Daijiworld Media Network
Kolkata, Dec 5 : The third cricket test match between India and England has started in Kolkata on Wednsday, December 5.
India once again won the toss and elected to bat.
Umpires: Rod Tucker(Aus), Kumar Dharmasena(SL)Third Umpire: Vineet Kulkarni(Ind)Match Referee: Jeff Crowe(NZ)
Gautam Gambhir, Virender Sehwag, Cheteshwar Pujara, Sachin Tendulkar, Virat Kohli, Yuvraj Singh, MS Dhoni (c & wk), Ravichandran Ashwin, Ishant Sharma, Zaheer Khan, Pragyan Ojha
Alastair Cook (c), Nick Compton, Jonathan Trott, Kevin Pietersen, Ian Bell, Samit Patel, Matt Prior (wk), Graeme Swann, James Anderson, Steven Finn, Monty Panesar, Stuart Broad
Match preview :
The stage is set for the ultimate showdown. A thumping win for the Indians at Motera followed by the KP (Kevin Pietersen) and MP (Monty Panesar) show at the Wankhede - England fighting back with grandeur and giving the hosts a taste of their own medicine. The drama now moves to the grandest stage of them all - the Indian Colosseum - to the breathtaking and imposing Eden Gardens in the historic city of Kolkata.
Cheteshwar Pujara has been the knight in shining armour for India. With two tons in the first two Tests, he has taken over as the New Wall after the retirement of Rahul Dravid. He will be the pivot around which the other more attacking batsmen will structure their innings.
Dhoni is hoping that the openers - Sehwag and Gambhir would come good together. Viru had hit a ton at Motera while Gambhir made a fighting fifty in the second innings in a lost cause at the Wankhede. With Murali Vijay knocking on the doors, there is enough pressure and motivation for the Delhi duo to come good.
Virat Kohli's form has been a cause of worry for the Indian camp but many feel he is just a knock away from his best. The scrutiny would be on Sachin Tendulkar and he would know that he needs to make a difference, especially in the context and aftermath of Ponting's retirement. Yuvraj Singh would get another chance to prove that he is not a misfit in this format. With Ajinkya Rahane in the squad, the southpaw is running out of time.
The bowling let India down in the 2nd Test and it would be interesting to see how the likes of Ashwin and Ojha bounce back after the mauling they received at the hands of Pietersen and Cook. Ashwin, in particular has been very disappointing and needs to deliver in spinner-friendly conditions in Kolkata. Ishant Sharma will, in all certainty replace the out of sorts Harbhajan Singh.
England showed great character and spirit in the way they fought back to level the series. In Alistair Cook, they have a captain who leads by example and performance. He is currently in the form of his life, having scored 4 tons in 4 Tests as captain.
The middle order looks solid with Trott at No.3 and the flamboyant Pietersen, who played the innings of his life, at No.4. Ian Bell would come in for Jonny Bairstow. Samit Patel and Matt Prior would add depth to their lower-order.
Graeme Swann and Monty Panesar, who took 19 of the 20 Indian wickets at Mumbai, would be relishing to bowl at the Eden Gardens. England would unleash another trump card - Steven Finn who would bring with him extra pace and bounce that would trouble the Indian batsmen. James Anderson would be the other seamer while Stuart Broad, who has been in rather indifferent form on the tour, is likely to sit out.
It was supposed to be a contest between the English batsmen and the Indian spinners. But the tides have turned and the script has been reversed. The more riveting encounter and the one that could ultimately decide the outcome of the match, would be between the Indian batting line-up and Panesar and Swann.
India would have to guard against Steven Finn and would hope their very own, Ishant Sharma makes the English dance on their toes. Will the Indians bounce back after being tamed at the Wankhed? Will they rise to the occasion or will they again succumb to the spin and pressure of expectation? Will the Indian spinners outshine their English counterparts?
Was the Wankhede an aberration? Do the English have it in them to repeat their heroics or will they be overwhelmed by the giant stands, the massive crowds and the overwhelming atmosphere of the Eden Gardens? Enough has been said and made about the pitch and the curator. Let the real drama unfold!