India vs England
India vs England (Image Credit: Twitter)

India and England face each other in the fifth and final match of the five-match Test series against England at Emirates Old Trafford, starting 10th September 2021. India have been sensational throughout the series in all departments.

India have performed as a unit and results are there to see. The first Test of the series ended in a draw. India perhaps would have won the game had rain not played spoilsport on the fifth day. In the next game, even rain couldn’t help England as the visitors won the match by 151 runs to take a 1-0 lead in the series.

England fought back brilliantly in the third Test and won the game by an innings and 76 runs to level the series 1-1. The fourth match saw India making a roaring comeback. Rohit Sharma scored his first-ever overseas century as India won the game 157 runs. India are currently leading the five-match Test series by a 2-1 margin.

India vs England, Fifth Test: Match Preview

India: 

India cricket team.
India cricket team. Credits: BCCI

India would be brimming with confidence at the moment. They have shut all their critics who have doubted their selections and the brand of cricket they played. Rohit Sharma and KL Rahul have been superb at the top of the order.

India’s opening pair of Rohit and KL Rahul is one of the biggest reasons behind India’s success in the ongoing tour. Both have managed to score more than 700 runs combined in 4 Tests. Cheteshwar Pujara’s return to form is also one of the biggest positives for them going ahead at the final Test. Pujara has now two half-centuries to his name in the last two Tests. Virat Kohli too has been scoring runs consistently for the side, though his international hundred is still awaited.

Ajinkya Rahane’s poor run of form is perhaps India’s only concern at the moment. India won the last game against England and one should believe that they would stick with Rahane in the last game as well. Ravindra Jadeja was promoted up the order in the last game and it remains to be seen if India persists with the same template or not.

Several cricket pundits criticized the team management for not including Ravichandran Ashwin in the playing XI. India so far has done well without him and will India bring him back into the XI in the last game remains to be seen.

Ravichandran Ashwin
Ravichandran Ashwin (Image Credit: Twitter)

But who will he be replaced with?

Shardul Thakur was brilliant in the last game, scoring half-centuries in both innings. It’s unlikely that he will lose his place from the eleven.

M Shami has been deemed fit and he might make a comeback in the list. Jasprit Bumrah make might make way for Shami as the former is likely to be rested to manage his workload. India are currently leading the series 2-1 with one game left to play. India know how big is the opportunity to claim a series win in England. They would be keen to win the final Test of the series.

Full Squad: Rohit Sharma, Mayank Agarwal, Cheteshwar Pujara, Virat Kohli (Captain), Ajinkya Rahane, Hanuma Vihari, Rishabh Pant (Wicket-Keeper), Ravichandran Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja, Axar Patel, Jasprit Bumrah, Ishant Sharma, Mohammed Shami, Mohammed Siraj, Shardul Thakur, Umesh Yadav, KL Rahul, Wriddhiman Saha (Wicket-Keeper), Abhimanyu Easwaran, Suryakumar Yadav, Prithvi Shaw

England: 

Ollie Pope and Jonny Bairstow
Ollie Pope and Jonny Bairstow. Credits: England Cricket Twitter.

England, on the other hand, have issues to look at. Their bowling hasn’t been a problem despite some key bowlers missing in the squad. In the absence of Jofra Archer, Stuart Broad, and Mark Wood, England have still managed to trouble Indian batsmen throughout the innings.

Ollie Robinson is the highest wicket-taker in the series with 21 wickets to his name in 4 matches. James Anderson has 15 wickets, while Woakes picked 7 in the last game. The problem however lies in their batting. Joe Root, perhaps, has been their only saving grace. Though, one can say that they have found a reliable opening pair in Haseeb Hameed and Rory Burns.

David Malan too, is someone whom they can rely on. He, unfortunately, got run out in the last innings. Jonny Bairstow is one big let-down for England in the series. In 4 games, he has managed to score 184 runs. The addition of Moeen Ali hasn’t helped a lot either.

Jos Buttler is likely to come back in the final Test but it doesn’t encourage a lot of optimism, given how he batted in the three Tests he played in the series. Ahead of the fifth and final Test of the series, England would be desperate to win the game and level the series 2-2. The chances, though, are highly unlikely.

Full Squad: Joe Root (Captain), Rory Burns, Dominic Sibley, Jos Buttler (Wicket-Keeper), Mark Wood, Sam Curran, James Anderson, Jonny Bairstow (Wicket-Keeper), Dominic Bess, Stuart Broad, Zak Crawley, Haseeb Hameed, Dan Lawrence, Jack Leach, Ollie Pope, Ollie Robinson, Craig Overton.