IND vs ENG 2021：Final game, XI, winner. Start fighting at Old Trafford.
The hosts England will face India in the fifth (and final) game at Old Trafford on Friday. India beat England by 157 runs in the 4th Test at the Oval to take a 2-1 lead in the series. England’s inability to win the final Test would lead to a historic series win for India in England after 13 years.
Former England skipper David Gower has praised Indian captain Virat Kohli for his positive leadership during the fourth Test against the Englishmen at The Oval. According to Gower, Kohli must have maintained a good atmosphere in the dressing room, which is why India were able to fight back.
“We’ve all got to say, ‘Thank You Virat’. The way he’s led Indian team, he’s made them believe; belief is such an important part of sports. Kohli gives his team the belief. Long live Test cricket while we’ve Virat Kohli,” former Australia spinner Shane Warne said in an interview after the fourth Test concluded.
India had crumbled to 121 for 7 on the opening day of The Oval Test before recovering to post 191. Then, after conceding a 99-run first-innings lead, they responded with 466 in the second innings, eventually winning the Test by 157 runs.
Virat Kohli became the first skipper to lead India to three Test wins in England. The tour also marks the first time India have won multiple Tests in the country since 1986.
England quick Mark Wood termed India as “world-class”
“I think it’s (India) a world-class batting lineup. You go throughout the whole line-up and you think, well he is a great player, he is a good player. Rohit Sharma is being brilliant, he is tough to bowl at in any conditions,”
“KL Rahul, I have been really impressed with him, he has left the bowl really well early on and played really solitary and when he gets in, he has played quite beautifully. The openers are two big wickets for us,” said Wood, who has 64 wickets from 21 Tests.
“And (Mohammed) Shami, I have been hugely impressed with him throughout the series. His skill level, his accuracy and it has been tough for batsmen of both sides. It is a good bowling line up but we recognise that we will have to combat as best we can.”
“Then you have got (Cheteshwar) Pujara, (Virat) Kohli, I mean Kohli is one of the toughest players that I have bowled at in any format, so it is a world-class line-up, but if you don’t believe in yourself, if you don’t believe you can get them out then there is no point in playing.
But when you have such a good sort of batting line up to come up against, you have to be right on the money, otherwise, they punish you,” the 31-year-old added.
Virat Kohli lauds the character of Indian players after scripting history at The Oval.
Jasprit Bumrah led the bowling attack like a King and fans couldn’t stop applauding the bowlers. It has to be noted that Rohit Sharma was declared as the player of the match for his stunning ton in the second innings and was declared as the player of the match. Shardul Thakur stood out for his team and aced both the departments of the game.
“The character that the side has shown, to come back from 100 run deficit showed that we were not down and out. I said at Lord’s as well, I am proud of the character, among the top three bowling performances I have witnessed as India captain. It’s relative to what you call flat, the field wasn’t wet like the first three days, the ball got scuffed up nicely, one side heavier, and exploited reverse swing perfectly. We believed as a team that we could get all ten wickets,” said Kohli after winning the game at The Oval.
'Series Not Yet Won, You're Playing for India' - Sunil Gavaskar
Legendary former India batsman Sunil Gavaskar has said Jasprit Bumrah should not be rested for the fifth Test against England as India are yet to win the series. Bumrah has 18 wickets in the series and played a huge part in India’s win in the fourth Test.
But with the IPL and T20 World Cup coming up, it will be interesting to see how his body holds up during the last five days of this long series.
Gavaskar said Mohammed Shami has to return to the XI. Shami was rested last game after a niggle, and Gavaskar said he should walk back in.
“I think in my view, you’re still playing for India and the series is yet to be won. If you are 2-0 up, then rest Bumrah, but we still haven’t won the series so Bumrah has to play,"
“Shami walks into the team. There’s no question about it. The only question is… whether Shami comes in place of Siraj - because he was just off colour in this particular game - so that’s the only area where I see the opportunity to make a chance. But he has to come in, there’s no question about it," Gavaskar said.
Will India make any changes to their playing XI?
It will be interesting to see the make-up of India's playing XI for the final Test in Manchester. Ashwin, the No. 2-ranked Test spinner in the world, is yet to feature in the Test series. With the pitch at Old Trafford likely to suit spinners, it will be interesting to see whether the champion tweaker will finally get a chance in the final game of the five-match rubber.
In the batting line-up, vice-captain Ajinkya Rahane's place could come under the scanner and the likes of Hanuma Vihari may get a chance for the first time in the series. With Shardul Thakur contributing with both bat and ball in the last match and Ravindra Jadeja playing the role of the first-choice spinner brilliantly. It is unlikely that Ashwin will make a comeback to the playing XI unless the pitch is a turner.
It will also be interesting to see if India rests Jasprit Bumrah and Mohammed Siraj for the final Test. Both Bumrah and Siraj have featured in each of the 4 Tests. With a grueling schedule ahead, the management might be tempted to rest the duo and bring back Mohammed Shami and Ishant Sharma, who missed the 4th Test due to niggles.
The fifth Test at the Emirates Old Trafford should be a fitting conclusion to a series that has been a great advertisement for Test cricket. The stakes are high for the final Test match of the series, which promises to be another riveting encounter.