Going into the fourth test at Port of Spain, Trinidad, India will have an eye of the elusive number one test rank. Since Australia have already lost their test series against Sri Lanka, a win is all what India needs in order to be back the number one spot. With 13 home tests to follow later this year, that rank could well be consolidated by Virat Kohli’s men.
The third test was simply unbelievable as the Indians turned the game around on its head within the matter of a session flat. Bhuvneshwar Kumar, who marked his return to test cricket for the first time since January 2015, was lethal on the fourth afternoon, and his accuracy just blew away the hosts. Kumar has fond memories of Trinidad, as at this very venue in 2013 during a tri-series game, he achieved his best bowling figures in ODI’s.
A noteworthy point made by Indian skipper Virat Kohli in the post-match presentation at St. Lucia, was the fact that Rohit Sharma would be persisted with. Kohli was completely for Sharma’s inclusion and apparently stated that a player of Sharma’s talent and potential should only be judged by a larger sample size. The Delhi dasher had also mentioned that for the team’s cause, he would continue batting at 3, meaning that Ajinkya Rahane would bat higher up at 4.
“We understood that a player like Rohit needs to be backed, and that meant that I had to go to No. 3,” said Kohli. “I would like to bat at No. 3. Jinks (Ajinkya Rahane) is solid for us at No. 4 and Rohit is dangerous at No. 5. I don’t mind taking responsibility and batting ahead.” Kohli’s words clearly indicate that with Sharma in the scheme of things, Cheteshwar Pujara would have to sit out.
The opening slot though remains an unsolved mystery. With Shikhar Dhawan getting starts but throwing it away eventually, it is difficult to ignore M. Vijay for too long. The management shouldn’t disregard the fact that Vijay has been solid in all conditions at the top, with the exception of New Zealand. One can expect a swap for Vijay in place of Dhawan.
Bowling wise, Bhuvneshwar Kumar settled the debate about his inclusion and he is bound to remain a critical member. Mohammad Shami had a below par outing in the first innings, but made up for it in the second innings. Ishant Sharma, despite his underwhelming personal returns, remains to be the guiding force for the pacers.
Ravindra Jadeja might not have taken too many wickets, but he was quite accurate. In the first innings, even when he found little assistance from the deck, he ensured that the batsmen didn’t get easy runs. Due to tying his end down, the left arm spinner maintained the pressure, which helped the other bowlers. Batting wise, though, Jadeja needs to improve at all costs.
Indian predicted XI for the fourth test:
- Murali Vijay