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IND vs ENG, 5th Test preview: India's best chance to win third Test in a series in England for first time in history

05:34 PM Sep 09, 2021 | IANS

Manchester: Team India will have their eyes set on a couple of cricketing records as it takes on England in the fifth and final Test here at the Old Trafford from Friday.

Leading the series 2-1 after four Tests, Virat’s men have a chance to win their third Test in a series in England for the first time in history and their first ever at Old Trafford.

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India have played nine Tests at Old Trafford, out of which four have been lost with Five resulting in a draw.

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India had previously clinched two Tests in England back in 1986 when they returned with a 2-0 series win.

This could be only the third occasion that the Men in blue could bag a Test series victory in England after their success in 1971 - when they won 1-0 -- and 1986.

India might consider a few changes, including resting Jasprit Bumrah who has played four Tests in a row and has a busy season ahead in the Indian Premier League (IPL) and the T20 World Cup.

However, the importance of the final match could force them to include the star right-armer, who played a major role in dismantling the English batting line up on the fifth and final day of the fourth Test with two quick wickets through reverse swing that unsettled the their batters.

India may also mull over resting out-of-form Ajinkya Rahane and replacing him with a middle-order batsman like Mayank Agarwal or Suryakumar Yadav.

Once again, the responsibility of laying a solid foundation for the Indian proceedings will be on the opening pair.

Both openers Rohit Sharma and K.L. Rahul had added 83 for the first wicket in the second innings of the fourth Test to help India overturn a 99-run first innings deficit and lay the base for 466-run second innings total and 367-run lead under which the England batting crumbled.

It will be interesting to see if team India gives a chance to off-spinner R Ashwin in the last game and pair him up with Ravindra Jadeja.

As far as England is concerned, vice-captain and wicketkeeper-batsman Jos Buttler returns to the playing XI.

England might make a change or two in the bowling combination and may drop Craig Overton to bring in Mark Wood.

Left-arm spinner Jack Leach, who has been added to the squad may challenge Cheteshwar Pujara, if he is included in the final playing 11, for the India No. 3 batsman has struggled against left-arm spin in recent Tests.

Squads:

England: Joe Root (captain), Moeen Ali, James Anderson, Jonathan Bairstow, Rory Burns, Jos Buttler, Sam Curran, Haseeb Hameed, Dan Lawrence, Jack Leach, Dawid Malan, Craig Overton, Ollie Pope, Ollie Robinson, Chris Woakes, Mark Wood.

India: Rohit Sharma, K.L. Rahul, Mayank Agarwal, Cheteshwar Pujara, Virat Kohli (captain), Ajinkya Rahane, Hanuma Vihari, Rishabh Pant (wicket-keeper), R. Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja, Axar Patel, Jasprit Bumrah, Ishant Sharma, Mohammed Shami, Mohammed Siraj, Shardul Thakur, Umesh Yadav, Wriddhiman Saha (wicket-keeper), Abhimanyu Easwaran, Prithvi Shaw, Suryakumar Yadav, Prasidh Krishna.

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