Team India, yet to recover from shocking series defeat, would still be looking for ways to cross the line when it matters the most. In two out of four games, India was in driver’s seat but frittered away opportunities and lost the series 1-3 and the disappointment is palpable among the fans back in India as well as here in England. This precisely why Virat Kohli's boys would see this Test as an opportunity to win and go home with a sense of victory at least in public memory.
This Test is set to mark the beginning of the road for Andhra middle-order batsman Hanuma Vihari, who bowls a bit of off-spin. Vihari is set to come in place of Hardik Pandya, who hasn't not done much with the bat in this series. Since Vihari bowls a bit of off spin, it goes in his favour. Ashwin is yet to recover from groin injury and is not match fit.
However, Vihari would not come as a replacement for Ashwin because Team India Think Tank would expect him to give some teeth to middle order which has failed in almost every game India have played so far. So that means the door will open for Ravindra Jadeja who was seen bowling a lot in the nets.
Vice Captain Ajinkya Rahane refused to divulge playing XI saying journalists are intelligent enough to make their own team. But he did say that this match is important from India point of view. "Every game equally importantly, we want to give our best and end on a winning note. It's true England players better than us and won sessions that made the difference but we want to go back on high."
The pitch has a bit of green on it and England, too, aren't taking anything for granted. While captain Joe Root said that winning a series 4-1 against a top-ranked team in the world will be a statement in itself, the fact that it's Cook's last Test also adds to the motivation factor of the players. The whole dressing room will be desperate to do everything they can to give him a great send off.
While India is looking to have two spinners for the first time in the series, Root too would not want to cut down on spinners to get Chris Voakes in. That cements a place for Adil Rashid. John Bairstow will get back his gloves from Jos Buttler.
Teams:India: Virat Kohli (captain), Shikhar Dhawan, Prithvi Shaw, Lokesh Rahul, Cheteshwar Pujara, Ajinkya Rahane, Dinesh Karthik, Rishabh Pant (wk), Karun Nair, Hardik Pandya, R Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja, Hanuma Vihari, Ishant Sharma, Umesh Yadav, Shardul Thakur, Mohammed Shami, Jasprit Bumrah.
England: Joe Root (captain), Alastair Cook, Keaton Jennings, Jonny Bairstow, Jos Buttler, Oliver Pope, Moeen Ali, Adil Rashid, Sam Curran, James Anderson, Stuart Broad, Chris Woakes, Ben Stokes.