AFP
India are currently leading England by 3-0 AFP

England have been romped over at Mohali, triumphed at Visakhapatnam and walked-over at Mumbai by India in the ongoing 5-Test series. India, led by the exuberant Virat Kohli, have been on a path-breaking run since the beginning of 2016, and will want to finish the year with an unprecedented high. England, on the other hand, have had a decent year themselves baring the Bangladesh and India tours. They have won a series in South Africa and the home series versus Sri Lanka, and have drawn with Pakistan at home. The Pakistan result would have dampened their confidence; after all they had been leading the 2-1.

The fifth and final Test of the series is to be played at Chennai, a happy hunting ground for the home side. India, in the 31 Tests played here, have come out victorious in 13, while England have won 3 out of 8 Tests in Chennai. India clearly hold a massive psychological edge over their opponents, but knowing England, they will want to make a lasting impression. This can just be Alastair Cook s last hurray in India, with some reports suggesting that he may call in a day on his captaincy stint. At the end of Mumbai Test, Cook did voice his opinions on Joe Root s candidacy.

FULL CRICKET SCORECARD: India vs England, 5th test at Chennai

India have been spot on in most of the Tests, apart from Rajkot, which was a letdown. England, to be fair, have struggled with fitness, form and application of their players. Injuries to Stuart Broad, Haseeb Hameed, Zafar Ansari, James Anderson and Chris Woakes at various points have had demoralizing effect on the team against an immovable Team India. Broad bowled his heart out at Visakhapatnam, while Hameed showed valour during his outing at Mohali.

England s root cause of concern has been Cook, both as captain and as batsman. Cook s captaincy has looked uninspiring to say the least. His form has been on the downward spiral since his 54 at Vizag. Cook s inability to pick the right playing XI has been heavily criticised by cricketing pundits. Their selection has been baffling in the last few Tests, picking pace bowlers on a spinning wicket and spinners on a seaming wicket.

England should opt to play extra batsmen and another spinner for the Chennai Test, with high chances of the pitch being underprepared due to the recent cyclone. The younger Liam Dawson should get a nod ahead of Gareth Batty, while resting the aged and exhausted Anderson in a dead-rubber Test may be a good idea. Broad should come in the side if fit, replacing the underutilised Woakes. England can also drop Jake Ball and bring in Ben Duckett, just to provide the extra padding in their batting.

India, on the other hand, have a well-oiled playing XI, with only a few check boxes remaining to tick. The opening order conundrum still remains, with KL Rahul still struggling with form and Parthiv Patel s batting order unsure. Kohli, Cheteshwar Pujara and Murali Vijay, cornerstones of the Indian batting line-up, will continue to notch up more records.

The only problem the Indian top-order faces is the lack of clicking as a unit, but the amazing lower-order consisting of Ravichandran Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja and Jayant Yadav have risen to the occasion time and again.

India s other persistent issue has been fielding. Dropped catches have not hurt the Indian team thus far (barring the first session at Rajkot), but it does not take much for luck to change. With their best close-in fielder Ajinkya Rahane still unfit, the likes of Jadeja and Kohli have to step up their catching skills.

India have fewer problems than England, yet face an uphill task to annihilate the visitors and usher in a 4-0 series win. Their spinners, Ashwin, Jadeja and Jayant, will once again be their main weapons, though their new-ball bowlers have been outstanding throughout the series.

England will understandably fight for pride and honour, which will make them a dangerous opponent at Chepauk. All said and done, the fifth and final Test will surely rave up an enthralling competition between an imposing Indian side and a wounded England.

Squads:

India: Virat Kohli (c), Parthiv Patel (wk), Ravichandran Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja, Amit Mishra, Jayant Yadav, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Manish Pandey, Karun Nair, Cheteshwar Pujara, KL Rahul, Ishant Sharma, Murali Vijay, Umesh Yadav.

England: Alastair Cook (c), Jos Buttler (wk), Jonny Bairstow (wk), Joe Root, Ben Stokes, Chris Woakes, Ben Duckett, James Anderson, Stuart Broad, Moeen Ali, Jake Ball, Gary Ballance, Gareth Batty, Liam Dawson, Steven Finn, Keaton Jennings, Adil Rashid.

Time: 09.30 local | 04.00 GMT

(Vishal Mehra is a reporter at CricketCountry, currently tripping on #BlackMirror and #TheFlashS03, enjoying his weekly dose of anime, monthly viewing of sitcoms, daily playing cricket once every few hours, and also venturing into table-tennis. He can be followed on Twitter @capturethecatch)