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Can India bounce back at the Oval?

Last updated on: August 14, 2014 15:28 IST

Can India bounce back at the Oval?

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After two crushing defeats, India are looking to their batsmen to deliver as they aim to bounce back in the fifth and final Test against England, starting at the Oval on Friday, and level the series at 2-2.

India slipped badly after their historic victory in the second Test at Lord's with back-to-back defeats in Southampton and Manchester and are now faced with the daunting task of winning the final Test at all costs, while England, who lead 2-1, only need a draw to clinch the series.

Can India win the fifth Test at the Oval?

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Image: The Indian team plays football during a nets session at the Oval in London on Wednesday
Photographs: Bryn Lennon/Getty Images

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India's bowling suffered in the absence of Ishant

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While India's young batting line-up has not lived up to potential, the inexperienced bowling, in the absence of Ishant Sharma, lacked penetration in the previous two Tests which allowed the hosts to stage a dramatic turnaround.

However, the visitors, received a big boost with Ishant looking set to play in the fifth Test after having recovered from his injury.

India desperately missed his services in the previous two games, after his seven-wicket haul had helped them register a 95-run victory in the Lord's Test.

The Delhi pacer is likely to replace Pankaj Singh, who managed just two wickets in the two Tests he played.

Varun Aaron impressed with his ability to generate pace and bounce and looks set to continue, which means Mohammed Shami will continue to be benched.

Can India win the fifth Test at the Oval?

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Image: India's Ishant Sharma in the nets
Photographs: Scott Heavey/Getty Images

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Jadeja's place under threat for fifth Test

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Ravindra Jadeja's place is also under threat after his below-par showing with the ball at Old Trafford. The left-hander has also struggled with the bat and could make way for medium pacer all-rounder Stuart Binny.

The major headache for India going into the final match though is their batting, especially the top order, which has failed to deliver in the last two Tests. India's two biggest hopes with the bat, Virat Kohli and Cheteshwar Pujara, have failed to rise to the occasion, putting a huge pressure on the rest of the batsmen.

Pujara has time and again thrown away good starts, while Kohli has failed to find an answer to England's strike bowler James Anderson, who seems to get his wicket at will.

Can India win the fifth Test at the Oval?

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Image: Ravindra Jadeja reacts after his dismissal during the third Test in Southampton
Photographs: Stu Forster/Getty Images

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Ashwin played good knocks at Old Trafford

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Veteran opener Gautam Gambhir came in for Delhi team mate Shikhar Dhawan in the fourth Test at Old Trafford but failed to get going and perished cheaply in both the innings. However, he looks set to retain his spot but needs to come good with the bat at the Oval to retain his place in future.

India gave out a few signs of their combination for the Oval Test in a practice session on Wednesday as Binny and Ravichandran Ashwin batted in the nets while Jadeja was conspicuously absent from the regular slip catching practice.

Rohit Sharma also looks set to miss out as he had nothing much to do in the session before getting some practice late.

Though Ashwin went wicketless in the fourth Test, he played two good knocks with the bat, scoring 40 and 46 in India's score of 152 and 161 respectively in the two innings, as they crashed to an innings and 54-run defeat.

Everything looked to be going to plan for for India after their win at Lord's, but since then England have registered a remarkable turnaround, winning their first match in 11 Tests at Southampton and following it up with another convincing win, routing India in three days at Old Trafford.

Can India win the fifth Test at the Oval?

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Image: Ravichandran Ashwin
Photographs: Gareth Copley/Getty Images

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Moeen Ali has taken 19 wickets in four Tests!

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India's biggest problem, apart from the England pacers, is the part-time spin of Moeen Ali, who has claimed 19 wickets in the four matches thus far.

Pacer James Anderson has led the way with the ball with 21 wickets, while there is uncertainty over Stuart Broad's participation after he was struck on the nose by a bouncer from Aaron in the fourth Test and unable to bowl in the second innings.

Broad, who fractured his nose, might play with a protective mask as England retained him in their squad for the Oval Test despite the injury.

England's only concern is the form of opener Sam Robson, who must consider himself lucky to retain his place in the team, having scored just one half-century in six innings in the series.

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Image: Moeen Ali of England
Photographs: Stu Forster/Getty Images

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Moeen Ali has taken 19 wickets in four Tests!

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The Oval Test would also be memorable for Mahendra Singh, who is set to equal Sourav Ganguly’s record of leading in 28 overseas Tests.

Ganguly won 11 of those matches, lost 10 and drew the rest. In comparison, Dhoni’s figures are less impressive, with six wins, eight draws and 13 losses.

Teams:

India: Mahendra Singh Dhoni (captain), Shikhar Dhawan, Murali Vijay, Gautam Gambhir, Cheteshwar Pujara, Virat Kohli, Ajinkya Rahane, Rohit Sharma, Ravindra Jadeja, Stuart Binny, R Ashwin,
Ishant Sharma, Mohammad Shami, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Ishwar Pandey, Pankaj Singh, Varun Aaron, Naman Ojha.

England: Alastair Cook (captain), Moeen Ali, James Anderson, Gary Ballance, Ian Bell, Stuart Broad, Chris Jordan, Jos Buttler, Sam Robson, Joe Root, Ben Stokes, Chris Woakes, Steve Finn.

Can India win the fifth Test at the Oval?


Image: Mahendra Singh Dhoni of India
Photographs: Gareth Copley/Getty Images

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