Indian tigers hunt for an English meal!

You know what happens to a tiger when it tastes blood after a really long time? It goes on a rampage. The Indians are in a pretty similar situation. They’ve tasted blood after close to 3 decades and the consequences are bound to be ominous. That however, should have sent that warning bells blazing for the hosts, who are under immense pressure to stage a turnaround.

Hello ladies and gentlemen, it’s almost time for the action of the third Test between India and England in the Investec Test Series to unfold.

Rewind

This series is two-match old. While that wouldn’t mean a lot in terms of any other series, this one, is very different, evidently. While the first Test saw an array of great performances, it didn’t yield desired results, neither for the hosts, nor for the visitors. While the on-field action was drab, of the field, there was a lot happening to compensate for the lacklustre affair. India’s all-rounder Ravindra Jadeja and English pacer James Anderson got embroiled in a bitter battle, almost on the verge of blows, with the Englishman, reportedly pushing the Indian. While there was a hearing that found Jadeja guilty of Level 1, as against the Level 2 complaint registered against him, he was fined 50% of his match fees, something that has irked the Indian management. Jimmy’s verdict is yet to be delivered. Steering away from controversies, the Indians emerged stronger after the entire incident, roaring to a win, that came after 28 years of wait.

Right here. right now

Now, with the background clearly established, let’s get going with what happens today. India lock horns with England f0r the third time in this tour and much has changed since they arrived. The look like the stronger team, clearly, with almost all their experiments paying off in a big fashion. The find of this tour has been Bhuvaneshwar Kumar, who’s added so much depth to the Indian batting line-up. However, here’s a word of caution for the Indian skipper MS Dhoni — do not overuse him and do not set great expectations from the guy. He’s fired two rounds of ammunitions already — both as a batsman and as a bowler. It would be a folly to promote him up the order. The reason is simple. He might be one of the best weapons in the Indian kitty, but it is way too soon to rest all the responsibility on his shoulders. He’s just budding; he needs some experience and most importantly, some time cushion to display some more fireworks. He’s a frontline bowler; let him play that primary role before cramping the duties of a batsman on him.

The Indian middle order has been fairly inconsistent throughout, with one or two isolated performances to act as the saving grace. It needs to pick up and pick up soon, because the English team is watching them like a hawk.

For England, the woes refuse to stop piling up. Be it Captain Cook’s form, or the player’s conduct, nothing seems to be clicking for them. This, however, also serves as a great opportunity for them to set their records straight. I mean, there’s only been two matches so far. There’s still a lot of cricket left for England to bounce back. Cooks needs redemption; he needs to grab this opportunity to steer his sinking ship away from the storm and establish himself as a leader of the pack. It’s time for him to score and do everything right so that he could set an example for others to follow. England also has battles against fitness issues, with Matt Prior topping the list. Even Stuart Broad has issues, but he’s likely to play nevertheless.

The odds

Team India definitely looks like the favourite, but England could very well spring a surprise. This match, marking halfway of the series, is critical, because a win could turn things around for either side.

 

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