India confident to seal it off at Birmingham

India faces England in the fourth game of the bilateral series on Tuesday at Edgbaston, Birmingham. From the way the series has gone so far, it seems only one team can win it. It will not be surprising if the hosts do not win a single match in the series. This England team is not at all good for one day matches. If this is the situation on the home turf, then the supporters better not have any hopes from them in the next World Cup to be played in Australia and New Zealand.

India is looking a different team since Ravi Shastri has been appointed as the team director. His experience is obviously helping the squad. The young players are looking to perform and cement their place for the world cup. MS Dhoni has also led the team brilliantly in the last two matches. Since Rayadu played a sensible knock coming in at number 4 in the last match, it seems that the team management will stick to this order and Rahane will be opening the innings. However Vijay may get a game in place of Dhawan who has not been in good form.

The bowling has been impressive so far. Both Shami and Kumar has been in good form and picking up wickets. However Mohit Sharma’s fitness may be a concern. Mohit left the field at Trent Bridge after bowling only 3 overs. He did come back to field later but was not asked to bowl. Kumar needs to start bowling more Yorkers at the death. He was expensive in the last over of the innings. The spinners are doing a fabulous job. Both Ashwin and Jadeja are keeping the pressure on the English batsmen and going through their overs very quickly. Part time bowlers Raina and Rayadu have also provided good support.

On the other hand, nothing is going right for England. The openers started well at Trent Bridge, with both Cook and Hales scoring over 40 but none could convert them into something substantial. The weakness of the English batsmen against spinners is clearly showing. In the middle order, except Butler no one is looking confident enough to rotate the strike and put the pressure back on the bowlers. Probably England should consider playing Moeen Ali and Gary Balance to see if they make any difference. Ben Stokes has made no impact yet. The dependence of England on all rounders is not helping the cause. It is time they start adding specialist batsmen and bowlers to the squad. Tredwell has bowled well but one cannot expect a lone spinner to trouble the Indian batsmen.

Dhoni and his boys should be looking to go up 3-0 in the series at Edgbaston. This will give them good confidence with just six months left for the World Cup. New Team Director Ravi Shastri has been a good influence to the team and India will be hoping it to continue.

Squads:

England: Alastair Cook (c), Gary BallanceJoe RootSteven FinnJos Buttler (wk), Chris Woakes, Mooen AliAlex HalesEoin Morgan, Harry GurneyJames Anderson.

India:  Shikhar DhawanAmbati RayaduVirat KohliSuresh RainaMS Dhoni (c & wk), Ajinkya RahaneRavichandran AshwinRavindra Jadeja, Dhawal KulkarniMohammad ShamiBhuvneshwar Kumar.