In the 1st innings of the third Test, England did to India what they had themselves suffered in the final innings of the previous Test: a meltdown.
The hosts lost the second Test on the back of a disastrous batting display in their second innings when they folded for just 120 while chasing 272. Eager to settle scores – quite literally – the James Anderson-led pace unit wasted little time, bundling out their guests for just 78 – a foundation over which their series-levelling victory was based.
Their quest to go 2-1 up will be without Jos Buttler, who misses out in order to tend to a private matter. In his absence, Jonny Bairstow will keep wickets.
England have recalled Chris Woakes, who has managed to shake off a heel injury. However, Mark Woods has a problem with his shoulder and could be out of contention.
Virat Kohli was insistent in the aftermath of third Test humiliation that his side was not demoralized, even if it was hurt by the manner of their defeat.
Truth be told, such was the manner of the team’s historic collapse on Day 1 that it would be hard to erase its memories easily. That said, in series this long between teams this strong, forms and momentums do not necessarily carry from one match to another.
Some changes, however, will have to be made – either by choice or by necessity. Word is that Ravindra Jadeja has a knee injury, and if he is injured enough to be benched, then Hanuma Vihari is the most obvious choice to be drafted in.
Vihari might get a look in even if Jadeja is fit because Ajinkya Rahane and Rishabh Pant are struggling for runs anyway. Mayank Agarwal or Prithvi Shaw are also options if Kohli opts to shuffle the batting order and move KL Rahul in the middle.