Can Ishant Sharma help India save their pride in 5th Test?

By Chaitan Papnai | Updated: Aug 14, 2014, 16:45 PM IST

Zee Media Bureau/Chaitan Papnai

New Delhi: The fifth and final Test, starting Friday, would be a make or break situation for Team India, who are 2-1 down in the series against the host England. The Oval Test would certainly be the last chance for the tourists to save their pride by beating England to level the much anticipated series.

The good news for MS Dhoni-led team is that their most experienced speedster on the tour and hero of the Lord`s Test is looking match fit.

The tall Delhi pacer took part in Team India`s last two practice sessions, which shows that he is all set to play the crucial Test.

In the absence of Sharma, Indian bowling unit looked toothless in the last two Tests. But if he proves his match fitness, one can expect Indian bowlers to give some tough time to English batsmen, who have regained their form in the series.

In the Lord`s Test, Sharma bowled his heart out to scalp seven wickets in the fourth innings to turn the match on its head, which gave the tourists a chance to celebrate a victory on the historic ground after 28-long years. In the Lord`s Test, Sharma exploited the weakness English batsmen have against the short-pitch stuff.

In fact, in the fourth Test, speedster Varun Aaron also gave England some physical and mental blows by using bouncers to good effect. Aaron broke the nose of Stuart Broad at Manchester, when a quick bouncer slid between his helmet`s wiser and forced him to leave the ground.

If Sharma makes a comeback in the side, then along with Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Aaron, the pace battery can push the hosts on the back-foot. Besides that, Indian batsmen too have to stand and deliver to back their bowlers in the all important Test.