India have a comfortable 2-0 lead in the 5 match series and with just 2 matches remaining, England can only draw the series should they manage two win the next two matches. Their task could get a lot easier due to the number of injury concerns that the Indian squad is facing.
Captain Virat Kohli and coach Anil Kumble have to make some important decisions during the next few days to determine the final 11. Opener Murali Vijay is suffering from back spasms and could be forced to sit out, he hasn’t been in the best of form and should he get another game, he may be hampered due to the injury. Mohammed Shami has had a good series so far but in the last game, he complained of a stiff leg and might be rested. If he does not play the fourth test, Kohli could call on either B Kumar or I Sharma.
Wicket-keeper W Saha and opener KL Rahul missed the third test due to injury and as of now it is not clear if they have recovered sufficiently and if the team will risk playing them in the fourth test. Kohli’s biggest concern will be his openers as Parthiv Patel who kept wickets opened the batting in the third test and could very well end up playing as an a full-fledged opener if W Saha returns to the squad. Kohli will have to promote C Pujara to the openers slot as there are no other opening batsmen in the squad as of now.
England have also been hampered with injury concerns with their young opener H Hameed having to return due to a finger injury he sustained in the third test. Veteran S Broad also missed the third test due to a foot injury. England have brought in replacements but it is a tall order to ask debutants to perform in the sub-continent when the side is 2-0 down.
However England coach Trevor Bayliss has called on his side to adopt an aggressive approach during the next two matches.
In a statement, Bayliss said “When we have been a little bit more defensive, we look like wickets waiting to happen. As soon as we’re a little bit more positive, rotating the strike and hitting a boundary when the opportunity comes, it puts pressure on the opposition. Yes, it might get you out once or twice. But with the batting order we’ve got, there’s going to be a number of guys that do score runs, and that puts some pressure on the opposition.”