw in this battle of the minnows. Not a particularly interesting or skilled encounter for outsiders but I suppose for supporters of these two teams, who have been battered around for the best part of two years now, it means something so goodluck to both sides.

Posted by   on (December 12, 2012, 18:19 GMT)

Gambhir,Sehwagh,Sachin,Pujara,Kohli,Rahane,Dhoni,Jadeja,Ashwin,Ojha,Awana/Sharma Best squad batting upto 9, ojha in form awana is good n strong , Jadeja can trouble with speedy spin and ojha with Flight and both are in form so no sense for Chawla, how can bowler trouble English batsmans even he wont able to trouble domestic batsmans.

Posted by SevereCritic on (December 12, 2012, 18:11 GMT)

To be in the company of Sutcliffe, Compton and Hammond is an honor indeed. Best wishes to Cook. You've restored faith in the dying art of quality test batting in test cricket fans all around.

Posted by   on (December 12, 2012, 18:07 GMT)

I agree with Mr Dhoni that there is a lot of pressure on Indian cricketers. Maybe it is because this is the only sport in which India has a global presence. On the other hand, the cricket stars are paid well to bear the burden of public expectation. I think the public does appreciate a sincere effort. Given my Indian origins, I do. So, I hope the Indian team puts in its BEST effort this time.

Posted by   on (December 12, 2012, 18:06 GMT)

This is going to be a tough test...despite all that's been said India have still got some fine players. It was only a couple of weeks ago England were 1-0 down and all the talk was off a whitewash. England have to remain at their very best to secure a series win. Will be up at 4am, with a cup of tea....can't wait...oh and can we win the toss...pleeeease.....

Posted by baranasai on (December 12, 2012, 18:02 GMT)

I think Indian team will again go into the route of hiding/all their top ranking batsmen will fail and MSD will run out of silly excuses/may be he will conced the team under him is not good enough.Regarding SRT he might score 34 runs + and stay for 4 more series/If I say some thing -I will get bad mouthing. it is time the team will stand up and perform for the money they have been paid to play .if they cant let some good junoors can do the same job -scoring 200 by seniors and 190 by juniors does not make much diffrerence/ I thing Mohinder is right /MSD is shielded in spit of his mistakes -iam not loooking for scape goat but a factorial poor performer/i hope many fans will agree

Posted by zaf100 on (December 12, 2012, 18:00 GMT)

In my opinion India looks a beaten team, there is no energy in the field lot of players looks aged or unfit and on the other hand England gets stronger and stronger as the series progress. Tomorrow is a big test for both teams but in different ways. Pressure is all on India to win but if Engalnd wins the toss and bat first chances are England will win series 3-1 and with that few players careers will end. India needs to get Cook early because apart from him not may players from England side shown consistent performance. Time is right for Sachin Tendulkar to announce his retirement from test cricket before the game and save selectors from the ugly task of dropping him for the next series. Ricky ponting done the right thing earlier now it's time for Tendulkar to do the same. In my opinion Tendulkar should have retired after the world cup because there is nothing to prove or achive for him any more. Good luck to both teams and as a cricket lover love to see a great test match.

Posted by   on (December 12, 2012, 18:00 GMT)

I think Gambhir, Sehwag, Sachin and Kohli should be out. Where are Praveen Kumar and Munaf Patel? These are the current in-form spearheads of indian bowling. Bring in players like Rahane, Chawla, Mukund, Dhawan, Tiwary and Badrinath. Not just because the current team is performing badly, just for a change... bring the in-form players...

Posted by RazorMach on (December 12, 2012, 18:00 GMT)

Can "brittle India stop England?" The answer is an emphatic no. I am an Indian fan and while I will be rooting for India, the answer above still remains. India is its own worst enemy. Their is truly no Indian "TEAM". Based on all the media buzz about selectors, chairman of BCCI, in-fighting within team, under-performing (consistently) seniors not making room for many worthy (younger) replacements, "Team India" is most likely to self-destruct. England will have chew India as one chews peanut-brittle! Dhoni's goose is Cooked! Prove me wrong Team India!

