Ground staff use rollers on the pitch ahead of the 4th Test against England at the Narendra Modi Stadium in Ahmedabad on Wednesday. – PTI
AHMEDABAD, March 3: A ruthless India will not take their foot off the pedal while taking England for another ‘spin ride’ in the high-stakes Test series finale starting on Thursday, aiming to not just complete another dominant home performance but also realise their World Test Championship dreams.
Virat Kohli’s men need at least a draw to maintain the current 2-1 scoreline to qualify for the Lord’s final against New Zealand while England at best can heal Tim Paine’s January scars by letting Australia a lucky passage to the summit clash with a win.
While a draw always seems a safe option in a game like this but Kohli and coach Ravi Shastri, with their attacking instincts, wouldn’t like to play a defensive game which at times can be counter-productive.
India laid a venomous trap on the refurbished Motera and with the pink ball, demolished England inside two days, messing more with their minds than getting any tangible help from the track.
Axar Patel bowled ramrod straight and England had their heads ‘spinning’ from the start. The ploy has worked well for the hosts since the second Test in Chennai.
Both Ajinkya Rahane and Zak Crawley felt that the track for the fourth Test looks ‘similar’ to what they got in the previous two matches but the red ball which skids less off the surface compared to the pink one promises to make it a better contest between the two teams.
This is a Test match where England have little to gain save salvaging a bit of pride in a drawn series.
Despite being India’s most prolific Test captain in terms of numbers, Kohli would be the first one to admit that he hasn’t had the kind of success his illustrious predecessor Mahendra Singh Dhoni had with regards the ICC events.
While this is an ICC event of a different kind, no one more than Kohli would be itching for a course correction and build his own lasting legacy as a captain.
For that, he wouldn’t pull back punches. And on another track that helps his ‘snipers’ Axar Patel and Ravichandran Ashwin, Kohli would love to see an ‘inflation’ in their current cumulative tally of 42 wickets for the series.
With Indian spinners accounting for 49 of the 60 English wickets in the first three Tests, it was anybody’s guess as how things will pan out in the final Test at the Narendra Modi Stadium. – PTI
Match Starts at 9:30 am.