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The Trent Bridge test will be the proving ground for skills, temperament and preparedness of Team India, which is staring down the barrel due to a string of lackluster performances.
With England overpowering India in the first two tests, the spotlight shifts to the third test getting underway on 18th August at the Trent Bridge, Nottingham. Notwithstanding the results of the previous two tests, the Trent Bridge test is expected to be a high intensity encounter because stakes are high for both teams. The visitors will be keen to play to their potential and keep the series alive while the hosts will look to gain an unassailable 3-0 lead in the five test match series. The encounter will also be a litmus test for Virat’s leadership, as he has the tall ask to lift the morale of the team and orchestrate a win in the face of heavy odds.
Everything is going England’s way, it seems. They look a balanced unit vis-à-vis India, playing disciplined and positive cricket, and keeping visitors on a short leash. Their batsmen are among runs, especially the middle order that is putting up brilliant performances in the hour of crisis. In the first test, it was young all-rounder Sam Curran’s blitzkrieg that robbed India of an imminent win, while Chris Woakes’ unbeaten 137 put his team in the driver’s seat in the second encounter. Captain Joe Root also looks in fine nick and so does Jonny Barstow, the young wicketkeeper who missed a well deserved century in the Lord’s test.
The bowlers have also contributed for England’s cause. Pace spearheads, James Anderson and Stuart Broad exploited the Indian batsmen’s vulnerability against quality seamers in tailored conditions to gain control of the match. Anderson claimed 9 scalps in both innings of the second test, while Broad added 5 wickets to his career wicket tally. Chris Woakes, the promising young all-rounder also played his role to perfection, taking 4 wickets, including the all important one of the Indian skipper in the first innings. Moreover, the ground stats also favor the Englishmen, as they romped home in 5 of 7 tests played at Trent Bridge since 2010. Apparently, England will be the clear favorite for bettors wagering on live cricket odds.
India, on the other hand, seems to have the lost the plot altogether. After a fairly successful tour to South Africa, this team was expected to reverse the losing streak of the two miserable England tours in 2011 and 2014. However, such expectations went haywire as the test series unfolded. Their batting frailties in seaming conditions were laid bare in both tests, which lead to humiliating defeats. Only Virat could put up a decent show, particularly in the first test with an aggregate of 200 runs, while the rest meekly surrendered to some inspired bowling.
The bowlers are struggling to find the right length, as none of them, except for Sami, looked menacing for the opposition batsmen. They could not take wickets when it mattered, and let the Englishmen dictate terms in virtually every session of the previous two contests. If inside reports are something to go by, Virat is likely to miss the third test, which could be the biggest setback for a team on a consistent downward spiral. India has to get their act together, take the two back to back defeats in their stride and get back to winning ways. As far as live betting odds are concerned, they will change in India’s favor once the team shows some spine.