How fortunes have changed for England. On the 21st of July Alistair Cook’s captaincy was on life support, England were without a win in 10 tests, having just lost to India at Lords’ for just the second time in 25 years, with three batsmen out hooking into a leg side packed with boundary fielders and Ravi Jadeja running out James Anderson in a macabre showing of pure haplessness.
Go forward 3 weeks and England head into the final test of the series at the Oval as overwhelming favourites for the win, having sorted their spin bowling and wicketkeeping for the foreseeable future, and have even regained a winning thread of sorts as they prepare to play their last test match for nearly a year.
And while in two short weeks Cook’s men have carried all the qualities that bought them to the top of the ICC rankings, MS Dohni’s men have reverted back to the 2011 shambles that bought about a seismic change in the batting lineup. India had looked very evenly matched with England through the first two tests – the two times this series that they’ve had Ishant Sharma in their bowling attack – but at Nottingham and Old Trafford they have been a mixture of hapless and hopeless, completely unable to complete with England in either batting or bowling.
Both thrashings and all three results have come on a pitch that is receptive towards bowlers – especially in terms of the carry that the ball generates – and while The Oval’s likely to have less of that natural bounce, neither that, or the toss, should stop England.
India have now lost their last 30 wickets in little more than 150 overs and at Old Trafford, managed a maximum of two sessions with the bat; For comparison, on that same surface England reached 367; Much of this coming without their second best bowler as Stuart Broad’s broken nose robbed them of a bowler who had provided them with 16 wickets throughought the series.
India won their first test outside Asia in 15 attempts at Lord’s but their last 19 away tests have bought just that one win with 12 losses and only 5 draws including an innings defeat the last time they played here at the Oval; This is a much younger side but the same flaws have been readily exposed throughought this series and England should be well upto sealing the series in style.
5 pts England (5/4 general)