Posted by   on (December 12, 2012, 17:57 GMT)

really hope India wins!! Hope ajinkya rahane get his chance and virat and sehwag score big

Posted by arvind9990 on (December 12, 2012, 17:56 GMT)

yaa of course india will. they are the best, its just a bad patch so don"t worry for indian cricket team. someone wrote here that "just show the character" and its 100% right if indian team click as a unite and some misfortune like bowl don"t carry to the slip or pitch again not aiding indian team than we are show what we are . yesterday i read newspaper n in newspaper someone wrote about dhoni that his midas touch is over or gone, today i am asking to everyone if someone not well in just 2 test match , is it mean his midas touch is over ? i know i am a great fan of indian team so i always back them when they are not doing well because in hindi an idiom " apno ka pata to muskil haalat me hi chalta hai nahi to karwa ke saath to sab hote hai " soooo come on team india best of luck for tomorrow"s game :)

Posted by ssenthil on (December 12, 2012, 17:55 GMT)

All the best Team India, I sincerely hope India can win this Test. Better common sense should prevail to the Indian Batsman. They are the main reason for India being in this situation. What Kohli is doing in the team is a wonder.

Posted by   on (December 12, 2012, 17:52 GMT)

People of India, be ready for another defeat as England will crush us again, after poor performance of indian team in test matches,it's time to give young guns atleast a change,give Unmukt chand one change atleast as he won the world cup,he could be next tendulkar for us as he's just 20 years of age right now.

Posted by Al_Bundy1 on (December 12, 2012, 17:51 GMT)

India's chances will improve vastly if we drop the 2 biggest non-performers in recent times - Tendulkar and Ishant Sharma. Play Jadeja in place of Yuvraj, Awana in place of Zaheer, and maybe Rahane in place of Kohli. Kohli can use some rest.

Posted by   on (December 12, 2012, 17:45 GMT)

Even though it sounds far fetching, if toss is won , India should try and post a mammoth total and should look to bat only once. Dhoni should have a word with Viru and ask him to stay at the crease as long as it is possibly with out ever worrying about the scoring rate. Rahane, should be in team and should come ahead of Sachin and Ashwin should come ahead of Dhoni. With a 500+ total on board, by being overly defensive, on a third day pitch England's batting could fail, and then second time around, they could crumble on a fifth day pitch with huge cracks....Or is this all a dream??

Posted by AjitDJ on (December 12, 2012, 17:41 GMT)

Going with Ishant as the only fast bowler is recipe for failure. He is ineffective and doesn't have any variety or even self-confidence. Better to go with Awana or Dinda instead.

Posted by kishoreb4 on (December 12, 2012, 17:41 GMT)

Hope India will come back strongly tomorrow.Wanna see India winning this match and levelling the series but worried about they will retain Dhoni as captain if they end on a winning note.Every thing depends on Sehwag the more he scores,the more Team India scores.Anyways all d best Team India..........

Posted by JustIPL on (December 12, 2012, 17:35 GMT)

Welcome to Chawla. Ashwin promoted as a batsman and Chawla will try his luck in purchasing a wicket for India. Also, he can also make the tail wag. Although Awana took few wickets in his last Ranji appearance and scored but his wickets came too late and he might not get any wickets in the test because england side are way above any ranji side.

Posted by   on (December 12, 2012, 17:32 GMT)

sachin should not retire he should play 200 test and should get 100 fifty and 50 hundred in odi and coach duncan should resign. he is a main culprit. after retirement of dravid and laxman done the damage in home test

Posted by 87volts on (December 12, 2012, 17:30 GMT)

England should go with Graham Onions, Bresnan is not a test bowler by any means.

Posted by Devmanus on (December 12, 2012, 17:23 GMT)

lets hope this indian team will loose this test...then the real stories will come and we will have some hope to build a different team...

