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Other SportsIndia v England: Fourth Test - preview, expected line-ups, how to watch...

India v England: Fourth Test – preview, expected line-ups, how to watch and prediction

The State of Play 

With two Tests to play in this five-match series, victory is within India’s grasp at 2-1 up.

England’s remarkable win in Hyderabad in the opener seems a distant memory given the nature of the last two games – in particular, India’s resounding 434-run triumph in Rajkot.

That loss – England’s second heaviest in Test cricket – has prompted plenty of questions regarding the suitability of the ‘Bazball’ approach on Indian soil but coach Brendon McCullum has vowed to stick to his attacking philosophy.

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That would be easier to implement if England had batters in form but key Yorkshire duo Joe Root and Jonny Bairstow are out of nick and low on confidence.

The same cannot be said of India. They came into the series worried about their batting line-up, particularly in the absence of Virat Kohli who will play no part. But they have uncovered a gem in opener Yashasvi Jaiswal while Sarfaraz Khan showed he belonged at this level with two half-centuries on debut in Rajkot.

Team News

India have rested key paceman Jasprit Bumrah to manage his workload. Mukesh Kumar, who struggled in the second Test, is likely to be recalled to partner Mohammed Siraj.

KL Rahul is not fit to return from a quadriceps injury.

England have made two changes with Ollie Robinson and Shoaib Bashir coming in for Mark Wood and Rehan Ahmed. Ahmed, 19, struggled in the second innings in Rajkot and has been taken out of the firing line.

For Robinson, it’s a first England appearance since the third Test against Australia in July last year.

Expected line-ups

India: Jaiswal, Sharma (c), Gill, Patidar, Jadeja, Khan, Yadav, Jurel (wk), Ashwin, Kumar, Siraj

England (confirmed): Crawley, Duckett, Pope, Root, Bairstow, Stokes (c), Foakes (wk), Hartley, Robinson, Anderson, Bashir

What they said

India batter Shubman Gill on the team’s approach

“In India, wherever you play the wickets will help spinners a little bit. Our strategy will be the same as the previous games, but it will depend on the toss. We are bowling really well. [Ravichandran] Ashwin and [Ravindra] Jadeja are always successful but the way the fast bowlers have bowled has made a great difference.”

England coach Brendon McCullum on his team’s Bazball approach

“People are entitled to their opinion, good, bad or ugly. It’s up to us whether we want to listen to it or not. The dressing room is a very strong place where confidence is high and guys are backed to go out there and allow their talent to flourish. If we allow the outside noise to seep in, that’s our problem. We’ve still got some progress to make and some things to improve on, but we’re a better team now than we were 18 months ago.”

When and how to watch

The fourth Test takes place in Ranchi, starting at 4am (UK time) on Friday morning. You can watch it in the UK on TNT Sports or Discovery+ with the programme starting at 3.45am.

Prediction

The series has ebbed and flowed so far but the momentum is clearly with India. 

England need a big performance and for some of their middle-order batters to make decent contributions. Zak Crawley, Ollie Pope and Ben Duckett have all made sizeable scores at the top of the order and it’s high time Root and Bairstow chipped in. If they do then England stand a fighting chance.

However, it would take a brave man to bet against India on current form. Jaiswal and Sarfaraz have been real finds and a spinning pitch ought to play into the hands of Ashwin and Jadeja.

We’re going for an India win to secure the series.

Jon Fisher
Jon Fisher
Jon has over 20 years' experience in sports journalism having worked at the Press Association, Goal and Stats Perform, covering three World Cups, an Olympics and numerous other major sporting events.
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