The Trent Bridge Test is extremely crucial for India's chances of avoiding defeat in the series. A loss would hand England the series, while a draw would end India's chances of winning it. An Indian win though would bring them right back in the scheme of things.
That result looks unlikely the way things stand, but it is possible with the kind of benchmark that Indian players have set for themselves in the recent years. They are as things stand the No 1 team in the ICC Test rankings. It’s a do-or-die situation for Virat Kohli’s men.
Ben Stokes is back for England and replaces Sam Curran. It is an indicator of England’s depth in the whites. For India, Jasprit Bumrah is fit and raring to go while Rishabh Pant could make his debut. “Very excited with Jasprit getting fit again. He's an attacking bowler who bowls good lines and lengths. He's very consistent in hitting the areas that are required at the Test level.
He showed that in South Africa already and he's one guy who's really aggressive in (the) mind. He wants to take the situation front on and basically make the batsmen feel uncomfortable. That's been his biggest strength and he relishes the challenge whenever given an opportunity. We are very excited he's coming back. He's obviously a quality bowler and it's great to have someone like that in the park,” Kohli added in his pre-match press conference.
India need a batsman other than Virat Kohli to step up. It will however be intriguing to see that who wins the toss as it is a crucial factor in the eventual fate of the last Test. India were not able to pick up 20 wickets in the last Test for the first time this year. It can be a worrying sign for them. However, they have to forget it to remain alive in the series.
Let’s look at some interesting numbers before the third Test which clearly show that England are over-whelming favourites.
Just like at Lord's, expect James Anderson to dominate at Trent Bridge. He is the leading wicket-taker at the venue in Tests. He is the only bowler to take 50-plus wickets at the venue in whites. He needs 11 more wickets to become the most successful pacer in the history of Test cricket and England will once again rely on him to give a good start along with Stuart Broad who has also had many good memories of the ground.
The real difference between both the teams’ performance so far in the series is contribution from the lower-order. It was Sam Curran who made the difference for England with the bat in the first Test then at Lord’s, it was Chris Woakes. There is a difference of 23.15 in the batting average of both team’s lower-order batsmen. It will be intriguing to see whether India will play an extra batsman in the third Test.
No pacer has taken more wickets than James Anderson in the last five years in Test cricket and he is consistently improving himself as his bowling SR of 44.5 in this year in Test cricket is the best for him in any year in whites. He is substantiating that age is just a number with each passing day.
Ajinkya Rahane is the only top-order player in the last one year in Test cricket with a batting average of under 15 among players who have batted at least 10 times. He has to justify Ravi Shastri’s statement as he said recently called Ajinkya Rahane is one of team's "pillars".
India’s average runs per wicket in this series so far is 16.82 as compared to England’s 31.96. However, India’s average runs per wicket at Trent Bridge in Tests is 34.80 which is their third highest in SENA countries at any venue with a cut-off of five Tests played. They must adjust and try to decrease the gap between average runs per wicket in the third Test.