Kolkata: Move over Headingley! The mortifying innings defeat in the third of the five-Test series has caused the Indian cricket afficionado excruciating mental agony coming on the back of a resounding victory at Lord’s.
The celebrated Indian batting line-up barring some flashes collapsed in the second innings at Headingley, handing out Joe Root’s team the requisite fire in the belly to gun for a series triumph.
Yes, Virat Kohli and boys, you squandered a chance to take an unassailable lead but the meek surrender is a thing of the past. Time to look ahead as you gear up for the all-crucial fourth Test at the historic Oval that begins today. It’s the same ground where India scripted their maiden Test win in England in 1971.
Self-belief is the key to success! The Englishmen buoyed by the comeback at Headingley, will go hammer and tongs on Team India, but make no mistake that the Indians are wounded and the scar would not heal until they take revenge.
It is this scenario that makes the Oval Test a lot to look forward to. It will be a battle of optimism vs vengeance and rest assured, we have a contest on the cards.
Coming back to Team India, they must reminisce the stupendous resurgence Down Under after the abysmal loss at Adelaide – a second-rung India under Ajinkya Rahane went on to inflict a shock on Australia in their den. Out here, India are in full strength, hence fans can be more optimistic of a turnaround.
One may sound negative since the series is levelled as of now, but the side which goes into the next with a victory in its pocket, usually has the upper hand – a situation similar to what the Kohlis were under before the toss at Headingley.
Arthur Golden says, “A wounded tiger is a dangerous beast.” The conviction earned after Lord’s has been butchered by an innings defeat and that also within less than four days. But there’s lot at stake for Team India.
Looking beyond the team’s interest, there are players who are struggling to find rythm – Kohli, Rahane, Cheteshwar Pujara and Rishabh Pant among others. Pujara might have ‘accumulated’ some runs in the second innings of the third Test, but he needs to carry on. The skipper hasn’t had an international hundred in more than fifty innings, Rahane is scrambling for runs (even keeping his half-century at Lord’s in mind) but to no avail and Pant has been a damp squib with the bat so far in this series. Slammed and pilloried, these guys are dying to prove a point and the platform is set for a retort.
Indian fans would be praying they retaliate which would augur well for the team. An amalgamation of personal milestones can take a team home – can’t we be hopeful?
Of course we can – Kohli’s team boasts match winners who can run amok on their on-field foes – it’s time for a reprisal on the opponents for sullying their reputation. So, give it back to them, guys!
The battle lines are drawn! Experience counts, so when it’s time to pull no punches, a veteran off-spinner with 413 Test scalps and by the way, five hundreds with the willow as well, would provide solidity to Team India’s foundation – Ravi Ashwin, are you ready? Turn the tables on your detractors who are settling down in their zones to write your cricketing obituary, of course if you get a look-in.
Over to the toss!!