India vs. England - Third Test match – Preview
Published: Sunday, December 2, 2012
Updated: Sunday, December 2, 2012 20:12
The series hangs nicely in the balance with both teams with a victory in the two tests till now. England have punched their way back into the series with a thumping win in the second test after being all at sea in the first test. The third game in Kolkata is set up nicely with England having the momentum from the previous game. India will look to bounce back from an embarrassing loss in front of a rowdy and enthusiastic Kolkata crowd.
Sachin Tendulkar: The Perth test will be the last for a legend of the game, Ricky Ponting. This is sure to raise questions as to whether even Sachin is relevant to the team or not. He is definitely the best batsman to have graced the cricketing world, but his form as of late and the inability to face spinners even on Indian tracks does not do him any help. It is very odd that he has shown ineptitude at facing Graeme Swann and Monty Panesar, since he is the person that had caused nightmares for the world’s best spinners on Indian tracks. Shane Warne, Abdul Qadir and Muttiah Muralitharan will definitely vouch for this. But is his experience required or is he holding up a place for a youngster to flourish?? All these are questions only Sachin can answer; preferably with his bat.
Indian Middle Order: The normally reliable Indian order on home wickets seems to have gone out of the window. The lineup that usually had Tendulkar, Sourav Ganguly and VVS Laxman now has Tendulkar, Virat Kohli, Yuvraj Singh and MS Dhoni. Kohli and Yuvraj have proved themselves in the shorter format of the game, but their mental attitude for the longer form of the game leaves a lot to be desired. Their inability to play spin bowling is certainly a big problem that India needs to look at, considering they are supposed to be the best spin players in world cricket. If, by the end of the series, these two don’t come out well, then it may well be time to look at some domestic recruits like Subramaniam Badrinath or Ajinkya Rahane.
Pitch: The curator of the pitch has claimed that the pitch will offer pace and bounce. But since this is a used wicket, the chances are there for the pitch to deteriorate through the course of the game and offer spinners turn and bite off the pitch. It is very odd why MS Dhoni wants turning tracks in the country, especially after he has seen that England can also play spin brilliantly. Alastair Cook and Kevin Pietersen have shown great application combined with elegance to show that they can also play the game.
It looks highly unlikely that any change will be made by the Indian team. If they do decide to make any, it will be likely that Harbhajan Singh will be replaced by Ishant Sharma or Ashok Dinda. It will either be a two spinners-two pacers attack or a three spinners-one pacer attack. The batting lineup will remain the same barring last minute injuries.
England also look set to make a change or two from the last game. Steve Finn’s fitness seems to be in doubt, but it is highly unlikely that he will recover in time for the game. If he does, then he will replace Stuart Broad. Ian Bell is back from his trip back home and he will replace Johnny Bairstow in the middle order. This will lend them some stability and much needed spine.
India is no more a bogey land for England. They have come armed with good spinners and a good batting order. India seems to be showing some fragility in batting and bowling. But, if Sachin Tendulkar fires, then the entire team will be galvanized by the effort and India will look to get a win. Again, so much lies in the hand of the great man. This game will most probably finish a draw, whatever happens.