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The momentum is with India going into the 4th Test (Getty Images)

A day before the Nottingham Test began Virat Kohli sat in the press conference, fielding various questions about uplifting morale in the dressing room. His face was all serious, his demeanour was stern, and why not, for India were 2-0 down in the series. Meanwhile, Joe Root happily talked about the opportunity to close out the series at Trent Bridge.

Ten days is a long time when it comes to cricket (or anything for that matter), and as the setting for this series shifted from Nottingham to Southampton over this duration, the change in mood could also be amply judged. On Wednesday then, a day before the fourth Test begins with the contest now pegged at 2-1, Kohli sat with a smile on his face. It is what confidence from a 203-run win can do.

And it reflects in the entire Indian camp, as if they have been rejuvenated with a new energy at the end stretch of a long tour. In that sense, victory at Trent Bridge was the perfect injection. Imagine a 3-0 loss, and these last two weeks would have been nearly unbearable. Instead, there is a renewed purpose among the Indian team that they can make history here.

No, not the one that will see them replicate what was done in 2007 or further back in 1986. That marker was last laid in 1936-37 when Sir Don Bradman’s Australia came from 2-0 behind to win the series 3-2. Yes, it is too early to talk about such a result in the current context. However, the underlying point is regarding the belief among this Indian team that such a feat can be achieved.

This confidence is built on a better batting performance in the third Test, almost as if the batsmen have unearthed the secret to scoring runs here. It wasn’t a hidden treasure, mind you. It was about adaptation, even for those who have been here since early June, playing the white-ball formats. It isn’t easy to go from hitting out in ODIs and T20Is to waiting in Tests for the red ball to arrive at you. The first two Tests were all about that time consumption coming to terms with this harsher truth.

More than batting though, India’s confidence is built on their bowling line-up. It is a stunning reversal in terms of expectations – when was the last time the Indian pace attack devoured entire headlines leading to an overseas Test, so much so that the batsmen were pushed to the background? This is what the likes of Ishant Sharma, Mohammed Shami, Jasprit Bumrah and Hardik Pandya were able to achieve together at Nottingham.

That victory allowed Ravi Shastri to thump his chest in the post-match conference, and deem them the ‘best’ bowling line-up in Indian cricket history. That same win also allowed Kohli to breath easy, for his side are still alive in this contest. Most of all, it allowed the skipper to express conviction looking ahead to the game. India might need another two wins to completely salvage this series, but what different position would you rather be in?

Compare that to Root’s demeanour at the Rose Bowl, and it makes for some wonderment. Here was the English skipper, 2-1 ahead, yet still having to tear up plans completely for the batting line-up has completely failed. He has to stitch up a new bowling attack because back-to-back Tests have hurt his bowlers’ fitness. He has to project a positive mood, drawing confidence from England’s last win here over India in 2014.

In that sense, England are indeed in the same boat. Four years ago they arrived at Southampton after suffering a soul-crushing defeat on a green-top at Lord’s. They turned things around, and went on to win the series 3-1. That victory allows England to dream, even if they are clutching at straws.

If the world’s number one Test side can envisage a 3-2 win in this series, surely England are allowed to think of a 4-1 end-result. However, it says a lot about how the current series is balanced, when the hosts have to look back four years and gain some semblance of confidence going into this fourth Test.