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Kennington Oval, Doom, or Parity.

Indian team crashed like nine pins at Headingley to make this series an even contest. Being bowled out for 78 in the first innings and losing 8 wickets for 56 runs in 2nd innings only spells the word disaster.

The defeat was rather embarrassing by the shoddy application of players as if they had no pride in being out. Indian opener Rohit Sharma was dismayed but Rishabh Pant, Rahane, Ravindra Jadeja, and the bowlers displayed debonair insensitivity to the situation

Key Drawback

The Indian middle-order is finding the edges and they are not able to do the most important task of differentiating between the in-cutters and out-swinging deliveries. The ability to leave the ball, displayed by KL Rahul and Rohit Sharma in the first and 2nd Test is not enacted by other players whatsoever. 

Bowling

Indian bowlers are not able to ball out-cutters and most of the balls have been either straight or in dippers so they are predictable. The spin of Jadeja has been not upto the mark as well and there are quite a few grounds now to believe that the all-rounder has been biased towards his batting more than his weapon of rushing the batsmen.

England has strengthened their batting by the inclusion of Dawid Malan. Skipper Joe Root has tilted the balance by brilliant batting display. Anderson and Robinson move the ball both ways and they are creating havoc in the Indian batting line-up.

Match timings and where to watch?

Match Toss Time: 10:30 Local (15:00 IST) 

Match Start Time: 11:00 Local (15:30 IST) 

You can catch the encounter live on the Sony Liv app and Sony Ten HD. 

Head to Head

Matches Played: 129, England: 49, India: 30, Draw: 50

Kennington Oval H2H

India has played 13 test matches and lost 5, drawn 7, and winning one in 1971, under the captaincy of Wadekar. Last three matches at Oval, India has lost miserably to England. So the situation is not rosy and the Indians will have to put up a brave show in order to score only their second win at the Oval.

England won the 5th test of ashes to square the series in 2019 and have always found the venue a happy place for them 

Pitch

Oval is known to assist seam bowlers on the first three days and spinners on the last 2 days.

The last time the sides faced, in 2018, Adil Rashid and Moeen Ali did the damage.

In the ashes Test, in the 4th innings, Leach took 4 wickets and Root took two wickets in 4 overs only. This does confirm that two spinners can be included which could mean the World’s second-best bowler in Tests- Ravichandran Ashwin could be seen back in action.

So it is an even contest between bat and ball and that is why Oval hosts series ending matches.

Team

England

England will be strengthened by the inclusion of Sam Billings, as he has been batting superbly whereas Buttler was out of form. Chris Woakes will walk in for Sam Curran and add edge to both batting and bowling.

Now England team batting is no longer brittle and has depth. In bowling too their attack is good as their bowlers can move the ball both ways.

India

Rishabh Pant, Ravindra Jadeja, Rahane, and Kohli have all been having a rough time. Can we drop them? In 2018, Pant and Rahul hit centuries at this very venue so how can you exclude Pant.

In Bowling, a bowler who is capable of bowling the out-swingers is a must and Shardul should walk in for Ishant, who looked tired. Ravi Ashwin is likely to replace Ashwin and we could also see Suryakumar Yadav make his debut by replacing the out-of-form Rahane. India have also included Prasidh Krishna for the last two games but his chances of making it to the playing Xl look slim.

Toss

It is a no-brainer that 5th day is tough to bat on so the team winning the toss will choose to bat.

Match prediction

Ravichandran Ashwin, the match-winner has been dropped for three consecutive tests. Ashwin has more man of the series than Tendulkar or Virat in only 80 tests in comparison to 200 tests of Tendulkar and the only way India can take a lead in the series would be by including the foxy all-rounder.

It is poetic justice that India should lose.

Painful viewing instead of happy viewing.