India vs England Mohali Test: Test of character for both teams
India are not expected to release their grip on the series. However, Mohali provides England their best chance to hit back at one-up hosts in the third Test at Chandigarh
Captain Virat Kohli leaves the ground after practice on the eve of the third Test between India and England at the Punjab Cricket Association Stadium in Mohali yesterday. Pic/PTI
Mohali at one time had the reputation of being the fastest pitch in India just like Perth in Australia. Though it still has something for the quicks, over the years, it has lost much of its venomous character.
So, Virat Kohli and his team need not fear that the pitch may not be to their liking when they take on England in the third Test beginning today. That does not mean that the Indian team, with a 1-0 lead in hand, can afford to be complacent. This English team has much more character than the New Zealand squad that was rolled over in a Test series recently.
What Kohli needs to wary of are the injured lions. That's because England have all the bases covered. They have a good pace and spin attack, as well as the batsmen who can put up a stiff resistance. Moreover, the weather in Mohali is more to their liking with the cool breeze making things much more tolerable than hot Rajkot and Vizag.
This is the most likely venue where England can hope to give it back to India, especially if they can win the toss and put India under pressure straightaway.
"We need to take India out of their comfort zone and only then they can be rattled," is what England captain Alastair Cook felt as the way to upsetting the Indian applecart.
In the last two Test series, both in India and England, the Three Lions have hit back to win the series after having lost a Test. That should give them a lot of hope.
Despite the reverse at Vizag, the England team's body language displays they are a confident lot, and only need to get little things right, beginning with the toss today. They know too that if they succumb here, there is very little chances of a comeback in last two Tests.
Indian Test captain Virat Kohli yesterday termed the ball tampering allegations against him as a ploy to 'shift focus from the series' and the ICC would have spoken to him had there been any iota of truth in the matter.
When one English scribe asked him about the footage that shows him applying saliva to the ball Kohli said, "I think it's just a ploy to take the focus away from the series. It happened in Australia when SA won the series. Here there was no mention of the Rajkot issue until the result in Vizag," Kohli said.
Cricket lovers! Here are India vs Sri Lanka Test records and numbers you need to know