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Sourav Ganguly - Through the off-side

India firm favourites but England need to make changes if they need to win, writes Ganguly

Friday, December 19, 2021
India should persist with Yuvraj

After the stupendous win in Chennai, I don't think the runs chased down, or the excitement would have still sunk in. India can do nothing wrong at the moment, and the English team must be wondering what more needs to be done to win a game in India.

India has hardly put a foot wrong in the last three months, and on current form the players may feel they can win every game they play.

A lot of the credit for the win in Chennai should go to Virender Sehwag, whose amazing knock-out punch on the fourth day, instilled thoughts of victory, rather than merely playing for a draw on the final day.

The pitch in Mohali will assist the seamers as we are in the month of December, and if we go by what Mr. Daljit Singh has said in a press conference, there will be a tinge of green on the wicket. I am far away from Mohali, but I will not be surprised to see a blade of grass on the pitch.

England must lift themselves up quickly, as a defeat like Chennai can have a contagious demoralising effect on any team. Everyday is a new day, and things should get better for them in the second Test.

Harmison has so much ability as a quick bowler, but it was disappointing that he showed absolutely no heart in Chennai. He must take a leaf out of Andrew Flintoff's book, who bowled his heart out in Chennai, but got no support from the other end. It's crucial that the other English bowlers contribute in Mohali, without leaving the entire burden on Flintoff's shoulders.

Monty Panesar's form is a bit of a worry, as he looked completely out of sorts in the second innings in Chennai. I was surprised that he didn't flight the ball enough, and kept bowling over the wicket to the right handers. If he is picked in Mohali, he must attack the batsman, and look to give the ball a lot more flight.

I would also like to see Owais Shah replace Ian Bell in Mohali. Shah was in superb form during the one day series, and one mustn't forget that he played a crucial role in England's win in the Test in Mumbai on their previous tour.

India doesn't seem to have any concerns going into the second Test, and will be confident of wrapping up the series 2-0.

Yuvraj batted extremely well in Chennai, and this knock may well be a turning point in his career as a Test batsman. Its one thing scoring a hundred in the first innings, but your credibility as a Test batsman is put to a stern Test when you need to bat on the fifth day and win a game for your side. His gritty knock of 85 will go a long way in establishing his position in India's Test middle-order. I hope the selectors continue to persist with him now.

India will regain the No.2 spot in the ICC Test rankings with a 2-0 win, and they are firm favourites to achieve the same.