Posted by JG2704 on (December 12, 2012, 17:21 GMT)

I'd change the formation of the England side and have 3 proper spinners and have Patel who has not offered a huge amount with the bat and even less with the ball and in the field. Play Tredwell and fight fire with fire - we would not be losing that much batting from Patel and we'd gain an extra dimension to our bowling , so I'd go Cook,Compton,Trott,KP,JB,Prior,Swann,Jimmy,Monty and 1 from 3 other seamers. I know it (on paper) weakens the batting but to me it strengthens the bowling by more than it weakens the batting. They are unlikely to do this but in recent experiences they don't do so well when we go with a deeper batting order.The last game was the longest tail we've had recently but we won it - should have been by at least 10 wkts. I'm not against Bres playing but I hope they look at the conditions and play whoever they play on their bowling merits and not even take their batting into consideration

Posted by 2.14istherunrate on (December 12, 2012, 17:16 GMT)

If KP tries to catch Cook up again and succeeds but Cook decides try to get 1 ahead again beforehand then we should be okay, particularly if Trott gets that elusive ton and Compton gets his first. Simple recipe for the series.

Posted by CricFanster on (December 12, 2012, 17:16 GMT)

India must play for Win ......its do or die situation right now and hope it brings best out of the players.I hope MS Dhoni will be lucky again to win the Toss lol even though results were bad as India didn't do well in first innings of both the Tests . Pujara ( I want him to end this year on high note ) and Kohli should score big which will earn him some confidence after low scores in this particular series . I believe Indians will take 2-2 result any day lol because that's the only option left.... Gambhir needs to go after this series .... his attitude,his running b/w the wickets, body language, selfishness etc. etc are things that should make him sack by selectors . Sachin well idk what to say about him because whole world is Commenting on him right now lol some people are so harsh :( and some are still hopeful of him coming back after this extended lean patch . I think England will look for Draw if not Win after being this close to win the series .

Posted by deol84 on (December 12, 2012, 17:15 GMT)

i hope umpires will give no favours to characterless india,comon england destroy india again.

Posted by TRAM on (December 12, 2012, 17:12 GMT)

So, in the cricinfo "possible XI", Ishant and Kholi are the pace attack for India? for 5 days? I dont mind one man pace attack. But let that be Dinda/Awana in place of ineffective Ishant. If MVijay and RJadeja can come in for Gambhir & SRT. that would bring the youth and make it better fielding team apart from bringing another bowler option. Only dreaming I know.

Posted by   on (December 12, 2012, 17:12 GMT)

India Should Go all with three frontline spinners Ashwin, Chawla & Ojha with Ishant as pace option Also Keeping Jadeja on No.6 so we will hav 4 spinners nd 1 paceer also we hav Kohli with his millitary pace.so My XI is- Sehwag, Gambhir, Pujara, Sachin, Kohli, Jadeja, Dhoni, Ashwin, Chawla, Ishant, Ojha. Sorry for Rahane, Dinda/ Awana but leveling the series we should go for Kill by spin.

Posted by   on (December 12, 2012, 17:11 GMT)

@ Full-Blooded-Wallop Wow nice to see some rear comment from an indian fan

Posted by riprock on (December 12, 2012, 17:08 GMT)

It will be interesting to see how the Indian think tank go about the final XI. There's a certain debut there for Rahane at no.6..(though he may swap that position with Viru in the future) and maybe for atleast one of Dinda or Awana along with Chawla or possibly both of them if there's enough courage to drop the ineffective Ishant Sharma and to go in with two debutant pacers. I personally feel Ashwin can be trusted to come up with a better performance in such a crucial game so if two were to be picked, I'd pick Chawla and Awana if the pitch's a rank turner else go with a newcomer and Ishant instead of Chawla. There can't be a better opportunity than this..for India to try out their next pace hopeful. I remember Dinda going for plenty in few of the limited overs games he's played and Awana's brisk pace would be gold-dust for this side's mediocre pace line-up. IMO, India's current best fast bowlers have gotta be U.Yadav, Ishant, Sreesanth, Awana and Dhawal Kulkarni.

