The Big Picture
The Southampton Test was the first instance where Virat Kohli went in with an unchanged line-up for successive Tests under his leadership. In the wake of a 61-run loss that gave England an unassailable 3-1 lead, it is increasingly unlikely that he’ll go in with the same line-up for three successive games. India’s training session on match day minus two gave some indications of the team combinations they might be looking at for England vs India, 5th Test:-
Hanuma Vihari in line for a debut?
Hanuma Vihari, who boasts of the highest average in First Class cricket among contemporary cricketers was brought in at the expense of Kuldeep Yadav for the final two Tests.
On Wednesday, Vihari batted in the group comprising Ajinkya Rahane and India’s captain Virat Kohli Vihari came out unscathed during a gruelling session with batting coach Sanjay Bangar, presenting a straight bat and exemplifying good footwork and balance. If Vihari happens to make his debut at the Oval at the expense of Hardik Pandya, he’ll be India’s 292nd Test player.
No Place for Prithwi Shaw?
After repeated failures of India’s openers in the first four Test matches, there have been murmurs about Pritwi Shaw replacing either of KL Rahul or Shikhar Dhawan, but the Mumbai teenage sensation entered the nets after all the specialist batsmen were done, and batted alongside Pant and Ravindra Jadeja. KL Rahul batted for a long time in the nets before taking some slip catching practice along with Pujara and Rahane.
Jadeja in for Ashwin?
Ashwin had a disappointing game at Southampton where he failed to make use of footmarks outside the right-handers off-stump, failing to match Moeen Ali, who utilized the conditions with aplomb. Doubts surfaced if Ashwin was fit coming into the Southampton game after the hip injury he picked up at Nottingham.
On Wednesday, Ashwin’s workload was limited to jogging around the Oval with Shankar Basu, while Jadeja bowled and batted for a considerable period of time, suggesting that the left-hander might just play at the Oval ahead of Ashwin.