• Yashraj

IND vs ENG:”India will be more determined and intensity on the Oval” - Virat Kohli

IND vs ENG:3rd Test, Headingley

India’s loss in the third Test at Headingley on Saturday has allowed England to level the series 1-1, with the fourth and fifth matches at The Oval and Manchester turning into deciders. To bag the series, India must win both Tests and go 3-1 up, a feat they have never achieved in England. In the 19 Test series India have played in England before this, only once have they won two Tests in a series. India beat England 2-0 in a three-match series in 1986.

India and England have locked horns on 12 occasions at the Oval. While England has won 4 matches, India has won just one. As many as 7 matches have ended in a draw. The first match between both the sides was played at the ground back in 1936, which the hosts won by nine wickets. The last match between both the sides was played in the year 2018 – a match that England won by 118 runs. However, for India, KL Rahul and Rishabh Pant both scored valiant centuries in the fourth innings and this should give both batsmen some confidence ahead of the game.

Skipper Virat Kohli admitted that India succumbed to scoreboard pressure after England obliterated India’s batting in the first session of the fourth day of the third Test. The Indian batsmen, who had resisted on the third day, felt like a pack of cards on the fourth day, as the team collapsed to an innings and 76-run defeat.

4th Test Playing11

If India are to make the ongoing Test series their most successful in England, they must make changes to their playing 11. As knee-jerk and alarming as it may sound, the team management should drop Rahane. While he has scored the second most-highest runs (630) among the middle-order trio since January 2020, India’s vice-captain has been inconsistent. Other than a fighting century at the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG), to turn the tide in India’s favour in that series, Rahane has had a string of low scores.

In the current series, he has had no answers to the swinging ball, getting caught behind or in the slips multiple times. Rahane has scored 95 runs in five innings at an average of 19. The No. 5 batting position is a crucial link between the top and the lower-order, but Rahane has been unable to bridge that gap.

India's senior-most pacer Ishant Sharma may not find place in the playing XI in the remaining two Tests against England after an indifferent show in the third match, which the visitors lost by an innings and 76 runs. Ishant's figures of 22-0-92-0 were worst among the Indian pacers as England scored 432 runs but more importantly, the veteran looked jaded. The gingerly run-up never transformed into the bustling Ishant that the fans are accustomed to watch.

Skipper Virat Kohli refused to speak about Ishant's performance after the match but did indicate that there will be changes keeping in mind the workload of the pace bowlers.

Meanwhile, all-rounder Ravindra Jadeja's knee scan report hasn't revealed any significant damage but off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin looks favourite to start in the fourth Test at the Oval from September 2. It is still not clear whether India will plan to go in with two specialist spinners but Ashwin, who had a great county game for Surrey at the same venue won't be benched at least in this game.

You can’t become a bad team overnight: Virat Kohli

Nothing really went Team India’s way during the third Test against England at Headingley Stadium in Leeds. While the visiting team suffered batting collapses in both innings, the bowlers couldn’t do much either. Although the defeat was undoubtedly humiliating, Indian skipper Virat Kohli is optimistic about making a comeback.

Following the conclusion of the game, Kohli admitted his side didn’t play brilliantly. The veteran also said that his players aren’t pleased with the way the game panned out. However, the 32-year-old strongly said that one dismal performance doesn’t make India a bad team. Kohli even guaranteed that this defeat won’t hamper the team’s morale and they would put up a better show in the next game.

"With one loss I cannot assess or start analysing that as captain," he said. "Definitely the management is not going to start that either. We are not failing consistently as a team. Yes we failed this game and we take responsibility for that.

Kohli sought to take the heat off the batting group. "They have done that [understand the situation and find ways to score runs] in the first two games," he said. "And even in this game, batsmen got in good positions to play a big knock. We were not able to do that but that doesn't mean we will not be able to do that. When you step onto the field, you are not looking to prove to people that you can play. You obviously want to do the best you can and play big innings. The reason why we won the second Test or were in a position to win the first was because guys stepped up and got the job done for the team.

"The things we need to reflect on are the mistakes that happened. As I have said in the past, when we have lost, we have played sessions that have been way below par… not up to the standard that we know we can play. Those are the areas that we need to plug in. Like this morning, we need to look at how we can control that tide and find ways out of difficult situations.

These are the only things. You cannot become a bad team overnight. If a win doesn't guarantee you a win in the next game, a loss too doesn't guarantee anything. It all depends on your mindset. I can assure you that we will arrive [at the Oval for the next Test on Thursday] with a lot more determination and intensity than we did in this game." the veteran asserted.