Posted by Mass_Hypnosis on (December 12, 2012, 17:04 GMT)

Gambhir, Sehwag, Kohli, Rahane, Pujara, Jadeja, Dhoni, Ojha, Ashwin, Ishant sharma, Dinda

Posted by   on (December 12, 2012, 17:04 GMT)

Whats the point of taking Dinda and Awana if not to field them. India's premier fast bowler (IS) has an average of 39 and strike rate of 67 . 1-3 I predict.

Posted by   on (December 12, 2012, 17:02 GMT)

Indian Squad for tomorrow: Gambhir, Sehwag, Pujara, Sachin, Kohli, Jadeja, Dhoni, Ojha, Ashwin, Awana, Dinda

Posted by TAPOREE on (December 12, 2012, 17:01 GMT)

To say "good luck team India" I have to be assured that the whole country is behind the players who will take the field in Nagpur. Unfortunately the team which will take the field is only endorsed by three of the most stubborn elements currently in existance. Those three elements are BCCI, Dhoni, and Fletcher.

Posted by   on (December 12, 2012, 16:47 GMT)

We need 20 wickets so I would drop an extra batsman and play 3 fast bowlers/ 3 spinners. Ashwin can fulfill the allrounder role.

Posted by   on (December 12, 2012, 16:45 GMT)

Will this be the last Test match of Sachin's career? Will this be the last Test of Dhoni as Indian captain??? Lots of questions need to get answers in the next five days...

Posted by Selassie-I on (December 12, 2012, 16:44 GMT)

I thinkn from both team's fan's point of view an England win will be for the best, England for the blatant reasons.

India however, beacuse I feel that if they win here and draw the series, they will be in the same place they were at the beginninng of the series - denial. They were okay having an average bowling attack when they had a strong, performing batting line up that could draw tests at will but now the greats have retired or diminished it is really showing up the bowling. The board really needs to put in a plan for the next generation and I fear that a drawn series will be all they need to tell us all that everything is fine despite a terrible record against the top teams over the last 24 months, they really should be at the top of the world being, by far, the biggest cricketing nation and having, by far, the richest board.

Posted by Vnott on (December 12, 2012, 16:41 GMT)

awana and dinda shd both play and so shd jadeja. no place for rahane , chawla....we need 2 seamers and the other 2 spinners hopefully will deliver

Posted by ysatti on (December 12, 2012, 16:39 GMT)

I got the feeling that England can do it with ease. They are in great confidence and good thing is Bell also getting in touch... which will fill the rest of Gap in Batting Side. Johny should defiantly replace Patel.

Good Luck England

Posted by   on (December 12, 2012, 16:38 GMT)

end of tendulkar?....no way!!

Posted by   on (December 12, 2012, 16:34 GMT)

Try this team for future 1.Abhinav Mukund 2.Ajinkya Rahane 3.Cheteshwar Pujara 4.Virat Kohli(c) 5.Manoj Tiwary 6.Ravindra Jadeja 7.Dinesh Karthik 8.Ravichandran Ashwin 9.Ishant Sharma 10.Pragyan ojha 11. Umesh yadav 12.ambati rayudu 13.ashok dinda 14.Wriddhiman Saha . They may loose some matches but they will comeback as a team finally.

Posted by   on (December 12, 2012, 16:33 GMT)

This is hardly an acheivment,beating India,s worst ever test team.The hype is absolutely disgraceful,Cook should have been caught on 17 in the last test. In the 2nd test Cook should have been given out LBW;an average batsman at best.

Posted by 402_Navata_Complex on (December 12, 2012, 16:29 GMT)

For the good of Indian Cricket (in the long term), I am sincerely hoping India would LOSE this test series. This would (hopefully) result in major changes in the Indian cricket team, selection criteria, atmosphere. Most importantly, the "key figures" mentioned in the article above should be shown the door. Good Luck England!!!

Hopefully, I am not the only Indian fan voicing this opinion!

