Another overseas test series. Another series loss. The same old story for Indian cricket continues as Virat Kohli and his men gear up to play the final test of the 5-match series against England at The Oval. Having already conceded the series 1-3, India doesn't have much to play for expect for pride.
The visitors have competed in the series at different points but have let go of the crucial moments and not shown enough application and discipline. The openers have failed and the middle-order has been inconsistent barring captain Kohli. Off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin's performance has been mediocre and has hurt the team's chances further. And while the pacers have been very good, they have lacked the killer instinct to finish off the tail. In fact, the Indian bowlers have allowed the English tail to wag too much and too often and that has cost them dear.
The 60-run loss at Southampton would be hurting Kohli badly. He has given it all as a batsman but as a leader he has come short on many occasions. The onus would be on him to find the motivation in him one last time in the series and push his team to do better.
India's record at The Oval hasn't been great over the past many years. But the last test presents an opportunity for them to go out on a high and salvage some pride. A few changes in the team are likely and necessary. Ravindra Jadeja, who has been warming the benches for the entire series, should get a go ahead in the last test ahead of Ashwin. Shikhar Dhawan, despite the numerous chances, has failed and has been careless at the top. Young opener Prithwi Shaw should be given a chance instead. India badly needs a proper test opener who can play in seaming conditions and if Shaw can come good, it can be great news for India.
Kohli will also have to be proactive in shuffling his bowlers around and ensure that the team doesn't let crucial moments slip away from its hands. Another loss here would be extremely demoralising for the team. India is slated to tour Australia later in the year and a 1-4 loss in England hanging on their backs will not augur well for them when they tour Down Under. What's more is that this England side hasn't even been at its best. They have several loopholes but India hasn't been able to exploit them.