At the start of the Test series between India and England, the big question that the fans were asking was whether the home team would be able to usurp the Indians at the top of Test match rankings or if India could repeat their scoreline from the previous tour of England, when they had won 1-0.
Former Australian great Shane Warne had predicted a 1-0 result in favour of England while noted English commentator David Lloyd had gone in for a more conservative 1-1 result. Even when India lost the first Test match by a whopping 196, the Indian fans had considered it a no-brainer that much like in the past, India would fight back to win the second game.
Then, the margin of loss got worse in the second match, with England, after being bowled out for 221 in the first innings went on to win by 319 runs. And it reached unfathomable heights in the third, as India crashed to an innings defeat, scoring 224 and 244 in reply to England’s (gulp!) 710/7d.
So when the fourth Test match between India and England begins from August 18 at the Oval, the wishes of the two teams would have changed considerably from where they stood at the start of the tour. India will be hoping to escape without a clean sweep, which under the circumstances seems doubtful. England, on the other hand, are the new number one team in the world and would want to teach the former world number one, India, a lesson or two on how to behave like ones!
Captain Dhoni had uttered at the end of the first Test match that famous Murphy’s Law on all things going, whichever could go wrong. Little did he know that every other thing remaining would also end up going wrong – something that is accentuated by the fact that India’s best opener in recent times, Virender Sehwag, was called up as an SOS and ended up facing all of two balls in the entire match. He scored a duck apiece in both the innings and got out on the first ball he faced.
More than the technique and the skill, the Indians will be tested for their mental toughness in this fourth Test match. Because in terms of the aforementioned couple of factors, England have been found to be way better than their touring counterparts.
England v India 4th Test match at Oval starts at 11.00 am local time on August 18.