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The final frontier

India is leading the series 2-1 and they last won two tests in England back in 1986. Now even if India finds themselves at the losing end after the fifth test they are certain to retain the Pataudi Trophy. So India has nothing to lose but England will have their 14-years home record of not losing a Test series to India at stake. This series has proved that Cricket is by chance.

Recap of India’s journey 

India was cruising to a win in the opening Test but the rain gods washed away the fifth day saving the English from what could have been a thrashing defeat.

Second Test

English skipper Joe Root hit a brilliant century to take England to a winning position but Bumrah and Shami stitched a partnership of 89 runs against all odds. Further Indian pacers bowling at 140+  bowling out England in 50 overs, scripting an improbable win at the home of cricket.

Third Test

On a decent pitch, the famed Indian batting collapsed for 78 and handed a delicious victory to England on a platter.  The Indian gameplay was the converse of the first two Tests.

Fourth Test

After conceding a lead of 99 runs in the first innings, the Indian team scored 466 with a help of real team performance where Rohit scored his first overseas century combined with valuable contributions from each of the batsmen barring the vice-captain Ajinkya Rahane.

So this victory couldn't have been perceived by any experts. Vicissitudes have characterized this series and on account of rains, the fifth Test will be a truncated one so again unpredictability will determine the fortune.

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

Old Trafford

This is a pacer-friendly pitch where the ball moves prodigiously for the first two days. India has played 9 matches at this venue and lost four and drew five. So India has not won a single game here. The last time team India turned out at this particular venue was back in 2014, India scored 152 and 161 in their respective innings and suffered an innings loss.

England has won the last three Test matches here, two against West Indies and one against Pakistan, where Woakes hit 84 to win the match from an impossible situation. Australia handed England a defeat in Ashes, fulcrum was double hundred by Steve Smith. So brilliant performance can counter the pitch.

This is the home ground of Anderson and he has exploited the conditions very well, and England will be hoping for a solid performance from him.

Team

England

Craig Overton is reported to be injured so Mark Wood is likely to replace him. He is needed as all other bowlers were throwing at 130+ and on a flat pitch, one needs a speedster to make things happen and he was indeed missed at Oval.

Leach might replace Moeen as Leach has taken wickets at Old Trafford and Moeen has not played to his potential in this series.

Probable playing Xl: Rory Burns, Haseeb Hameed, Dawid Malan, Joe Root (c), Ollie Pope, Jonny Bairstow (wk)/ Jos Buttler (wk), Moeen Ali/Jack Leach, Chris Woakes, Craig Overton/ Mark Wood, Ollie Robinson, James Anderson

India

There is a scare that Rohit and Pujara might not able to make the cut owing to injuries and Bumrah needs rest. If Rohit is injured then Mayank Agarwal is likely to make the cut. As per the latest reports, Ajinkya Rahane will be rested for the final showdown which means Suryakumar Yadav may be handed his debut cap.

Jasprit Bumrah too is likely to be rested given his vigorous engagement to the sport in the last few weeks. Mohammad Shami is the likely contender to replace the pacer.

Probable playing Xl: Rohit Sharma/Mayank Agarwal, KL Rahul, Cheteshwar Pujara, Virat Kohli (c), Ajinkya Rahane/ Suryakumar Yadav, Rishabh Pant (wk), Ravindra Jadeja, Shardul Thakur, Umesh Yadav, Jasprit Bumrah/ Mohammad Shami, Mohammed Siraj

Toss

As batting is difficult, winning the toss means bowling first. England did a blunder at Oval by putting India to bat and paid the price. This time they are likely to have learned from their mistake. It will be hard to score 300 in any innings so a lead of 50 to 100 will be crucial.

Prediction

The weather is not in favor of the sport and we are expecting at least two days of play to be lost due to the continuous rainfall. The visitors will not be looking to take any risk as the series now stands in their favor. 

Cricwizz predicts the match to be a draw and India to win the 5-match Test series, 2-1.

Enjoy duel between moving ball and dogged batting.