Home > Features >

India vs England, 5th Test at The Oval: India can still fight back and draw series

Mohammed-Shami-of-India(L)-celebrates-the-wicket-of-Alastair-Cook-of-England
Despite disappointing displays in the last two Tests, India have shown flair in the series too © Getty Images

India put in a very good performance initially in the series, going 1-0 up after the second Test at Lord’s. India may have lost two matches in a row since then, but Shiamak Unwalla feels that the visitors can still bounce back and win the fifth and final match at The Oval.

India do not look like a team that won a famous victory mere weeks ago. The intensity and vigour that usually comes with such a win has been replaced with the tiredness that comes with a couple of spineless defeats. Murali Vijay has failed for two matches in a row. Gautam Gambhir did not have an  auspicious comeback either. Cheteshwar Pujara has continued to baffle his legion of fans with a string of low scores.

Despite their obviously overwhelming shortcomings , India can still turn things around. Gambhir has the determined attitude to fight it out in the middle. Vijay just needs to go back to his reserves of patience and focus on leaving deliveries which are not in his comfort zone. Pujara has not looked out of sorts, despite getting low scores in the last few games. With a little more concentration and application, he should start succeeding again.

And then there is Virat Kohli. He has not been a patch on his usual self. However, according to reports, Kohli has modified his stance a little, and is looking to play much straighter, based on his last few net sessions. While this might not seem to make a huge difference, one is reminded of how Yuvraj Singh turned things around for himself in the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2014.

After looking in terrible form throughout, Yuvraj made a simple adjustment midway through the tournament when he started taking a middle-stump guard rather than a leg-stump guard. That tiny change turned his fortunes around in an astonishing fashion, and Yuvraj went on to play some absolute blinders after that.

Of course, that was IPL, played in India, with a lot of domestic Indian bowlers in operation. But the very fact that a minor change had such a humongous change in a batsman’s fortunes means that if Kohli can get a few off the middle of the bat, his confidence is likely to do the rest.

Ajinkya Rahane has looked consistently good throughout the series. MS Dhoni has batted well, at both No 6 and 7  but his captaincy has been the subject of much ire. Ravichandran Ashwin batted like a charm at Old Trafford, but failed to take a wicket. In a post-match interview though, Ashwin seemed quite confident about his bowling, and even said that he felt he had bowled better than he had in a while. The fact that he is obviously at peace with himself bodes well for India, and is likely to make him a better bowler than he has seemed for a while.

Ravindra Jadeja might have played his final overseas Test for an indefinite period. His batting clearly lacks the responsibility of playing a long innings, and his bowling has been extremely ineffective. Bhuvneshwar Kumar though, has been consistent with the ball, but has failed to replicate the batting form he showed in the first two Tests. That being said, his level head and workman-like attitude makes him an asset for any team.

Varun Aaron was one of the few bright spots in the last Test, and his pace will provide Dhoni with a probing, attacking option at The Oval. Pankaj Singh had an eventful debut but if Ishant Sharma is fit, Pankaj will probably be left out. The return of India’s hero from Lord’s is sure to boost a side that has been low on confidence.

Dhoni’s captaincy was the subject of some debate, but the fact that he elected to bat first in tough conditions having selected two spinners with himself batting at No 6 shows that he is not going in with a defensive mindset. In fact, his positive decision to continue batting at No 6 to accommodate five bowlers backfired only because his front line batsmen failed to do their jobs.

India do not look like a team that won a famous victory mere weeks ago. But if their players can show some intensity and play responsibly, that could all change very soon.

