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With scores still to settle, an intriguing match ahead
by Asher Wilson


Scorecard:India v England
Event:England in India 2012/13

DateLine: 5th December 2012

 

India v England
3rd Test Match
Match Preview

 

With the series evenly poised at one apiece, the action moves to Eden Gardens, Kolkata, where England and India meet for the third time in a bid to claim an unbeatable lead in the four-match series. For a series which was tilted heavily in favour of the hosts, a lot still remains at stake now in the wake of the Poms' impressive comeback win at Mumbai. After finding themselves completely inadequate to deal with the spin threat of the Indian spinners, the tourists made a statement of intent after beating the opponents at their own game.

 

England's rollicking 10-wicket win was highly unexpected, but it gives the English contingent a psychological edge going into the upcoming clash. Firstly, they have avoided the embarrassment of another whitewash, a result which was the talk of the town before the series began. Moreover, it gives them confidence to build on from the momentum, and get under the skins of the opposition, which will certainly need to rethink their strategy of placing too much emphasis on spin, and on spin conducive tracks.

 

Their task nonetheless, will not be easy. Barring Kevin Pietersen, Alastair Cook Matt Prior to a certain extent, the batting lineup still seems unconvincing on sub-continental decks. Jonathan Trott has had a horror outing with the bat so far, while the lower order has hardly contributed anything of note.

 

The team selection is likely to be tinkered with following the return of Ian Bell. Although his place is not guaranteed, Bell's technical prowess may force the management to include him ahead of Jonny Bairstow or further compel them to omit Samit Patel from the side in order to accommodate two specialist batsmen.

 

That could be a viable option as England look to change their pace attack. The normally indispensable Stuart Broad is expected to make way for Steven Finn, who has finally recovered from his thigh strain. The lanky pacer took four wickets for the England Performance squad, and will be duly slotted in the side, alongside James Anderson.

 

This means that the tail comprises of the two seamers, along with Monty Panesar and Graeme Swann. The latter two have ably led the attack in the series so far, sharing 25 of the 29 Indian wickets and both will be eyeing another fruitful outing.

 

For India, the past eight days have been tough, and all about recovering from what seemed to be a taste of their own medicine. Mahendra Singh Dhoni has again vouched for a rank turner, which led to a public spat with Eden Gardens' curator, Prabir Mukherjee, who termed his demands as immoral.

 

Their much vaunted batting lineup fell crumbling to the spin of Swann and Panesar, leaving their own theories in turmoil. They will be eager to make amends for the embarrassing capitulation at Mumbai and reclaim their dominance at home.

 

Apart from Cheteshwar Pujara and Virender Sehwag, the middle-order has failed to contribute, and all eyes will be pinned on Dhoni and Sachin Tendulkar. The Master Blaster has averaged 15.30 in his last 10 innings, but will need to find a way to get among the run scorers.

 

As for Dhoni, there is no better ground to get back in form. The Indian skipper has scored centuries in his last two outings at this venue and will be keen to fend off the criticism labelled at him.

 

It is likely that the team will shun the policy of three spinners, and include either Ashok Dinda or Ishant Sharma for the upcoming clash to partner Zaheer Khan.

 

With scores still to settle, one expects an intriguing affair between two cricketing giants.

(Article: The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author only.
Copyright © 2012 Pakistan Cricket Website)



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