Posted by phoenixsteve on (December 12, 2012, 16:28 GMT)

All England can do is play their best cricket and this couple with a won toss should be more than enough? It's a shame about Finn but PLEASE let's not go back to Bresnan (sounds like Back to Bedlam!) If England have learned anything during this series it has to be the need for specialists? Quicks that are quick and spinners who give the ball a rip combine with specialist batters. Hopefully we'll see some Onions in our side which should spice it up for India.... COME ON ENGLAND!!!

Posted by   on (December 12, 2012, 16:23 GMT)

By picking A.Rahane and Piyush Chawala in the XI of the team,INDIA will certainly bounce back to beat England to bring back the lost glory.Let us all say this together in order to achieve this objective and make India feel proud.

Sethu.

Posted by bmans on (December 12, 2012, 16:18 GMT)

If India has to go with 3 spinners, i would rather prefer Jadeja over Chawla. Not just because Jadeja can bat, but because he is a better bowler than Chawla.

If they have to go with 2 spinners, then Ajinkya should be prefered for No. 6 position and Dinda in place of Zak.

Posted by   on (December 12, 2012, 16:14 GMT)

Sadly this will be last match as test captain for MS Dhoni!

Posted by CricFanster on (December 12, 2012, 16:14 GMT)

Well first line says it all .............. Its India on the receiving end and they must come up with a excellent performance to end this dismal year on high .

Posted by CricFanster on (December 12, 2012, 16:12 GMT)

India must play for Win ......its do or die situation right now and hope it brings best out of the players.I hope MS Dhoni will be lucky again to win the Toss lol even though results were bad as India didn't do well in first innings of both the Tests . Pujara ( I want him to end this year on high note ) and Kohli should score big which will earn him some confidence after low scores in this particular series . I believe Indians will take 2-2 result any day lol because that's the only option left.... Gambhir needs to go after this series .... his attitude,his running b/w the wickets, body language, selfishness etc. etc are things that should make him sack by selectors . Sachin well idk what to say about him because whole world is Commenting on him right now lol some people are so harsh :( and some are still hopeful of him coming back after this extended lean patch . I think England will look for Draw if not Win after being this close to win the series .

Posted by   on (December 12, 2012, 16:07 GMT)

Gul luck England you can do it. If Bell comes to normal performance level its my dream (most beautiful shot maker against spinners in present english team)

Posted by ManzurManutd on (December 12, 2012, 16:04 GMT)

Nowadays I'm not surprised at all that land of spinners can't produce a decent wrist spinners. I just can't call them spinners who spin the bowl on a favorable track . Actually India kills the system of producing and nurturing talents . IPL is the soul culprit here. Apart from Ashwin , haven't seen anybody came out of this shorter version.

Posted by Nampally on (December 12, 2012, 16:00 GMT)

I don't often support Jadeja but this time the #6 spot must go to Jadeja. His form is terrific - 2 triple centuries in one month. Even in the last Match he took 4 Wkts. in each innings + scored 60 odd runs in both the innings. He is easily the best fielder in this Indian team - sadly lacking in fielding.Despite being out of form Chawla is in the squad & it means he will play in XI. So India will go with Ishant + 3 specialist spinners +Jadeja as bowlers. It depends how intelligently Dhoni uses these 4 spinners. He must stop Cook's sweep shot + square drives boundaries thru' field placing & bowling to field set.India cannot afford to give Cook "lives". He scored heavily but each of his innings had early chances missed. Second point is discipline & patience by Indian batting - Ashwin's innings should be a great lesson for the likes of Tendulkar, Kohli & Pujara- how to shoulder responsibility with focus.It is crucial for these 3 to get big scores!Good start from Gambhir & Sehwag essential.

Posted by GerrardLK on (December 12, 2012, 15:58 GMT)

End Result- INDIA will lose no matter how much you pre discuss of this match.

Posted by 2.14istherunrate on (December 12, 2012, 15:56 GMT)

Please not Bresnan-he looks like a carthorse amongst thoroughbreds.

