Lingering questions post India's innings defeat at Headingley: 4th Test Preview and Predictions

The high drama, roller-coaster series between India and England stands beautifully poised at one-all going into the 4th Test at the Oval, London.

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Virat Kohli said, he never believes in having a sixth specialist batter. (Image: ©BCCI/twitter)

Post the innings loss at Headingley, India have been left stranded with a bag of mixed outcomes to be processed and analysed before the short turnaround of the 4th Test. Despite the staggering defeat, mainly due to the disappointing 78-all out in the first innings, India did reap a few positives from the match apart from some much required reassessments.

India's Batting

Openers look confident

India's openers in KL Rahul and Rohit Sharma have looked the better of the lot in English conditions. Faced with the challenge of opening in England, Rahul’s hundred in the 2nd Test was a masterclass in leaving balls on or around off-stump.

Rohit Sharma’s solid defence has hugely impacted the first two Tests and the two will surely retain their place. Pataudi Series 2021 is the first away Test series where Rohit Sharma faced 400+ balls. He copped 583 deliveries till now in the ongoing Test series.

Also, Rohit Sharma overtakes his captain Virat Kohli in the ICC Men’s Test Player Rankings earlier today. Rohit Sharma climbs to No. 5 position and Virat Kohli slips to No. 6.

Middle-order concerns notwithstanding occasional flourishes

India’s middle order which has been the talk of the town, although in obvious bad form seem to be slowly improving along with the progression of the series. The Indian stalwarts – Cheteshwar Pujara, Virat Kohli and Ajinkya Rahane have earned their name by consistently performing at the highest level for a number of years and remain quite unlikely to be dropped.