England seemed to be the stronger arm till the beginning of the third test. In fact, they registered a lead against the guests by winning the first two tests at Edgbaston and the Lords’ test by the support of pacers and all-rounders. However, India’s run-machine Virat Kohli and Hardik Pandya played a crucial role in India’s victory in the third test at Trent Bridge. The Ageas Bowl or The rose bowl at Southampton will host the fourth test against England. This would be the last test between India and England at least till 2025.
The Rose Bowl hosted the first test in 2011 against India and England and the next one between England and Sri Lanka the same year. The first one stood as a draw due to rain and the next one was a memorable victory for England in 0-1 under the captaincy of Alistair Cook. After that win, England rose to lead the series by 3-1 out of five test matches.
Coming to the current situation at the Ageas bowl, there is a green tinge on the pitch though Southampton is known to support batsmen. The pitch resembles the Lords’ to support seam attack. The question the English team has to answer is will Joe Root’s army dare to make a bouncy pitch keeping in mind the outstanding pacers from India like Jasprit Bumrah and Ishant Sharma, in addition to Mohammed Shami, who added some spice to his bowling in the first two test matches.
Another question is, what would be the English captain’s decision if they win the toss. The toss has 50-50 impact on the result of the game. After rain washed out the first day of the Lords’ test, Joe Root decided to field and James Anderson recorded a five-wicket howl to bowl out India at 107 and the hosts scored 396/7 and declared the innings to register a massive victory in the second test and register a lead of 2-0. In the first test, India lost the game by 31 runs despite giving a tough fight.
The ground at Nottingham supports pacers and India registered huge scores of 329 and 352/7 declared to register a victory, the first one in the five-game series. In that game also, Joe Root won the toss and elected to bowl. His move proved to be wrong and the hosts were troubled by Kohli and bowlers Hardik Pandya, Jasprit Bumrah, and Ishant Sharma. However, if the hosts can win the test, they can wrap up the series by 3-1 and if they lose the series, the fight becomes tougher.