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Sourav Ganguly - Through the off-side

Match heading for a draw but do not rule out a twist in the tale, writes Ganguly

Monday, December 22, 2021
Amazed at KP's switch-hit

The game seems to be ambling away towards a draw at the end of Day 4, with India gaining an overall lead of 285 runs. As things stand, it looks like India is happy to settle for a draw, as they batted cautiously for most of the day, after dismissing England pretty quickly this morning. Yuvraj added some impetus towards the end with a quick-fire 39, but the defensive approach by most of the other batsmen seems to have left us with a possible stalemate.

Kevin Pietersen admitted in his post-match press conference on Sunday, the he would be happy with a draw, and the tactics employed by his bowlers today was proof of the same. Anderson and Broad bowled very wide of the off stump, and hardly made the batsman play. When India were 46 for 3, England should have gone for the kill, and attacked the stumps with more men in catching positions. Instead, they bowled too many wide deliveries, and the result was a session with just over 2 runs scored per over.

I felt India could have been a bit more aggressive in the final session on Monday, as it wasn't till the very end, that Yuvraj took a few risks and played some big shots off Monty Panesar.

Bad light and fog are bound to curtail proceedings tomorrow, so it will be interesting to see how long India bat. After South Africa's outrageous run chase at Perth, teams may feel they can chase down any target of 4 runs per over, so I'm sure captains will exercise a degree of caution while declaring.

Kevin Pietersen holds the key on Tuesday, as he is capable of scoring quickly at any stage of the game. He is turning into a modern-day great, and I am amazed at his range of strokes, particularly his 'switch-hit'. It's amazing how he generates extraordinary power with that particular shot, and I think we should marvel at his talent, rather than bicker about the legality of the stroke.

Cricketing scripts rarely go to plan, and Indian fans will be hoping for some magic from their bowlers. Harbhajan and Mishra will be quite a challenge for the English batsmen on a fifth day wicket, so there still might be a twist in the tale.

A 1-0 series victory will keep India at the third spot in the ICC Test Rankings, as South Africa's outrageous victory at Perth will keep them at No 2. It's been a great year for India in both forms of the game, and I'm sure Dhoni will want to end the year with another Test win.

Let's hope for the best on Tuesday!