India Vs England - Final Cricket Test at Oval : Match Preview

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London, Aug 17: Following England storming to a 3-0 lead over India at the weekend, there has been plenty of finger pointing with regards to the failings of the tourists.

Much has been made of England's dominance and India's surprising lack of fight. It has simply been a case of one team outplaying another. The hosts have been stronger in every single department and deserve their status as No.1 test side in the world.

This seems to be a widely accepted view. How long England will stay as No.1 and whether this is just a temporary blip for India remains to be seen though. Before this can be analysed in detail the series moves on to the fourth and final test match.

Prior to India's arrival in England, many would have expected The Oval to be the host of a series defining match. It is a ground that has held some tense occasions over the years, with England's Ashes wins of 2005 and 2009 coming down to the five days at the Oval. This time around though, everything is decided. The series belongs to England and the place at the top of the world rankings belongs to England.

There is of course the matter of India avoiding a whitewash though. They will want to end this miserable series on a positive note, regardless of how little avoiding defeat would affect their end of tour analysis.

It is also an important match for key individuals and it is definitely worth a look at which players in particular will be looking to this test match with as much focus as if it was a series decider.

Ravi Bopara - Having failed at Edgbaston, Bopara has another chance to impress in this match following the continued injury problems of Jonathan Trott. The Essex man has had spells in and out of the team in the last few years and needs to make an impact this time around. Many have questioned his selection and to say he is running out of chances would be somewhat accurate.

Andrew Strauss - Because of his lack of involvement in One Day International or Twenty20 cricket, this match will see England captain Strauss sign off for the summer.

In fact, with England's next test match not until March 2012, Strauss is all set for a significant break from the international scene. This means he will be desperate to finish on a high note.

Of course a lot of the hard work has been done, but he will want a 4-0 series victory, no doubt about that. He hasn't led England to No.1 by letting his standards slip and will ensure that his team are focused for The Oval. Personally, he would love some more runs too. A score of 87 in Birmingham was the highlight of his summer with the bat and he will have three figures on his mind this week.

With Stuart Broad and Alastair Cook leading the side in Twenty20 and ODI cricket respectively over the next few months, a lot could change before Strauss is in action for his country again. To quash any reports that his spell as England test captain is coming to an end, a significant score at The Oval would do wonders.

As long as he is in form, he is likely to continue in the role. Therefore, he won't want to hand the captaincy over to Broad and Cook after this match on the back of a disappointing few days with the bat.

Sachin Tendulkar - There is perhaps only one hope for India to make this a memorable test series for the right reasons - Tendulkar to reach three figures at The Oval.

All summer long there have been discussions of his 100th international century, but with just 159 runs at an average of 26.5, it hasn't been the Little Master's series. There will be no shortage of people hoping he reaches the landmark this week though. The amount of respect he has across the world is unrivalled and there is not a single cricket fan across the globe that would begrudge him a century in this fourth test match.

There have been signs that he can find something like his best form too. At Edgbaston, he looked well set to make a big score before being run-out at the non-strikers end.

Tendulkar has lifted India many times in the past and even though it doesn't affect the outcome of this series, they would love for him to reach an incredible, well deserved landmark to put a smile back on the face of Indian cricket ahead of the ODI matches.

Overall, it will be interesting to see whether we see more of the same at The Oval or the start of India's resurgence on this tour.

England's players will of course enjoy playing under less pressure than usual and the atmosphere should be fantastic.

However, there are still plenty of significant incidents that could occur in this fourth test match. Let's hope it's the most competitive of the lot so far and a good advert for test cricket.


England (From): Andrew Strauss(c), Alastair Cook, Kevin Pietersen, Ian Bell, Eoin Morgan, Matt Prior(w), Stuart Broad, Tim Bresnan, Graeme Swann, James Anderson, Ravi Bopara, Steven Finn, Graham Onions

India (From): MS Dhoni(w/c), Virender Sehwag, Gautam Gambhir, Sachin Tendulkar, Rahul Dravid, VVS Laxman, Suresh Raina, Abhinav Mukund, Wriddhiman Saha, Amit Mishra, S Sreesanth, Munaf Patel, Ishant Sharma, Praveen Kumar, Pragyan Ojha, RP Singh, Virat Kohli

Preview by Thomas Rooney - Cricbiz

Live Cricket Score from Aug 18 to 22 (IST 3.30pm onwards) - Click Here



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Comment on this article

  • Er.P.P.Sharma, Shimla

    Thu, Aug 18 2011

    in edbagston team could not do better due to tension in the city.though it could not perform well in the past matches but i expect that india will do better in the last match as well as in 1 day series.with good wishes.

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