Posted by Arapode on (December 12, 2012, 15:47 GMT)

My Team for India would be as follows: sehwag,gambhir,pujara,tendulkar,kohli,dhoni,jadeja,ashwin,chawla,Ishant,Awana. Jadeja would serve as an extra batsmen in addition to left arm spin and chawla would bring variation with his leg spin plus 2 seames ensure that we are not short on bowling attack should the pitch have pace and bounce and Awana would bring the unknown X-Factor. It would be risky to go with 3 spinners and a lone pacer..

Posted by stormy16 on (December 12, 2012, 15:46 GMT)

An Indian loss at home would be inconceivable but so is an Indian win right now. Nothing short of an Indian win would acceptable for India and a loss would leave them reeling with plenty of soul searching. For Eng they need to bat once well for the series and I would imagine a betting man would put his money on that. Eng have been so convincing with both bat and ball its hard to see how India would climb out of this hole but surely they have to. Its amazing India were talking about a 4-0 at the begining of the series and are now struggling to hold out for a draw.

Posted by Dhanno on (December 12, 2012, 15:39 GMT)

Piyush Chawla in the team. Now where should we start? Well his last First class game could be a good place. This game was played at VCA ground Nagpur (venue for 4th test), against Vidarbha, which is a second tier Ranji team. Chawla bowled 32 overs for 108 runs and got 1 wicket! Wait it gets better, that was the number 11 batsman who chawla dismissed for the last wicket of inning. Want some more ? Well, amongst all the bowlers (from both sides) who completed more than 5 overs in the first innings, Chawla had the highest economy rate. UP have kaif and raina in their line-up and anyday a better batting side than vidharbha, still this guy leaks runs at higher rate.

So lets recap, Chawla played at same ground where 4th test will be played, against a second tier Ranji opposition, bowled more than 32 overs conceding 108 runs at highest economy rate among all bowlers for a solitary wicket of a tailender.

It must be a hard job being indian selector. Well Good luck India :)

Posted by dhoni_sachin_fan on (December 12, 2012, 15:35 GMT)

I thought Rahane and Harbhajan were sent back to play Ranji Trophy. Contrasting news from cricinfo. I think the same side mentioned above will play, but for 1 change. Jaddu playing instead of Rahane.

Posted by   on (December 12, 2012, 15:27 GMT)

Hopefully they will drop Gambhir and Ashwin..

Posted by krvij on (December 12, 2012, 15:27 GMT)

I wish India loses this test and lose the series, so that Dhoni will be sacked. The dressing room atmosphere is great may be because they dont care, and their attitude was visible to everyone. Even now in a latest interview on the eve of the test match, he says " If you ask big questions depending on two Test matches, it may come in the future too when we lose two Test matches that youngsters should go out and somebody else should come in". This guy does not remember the thrashing they got in Eng and Aus. Oh God pls save Indian cricket, people who matter doesn't seem to!!

Posted by LeftBrain on (December 12, 2012, 15:25 GMT)

Not a fan of either India or England, so couldnt care less who wins............ but from cricket point of view, England looks like a side with confidence, purpose and determination while India is back to what they used to be through out their cricketing history bar a few years in last decade, sloppy, below average and still full of themselves. if they dont dish out a twisted pitch, I dont see a single reason how India can win this match. For selection, I think it is high time Sachin and Dhoni leaves test cricket. Sachin because he has been a great batsman and see him struggle against average bowlers likes Swann and Panesar and Anderson is not a good sight, and Dhoni because he is highly over rated and past his honeymoon long time ago.

Posted by SDHM on (December 12, 2012, 15:17 GMT)

I'd be hugely surprised if Bresnan played. Looked better than Broad at Ahmedabad, but that isn't saying much - he at least managed to pull back the run rate after a disastrous start, but never looked threatening at any point. I feel if the pitch breaks up & offers uneven bounce, Onions, with his wicket to wicket approach, could become a real handful if the ball starts keeping low, & if it doesn't he at least has the control to keep it tight and therefore keep the pressure on. I don't think England will go in with 3 spinners in a 4 man attack, but there is the slight possibility (and with England, it will be a very slight one!) of Tredwell replacing Patel, which would be a bold move. Win a toss for once please, Captain Cook!

