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England managed to crush the New Zealand side by a dominating margin of 3-0 and that too in an uncharacteristic manner. The attack is the best form of Defence, the Motto of former Kiwi skipper Brandon McCullum. The way England won the Second and Third Tests, was like that of  T20 cricket, and players attributed it to the mindset created by McCullum.

India is leading the series 2-1 and after 1986 and 2007, this team is on the verge of defeating England in England. Will India win has become a question mark owing to the stupendous display of England and poor form of Indian players in English conditions and injury scares.

Match timings

Match Toss Time: 14:30 IST (10:00 Local)

Match Start Time: 15:30 IST (10:30 Local)

Match Venue: Edgbaston, Birmingham

Head to Head

Matches played: 130, India: 31, England: 49, Draw: 50

Pitch and Venue

This ground is an English fortress and proves to be detrimental for teams that have technical inadequacy to handle late swing and movement. India has played 6 matches here and they have lost 5 and drew one way back in 1986.

Who can forget the loss in 2018, when the 4th innings target was only 194, but India could only manage 162 and ended up losing by 31 runs. The point to be noted is that Virat scored 149 in ist innings and 51 in 2nd innings. Lead spinner Ravichandran Ashwin took 7 wickets when the pacers failed. For England Sam Curran and Stokes, the seam bowlers were the ones who did the damage.

The saving grace has been English brittle batting which let them down in losing the last 2 matches against England and Australia.

This pitch is likely to assist pace on all five days. The first session on day one is crucial. On the 2nd and 3rd day, it is decent to bat on.  However the 4th innings you have to be extremely lucky to score more than 200.

Teams

India

Will Rohit play, he was the highest run-getter in this series but due to Covid, he may not play. It was foolish to call Mayank as at Edgbaston ball moves and Mayank tends to edge the ball and prove to be a failure. KL Rahul is suffering from a groin injury and he is ruled out. So Mayank will find himself part of the Team if Rohit is not available. The only silver lining is Pujara's performance in county cricket where he was slamming centuries for  Sussex.

I have preferred Shreyas over Hanuma as Shreyas is a match-winner, he gets out on bouncers but England has a medium attack so he is the trump card.

Probable playing Xl: Rohit Sharma/ Mayank Agarwal, Shubman Gill, Cheteshwar Pujara, Virat Kohli, Shreyas Iyer, Rishabh Pant (WK), Ravichandran Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja, Mohammad Shami, Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammad Siraj

England

Root has hit 10 centuries in the last 18 months and he is the fulcrum of the English side. England may have won against New Zealand 3-0 but Bairstow will not be able to produce rabbits under the hat against India. Further Mitchell and Bundell always led a fight back for the Kiwis so it means that the bowling is still not that dangerous. Leach is not going to be successful against India from what we have seen in the past.

Probable Playing Xl: Alex Lees, Zak Crawley, Ollie Pope, Joe Root(C), Jonny Bairstow, Ben Stokes, Ben Faokes/ Sam Billings (WK), Stuart Broad, James Anderson, Matty Potts, Jack Leach

Toss

Any team winning the toss should be opting to bat as batting on the 5th day is suicidal.

Prediction

India if winning the toss will choose to bat. If Rohit is not there then India is going to score sub 300 and lose the initiative to win. If Shreyas is not included then most probably India is going to lose the match.

If India bats second then firstly they will get England out for around 300 and then score around the same and ultimately chase a target of 250 in the 4th innings and this time they will be able to do it.

If Rohit is not playing then the Rahul Dravid will be the think tank of India and my readers know that I feel that he is not at all proactive or assertive. In my article, I predicted a loss against South Africa owing to his inept attitude. So India needs Rohit as the leader who will lead the charge. Dravid is too conservative to play Shreyas and that will be India's downfall.

So wait for 1stst July to see who all are playing as that will decide the outcome of the match.

Happy viewing.