India vs England, Mohali Test: Where the match will be won and lost
India have played 12 Tests at Mohali, winning six of those, and losing only one match.
New Delhi: A confident India under Virat Kohli will take on Alastair Cook's England in the all-important third match of the five-Test series at Mohali. Let's look at five areas where the match will be won and lost.
1. India's over reliance on Kohli
India will start as the clear favourites when the third Test starts on Saturday at Mohali. England will find it hard to shake off the thumping defeat they suffered at Visakhapatnam.
But the Indian team's over reliance on their skipper Virat Kohli for runs can prove detrimental in Mohali, where traditionally spinners have limited role in deciding the fate of a match.
Unlike India, English batting line-up has blossomed in the last two matches. Mind you, in Bangladesh, England batsmen were clueless.
2. England pacers against Indian middle-order
Another area where the outcome of the match is likely to be decided is the battle between Indian middle-order against England pacers.
Barring Kohli, Cheteshwar Pujara and up to some extent Ravichandran Ashwin, Indian middle-order has failed to deliver.
English pacers will be eager to exploit the little assistance that they get in Mohali when the two teams meet. Stuart Broad is almost certain to miss the match, but in James Anderson and the returning Chris Woakes, the visitors still have capable hands.
3. The battle of wicket-keepers
England are likely to employ Jos Buttler, who comes in for Ben Duckett, as the wicket-keeper instead of Jonny Bairstow. And India will have Parthiv Patel in for Wriddhiman Saha. In their bid to make a statement, either of the two players can make things worst of himself and for the team.
Besides their keeping roles, both the players will be required to contribute with the bat too. And it will be a tough ask. A lucky few have managed to join the team and deliver in the first opportunity.
4. India's Mohali record
Despite all these concerns, India can still take heart from the fact that they have won the last three matches at Mohali. England’s record at Mohali is also very poor. Out of three matches, India have defeated England twice.
For the record, India have played 12 Tests at Mohali, winning six of those, and losing only one match. It certainly is one of India's most favoured grounds, and the players know it.
5. The Ashwin factor
Then, there is Ashwin – India's ultimate match-winner, even bigger than Sachin Tendulkar. Now with his new found liking for scoring big runs, he will be Kohli's weapon of choice.
It's been a quiet series so far by Ashwin's standard, especially considering the fact that it's a home series. The 30-year-old will be motivated like never before to stamp his authority.
And here are the players to look out for
Batsmen: Kohli, Pujara; Cook, Haseeb Hameed, Joe Root
Bowlers: Mohammad Shami, Ashwin; Anderson, Woakes
All-rounders: Ashwin; Moeen Ali