Catch all the coverage of India’s tour to England here

(Shiamak Unwalla is a reporter with Cricket Country. He is a self-confessed Sci-Fi geek and Cricket fanatic who likes to pass his free time by reading books, watching TV shows, and eating food. Sometimes all at the same time. You can follow him on twitter at @ShiamakUnwalla)

South Africa tour of Australia, 2014

Nov 23, 2014 (08:50 IST)   at Sydney

Zimbabwe tour of Bangladesh, 2014

Nov 23, 2014 (12:00 IST)   at Chittagong

India tour of Australia 2014, Practice matches

Nov 24, 2014 (05:29 IST)   at Glenelg, Adelaide

Hong Kong tour of Sri Lanka, 2014

Nov 24, 2014 (10:00 IST)   at Colombo

Pakistan vs New Zealand in UAE, 2014

Nov 26, 2014 (11:30 IST)   at Sharjah

More

Hong Kong tour of Sri Lanka, 2014

Nov 22, 2014  at Dambulla

Match abandoned without a ball being bowled

Hong Kong tour of Sri Lanka, 2014

Nov 21, 2014  at Dambulla

Match abandoned without a ball being bowled

Zimbabwe tour of Bangladesh, 2014

Nov 21, 2014  at Chittagong

Bangladesh won by 87 runs

South Africa tour of Australia, 2014

Nov 21, 2014  at Melbourne

Australia won by 3 wkts

Hong Kong tour of Sri Lanka, 2014

Nov 20, 2014  at Dambulla

Match abandoned without a ball being bowled(Match rescheduled to 21/11/2014)

Photos

Australia vs South Africa, 3rd ODI at Canberra

Videos

SL vs Eng: Buttler practices wicketkeeping in nets

PCB’s biggest challenge is to bring back international cricket to Pakistan: Subhan Ahmad

Tim Southee’s 50 Test sixes and related records

India vs Australia 2014: India may have heavy dose of pace in store in 1st Test

Ross Taylor’s crucial knock against Pakistan will boost his sub-par subcontinent record

Stuart Binny — can the all-rounder be a trump card for India in ODIs?

Australia Australia vs South Africa Australia vs South Africa 2014 India New Zealand New Zealand tour of UAE 2014 New Zealand vs Pakistan New Zealand vs Pakistan 2014 Pakistan Pakistan vs New Zealand Pakistan vs New Zealand 2014 South Africa South Africa tour of Australia 2014 South Africa vs Australia South Africa vs Australia 2014

Bhuvneshwar Kumar says rhythm is key ahead of India’s tour of Australia 2014-15

India vs Australia 2014-15: Harry Conway replaces Gurinder Sandhu in CA XI squad

Pakistan vs New Zealand 2014: Ahmed Shehzad set to return for ODIs; Sohaib Maqsood ruled out

Australia vs India 2014: Shane Watson uninterested in captaining Australia

Pakistan vs New Zealand 2014: New Zealand’s overseas performances have impressed Mike Hesson

Is Dhawal Kulkarni a contender for India’s ICC World Cup 2015 squad?

World Cup 1992: Arjuna Ranatunga masterminds first ever 300-plus ODI chase

India vs Australia 2014: How crucial are India’s practice games ahead of the first Test?

Rohit Sharma: India are serious contenders

South Africa may lose momentum ahead of ICC World Cup 2015

Fan of the Day

Niharika Shah

Niharika Shah

681 Posts | 6 Fans

Video Highlights: Virat Kohli vs Australian cricketers

PSN, 2K, and Windows Live hack claims by DerpTrolling are reportedly a hoax

EPL Table & Results: Points Table and Team Standings at 2014-15 Barclays Premier League Week 12

5 smart tricks to make your grocery shopping healthy

Pat Cummins talks about Australia’s tense victory against South Africa and his comeback

International programme in Animal Husbandry

FC Goa jump to 4th spot in Indian Super League (ISL) table with 2-0 win against FC Pune City

How many calories do bananas have?

Selfie stick listed in Time magazine’s best inventions list

Zee TV launches it’s newest show Satrangi Sasural!

Bhuvneshwar Kumar says rhythm is key ahead of India’s tour of Australia 2014-15

Also on cricketcountry.com

Play Fantasy Cricket & Win

Cash Daily! Click here