Posted by bobmartin on (December 12, 2012, 15:13 GMT)

I for one am very much looking forward to it... so much so that I'll be up at the crack of sparrowfart each morning to watch. Obviously I'm hoping for an England victory, but these days it will depend on which India turns up.. the limited overs players or the test side. Either way England can go home with their heads high.. Despite the forecasts of revenge for India's drubbing in England, the taunts that England cant play on sub-continental pitches and the predictions of a whitewash, the pitches prepared to the Dhoni recipe, plus the absence of any meaningful warm-up games, the pressure is now all on India.. because only England can win the series.

Posted by   on (December 12, 2012, 15:08 GMT)

The dressing room atmosphere is looking great? That, as Mr. Gavaskar has pointed out, is one of the problems. Hitting new lows seems to have no effect on this team. I guess the IPL affects one's sense of time and history in more profound ways than just losing the patience to bat two days.

Posted by Natraja on (December 12, 2012, 15:06 GMT)

Drop Gambhir for Rahane , he is black sheep in the team who is playing politics. Bring in Ravinder Jadeja in place of Yuvraj. Even though I would like to play him at number 4 so that Pujara can have a trusted partner. Ravinder has just scored two triple tons and is in good form. Sachin should bat at 7-8 that will help him score some runs against tired bowlers. Sachin needs some runs to get his confidence back.

Posted by   on (December 12, 2012, 15:06 GMT)

Unless Indian team set aside their 'attitude' related personal issues, winning this Test as well as other matches are completed ruled out.

Posted by   on (December 12, 2012, 15:04 GMT)

indians ENG wil win end of ur test cricket and watch SL vs AUS how SK will do..

Posted by Triple_A on (December 12, 2012, 15:01 GMT)

Didnt think I would say this, but another loss for India is the only way the system will be shaken up in India. A win here, and everything will be back to square one... To move forward and somehow integrate players like Rahane, Badrinath, Mukund, Saha, Pankaj Singh etc, the present lot has to be dispersed. Donno if this will be the last time we see the great Master walk out to bat...I would think he would play the ODI leg for the 50 hundreds milestone and then retire...lets see!

Posted by Dhanvanth on (December 12, 2012, 14:56 GMT)

I predict an England win! Dhoni should lose this test so that he may face the axe:) hope the pitch is lively(with good bounce and carry throughout), so that match is evenly poised! remember the last time when dale steyn tormented the great Indian lineup with his reverse swing and south Africa winning the match by an innings! Expecting an encore from jimmy this time!

Posted by Front-Foot-Lunge on (December 12, 2012, 14:53 GMT)

England have proved they are the better team.

England have proved they have the better spinners and fast bowlers (who'd have thought a couple years ago that Zaheer Khan would join that long list of cricketers who have had their careers ended buy England).

Question is: Will they do justice to themselves on what is expected to be a minefield of a pitch come days 4 & 5? We will see.

Posted by   on (December 12, 2012, 14:48 GMT)

I hate to say it but 3-1 looks on the card. India will fight but there are questions about their ability and temparment. If 2-2 happens , it will sadly be a bad result for india as everything else in the last 18 months will be put down as a rough patch and things will continue as before. Dhoni will remain as captian and Sachin will continue for few more months. As an aside ,this is what happens when cement manufacturers and businessmen run cricket. BTW , What does N Srinivasan has had anything to do with Cricket. Why on earth he is heading Indian cricket. What does he gain from it ? I am sure these questions will never be answered. But we all can guess, cant we ...?

Posted by ShortGully on (December 12, 2012, 14:43 GMT)

If Dhonii wins this. Then he will be lucky or Flat Track bully.. IF he loses it, hang him immediately.. same goes with SRT..! Yeah its India, we have one Team and one million selectors..!

