With just two days remaining for the third Test match between India and England at the Eden Gardens, Kolkata anticipation is building up fast. With the series tied at 1-1, the match will hold lot of significance for both the teams and it will not only give the teams a chance to go up in the series but also earn thye bragging rights.
What happened in Mumbai is simply hard to explain. The stage was set for the Indian team to take an invincible lead in the four match series. India played a perfect opening match at Ahmedabad, the pitch was specifically designed for the home team’s advantage. But England team pulled up a miraculous performance to outplay India in all the departments.
As a result the series is tied at one all and all the pressure is on the Indian team going into the Kolkata Test. So, the focus is now on Eden Gardens, the ‘Mecca’ of Indian cricket and the venue for the third Test. This Test is critical for the Indian team and the home team can’t afford a bad game. All the pressure is on India as this Test can have mighty effect on the future of Test cricket in India. The selectors who were supposed to pick the team for two Tests, picked the squad for only the Kolkata squad. Giving clear signals that they have had enough and the struggling players will have to pull up their socks or else they might be out for a long time.
Even before the start of the match, the pitch controversy between MS Dhoni and the local curator has spiced up the matter. The curator denied coming up with a rank-turner forcing the BCCI to step in and now the curator is on a month long sick leave.
The visiting team will certainly be enjoying what looks a chaos in Indian cricket. The series that was supposed to be a revenge series for the Indian team has taken a different dimension all together.
The Kolkata Test should be one hell of a contest, both teams have some big names in their line-up. The result of the match will depend on how these big players will perform in the Test.
Let’s have a look at some of the players who can make the difference for their respective sides:
Cheteshwar Pujara: He by far has been the best batsman for India in the series. Pujara has got hundreds in both matches and is the leading run-scorer in this series with 388 runs at an average of 194. Pujara was unbeaten in Ahmedabad Test and made a double hundred. His hundred in Mumbai came at a crunch situation and he showed tremendous head on his shoulders. Pujara will be vital for India in Kolkata, Indian batting line-up is horribly out of form and a lot will depend on this talented youngster.
Sachin Tendulkar: It will be fair to say that the pressure that this master batsman is in at the moment, he has not faced it in the past two decades. Sachin’s recent form has been horrible, he has looked lost in the middle in the recent few innings. This Kolkata Test is very important for Sachin as it may decide his retirement. Sachin has only scored 29 runs in three innings so far in the series.
Pragyan Ojha: Ojha has been the best bowler for India and has looked the most threatening. He is tied with Graeme Swann at the top of the wicket takers list with 14 wickets. Ojha was dangerous in Ahmedabad and was impressive in Mumbai as well. Ojha lacked support at the other end and that affected his performance. The Kolkata pitch will definitely assist the spinners and Ojha will have to do well.
R Ashwin: This is a critical Test match for Ashwin. He was the most trusted spinner before the series started but has been disappointing in the previous two matches. Ashwin has always struggled bowling in foreign conditions, but this time he has struggled in home conditions as well. Ashwin has taken only four wickets at an average of 60. His strike-rate is well over 100. This Test might determine his future in Indian Test side. He has done well for India in past and a lot will depend on him if India has to do well.
Alastair Cook: He has been the best batsman for England and has already played some phenomenal innings. Like Pujara, Cook too has got hundred in both matches and is second on the list of highest run-scorer with 357 runs against his name. Cook was brilliant in Mumbai and gelled well with Pietersen. India will have to get him out of want they want to take the lead in the series.
Kevin Pietersen: He played a superb innings in Mumbai and it was certainly one of his all time best. It was his innings that gave England the edge and the lead. Pietersen took the attack to the Indian bowlers and hit them to every corner of the ground. All the focus will once again on him and India just can’t afford another innings of that stature from this dangerous batsman.
Monty Panesar: He was the hero for England with the ball. It will be fair to say that Monty made the biggest contribution to England’s win. All the Indian batsmen struggled against him and failed to pick his pace. He dismantled the strong Indian batting unit and will once again be a crucial player for England. He will be itching to have a go against the Indians at Eden Gardens.
Graeme Swann: He has got 14 wickets in the series so far and has showed why he is one of the best spinners going around. Swann played second fiddle to Panesar in the last match but still ended with eight wickets in the match. It is always a treat watching him bowl and Indians will have to play him well if they want to put a good total on the board.
By Indian Sports News Network