England vs India: Third Test Preview

Cricket ball sits on pitch

England take a 2-0 lead into the third of five Tests starting at Trent Bridge on Saturday. Jonhenry Wilson previews: 

At Lord's, India slipped from being competitive to being completely outgunned by England's swing-bowling attack, effectively conceding the Test within a single session on the second day.

England are now in a position of dominance, with the tourists floundering in alien conditions - and in desperate need of a batting hero to stand alongside skipper Virat Kohli.

England v India | 18 August - 22 August | Trent Bridge, Nottingham | 12:00    

To Win Match
England 11/20 
Draw 38/10
India 33/10

England head into the third Test at Trent Bridge sitting pretty - and as such were comfortable retaining the same 13-man squad for the visit to Nottingham.

The hosts are far from having established their best XI going forward, though, with the top-order still looking fragile at best. Keaton Jennings retains his place but that is purely down to a lack of alternatives - and the low-scoring nature of the second Test.

Such has been England's top-order struggles, that the 20-year-old Ollie Pope has earned praise for his 28 on debut. Skipper Joe Root didn't record a half-ton against India for the first time in his Test career at Lord's, but the failure of the top four provided an opportunity for Jonny Bairstow and Chris Woakes to play the heroes.

The addition of Woakes to the line-up has done wonders for the balance of a side boosted by the strong displays of another all-round prospect in Sam Curran. The two have slotted in well, contributing runs and wickets and making up for the absence of Ben Stokes.

Whether or not Stokes returns to the team for the third Test, after being found not guilty of affray, remains in the balance. If he does get a spot, Jos Buttler might have to make way.

Swing and seam movement should be on offer at Trent Bridge, which may tempt England into an all-seam attack, too. This is perhaps the only way, barring injury, that reserve seamer Jamie Porter could break into the Test XI at this point.

The selection of Moeen Ali in the squad appears to be a nominal one, but England's management clearly want the off-spinning all-rounder involved in the set-up.

The weather in Nottingham will be typically English. Good luck to anyone who feels bold enough to predict it. India will be trusting the cloud cover stays away, though, after England made the ball hoop in overcast conditions in London.

The niggle sustained by Kohli at the tail-end of the second Test will leave Indian fans anxious, but even if the skipper is fit, something needs to change in the top order.

The feeling when India arrived in the United Kingdom was that their quick bowlers would allow them to compete in English conditions, but while the seamers have done the deed, the batsmen have been veritable fish out of water.

It is clear that when additional swing is added to the naturally high levels of seam movement in England, the result is conditions that are nearly impossible to replicate in training.

Lokesh Rahul has been the least impressive of India's batsmen. His solid technique has not helped him cope with England's pacemen and he may be axed to make way for the return of Shikhar Dhawan up top. Murali Vijay has been in a similar boat to Alistair Cook, in that he has been dismissed by absolute jaffers and has to be considered a little unlucky.

India made a mistake in picking Kuldeep Yadav at Lord's, and unless the hosts roll out a raging turner, we probably will not see him again this series. Umesh Yadav missed out unfairly on a Lord's pitch that would have given him a shot at the honours board - and may miss out again with Jasprit Bumrah expected to be fit to return to the Test XI. Bumrah was said to be bowling fit for the second Test, but management were understandably cautious as they were concerned about him possibly injuring his finger in the field.

Another possible change for India could see young wicketkeeper Rishabh Pant come in for Dinesh Karthik. Karthik performed better with the gloves at Lord's than at Edgbaston, but Pant's batting and the fact that he is left-handed might convince Kohli and Ravi Shastri that he could make a difference at Trent Bridge.

Verdict: England 11/20
Given the conditions, it is hard to see a way back into this series for India, who need something of a miracle to sort out their batting issues. England have the edge in almost every department now - and are brimming with confidence.

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Written by Jonhenry Wilson for Hollywoodbets

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