Posted by   on (December 12, 2012, 14:43 GMT)

IS Dhoni on the same planet as the rest of us? His last comment: "We have kept it really close, and the good thing is we are enjoying cricket, When it comes to dressing-room atmosphere, it's looking great." What close "10 wickets and 7 wickets" that's a thrashing in everyone else's book. I think it's time BCCI spent some good money and put Dhoni in a hallucination institution. It's gonna be 3-1 tomorrow and the transformation of English cricket will be complete. India on the other hand will be dealt a severe blow, but knowing Dhoni he'll come out with something like: "I think we performed really well, it was a really, really close series. It was only the number 2 that seperated us. That's not much" LOL..Come on the BARMY ARMY.....

Posted by luvcricket_new_gen on (December 12, 2012, 14:42 GMT)

It is hard to be convinced that India will bounce back, such is the confidence level among players. Even if we lose, I am sure Dhoni, Sachin and Duncan will stay on. This is because of the influences! Good luck team India, show intent

Posted by Biggest_Cricket_Fan on (December 12, 2012, 14:38 GMT)

Mark my words. I expect Ravindra Jadeja to be in at No. 6 position. It is not because he scored 3 Triple Centuries but he is Dhoni's teammate in CSK. We all know how "well" he performed at the international stage. That is the reason why "bowler" such as Ashwin and even Yuvi was brought back to the team. Yuvi is not part of CSK but he is great friend of MSD.

Posted by Haseeb.Rehman on (December 12, 2012, 14:37 GMT)

Well truly a momentous occasion this for England.. They can regain their supremacy over India after being whitewashed by them in the ODI series last year.. Tendulkar, and to some extent, BCCI will have to make some difficult decisions after this test match regardless of the result of the match because as far as England are concerned, having won two consecutive matches and being in a position of not losing this series, they surely have the upper hand. Hope that team India finds their winning ways and draw the series, or else, It would be very difficult for some of the seniors in the Indian team including Captain COOL!!!

Posted by BDforever on (December 12, 2012, 14:37 GMT)

Another humiliation thrashing is on the way. You know who gets thrashed lol

Posted by   on (December 12, 2012, 14:33 GMT)

the answer is simple............... no.........

Posted by Full-Blooded-Wallop on (December 12, 2012, 14:32 GMT)

Good luck India! We true fans are always with you ,irrespective of the results. Just show the character.

Posted by BoonBoom on (December 12, 2012, 14:24 GMT)

Yes, they will. Series will end 2-2 and we shall all see typical reversal of media attitude and general public opinion for never ending praising of indian team and all those uncles and grand pas playing in indian team well before I was even born!!!

Posted by Abhaybhai on (December 12, 2012, 14:21 GMT)

Indian Squad for tomorrow: Gambhir, Sehwag, Pujara, Sachin, Kohli, Jadeja, Dhoni, Ojha, Ashwin, Ishant sharma, Dinda

Posted by Cpt.Meanster on (December 12, 2012, 14:18 GMT)

In spite of India's predicament, I feel this one is too close to call. The toss will be irrelevant as England have shown. I hope India loses the toss for a change. We have won most of our games by losing the toss when we became the no.1 team between 2009 and 2011. Also, the fact there is no Zaheer Khan or Yuvraj Singh makes me feel better. I hope Parwinder Awana makes his debut. Either way, this match could well define Indian test cricket's future for the next decade. Definitely the last game for Tendulkar as a player and MS Dhoni as captain. NO WAY, these 2 are going to survive past this.

Posted by   on (December 12, 2012, 14:14 GMT)

For the revival of the almost "dead" Indian test cricket I sincerey wish for an English win... Achievements in T20 and ODI cricket don't make oneself a test cricketer... :(

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Andrew McGlashanClose
Andrew McGlashan Assistant Editor Andrew arrived at ESPNcricinfo via Manchester and Cape Town, after finding the assistant editor at a weak moment as he watched England's batting collapse in the Newlands Test. Andrew began his cricket writing as a freelance covering Lancashire during 2004 when they were relegated in the County Championship. In fact, they were top of the table when he began reporting on them but things went dramatically downhill. He likes to let people know that he is a supporter of county cricket, a fact his colleagues will testify to and bemoan in equal quantities.
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