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    Can England maintain the series against India without Bumrah?
Can England maintain the series against India without Bumrah?
via Midjourney

Can England maintain the series against India without Bumrah?

England have not lost a Test series since Stokes and McCullum took over. But that could change in Ranchi.

Joe Root aims to make a comeback

During the Bazball era, England has been successful in Test series, winning four and drawing three out of the seven completed series. However, their winning streak may come to an end as India, who defeated England by 434 runs in Rajkot, currently leads 2-1 going into the fourth Test in Ranchi.

Throughout the series, India's batting line-up has appeared unsteady. With Rohit Sharma and Shubman Gill back in form, and Sarfaraz Khan and Dhruv Jurel making impressive debuts, the team's previous batting issues seem to have been resolved.

Nevertheless, their bowling line-up in Ranchi may be their weakest yet, as they have rested Jasprit Bumrah, their most influential bowler with 17 wickets at 13.64 in the first three Tests. To compensate for this, they have prepared a pitch that Ben Stokes described as unprecedented. More information on this will be provided later.

England's middle order must perform better. Therefore, Bumrah's absence should provide some relief, particularly for Joe Root. Bumrah has dismissed Root nine times in 13 Tests, including three times in this series. Consequently, Root has only scored 77 runs in six innings on this tour so far, and his average of 12.83 is his second-worst in a Test series.

Another positive thing for England is that Stokes appears ready to resume bowling. Considering the England captain's knack for delivering crucial breakthroughs, the opportunity must be enticing. However, the visitors will be cautious not to act prematurely and risk losing out on the full potential of the situation.

Yashasvi Jaiswal and Jonny Bairstow in the spotlight

Yashasvi Jaiswal has been the outstanding batter in this series, scoring 545 runs at an average of 109.00 in just six innings. Ben Duckett is a distant second with 288 runs at 48.00. Jaiswal's strike rate of 81.10 and 22 sixes are the highest by a batter in a bilateral Test series. England must find a way to stop him if they are to level the series.

Jonny Bairstow has struggled with the bat in the series, scoring only 102 runs at an average of 17.00. The team management is not concerned with it and is focused on boosting his confidence while ignoring external distractions. It is now up to Bairstow to prove himself and justify their trust.

England have brought in Robinson and Bashir to their team

Who will replace Bumrah is the only question for India. They are likely to opt for either Mukesh Kumar or the uncapped Akash Deep, with three spinners already in the XI. Although he missed Thursday's optional practice session, where Akash did a lot of batting and fielding, Mukesh should be the front-runner.

Two changes have been made by England for their Test match in India. Ollie Robinson will replace Mark Wood and make his debut, while offspinner Shoaib Bashir has been selected over Rehan Ahmed due to his high release point.

There is rain in the air

The pitch in Ranchi appears to be significantly more spin-friendly than any of the previous ones in the series. According to Stokes, it is 'very dark and crumbly', while Ollie Pope noted that one half of the pitch had significantly more cracks than the other if cut vertically. More grass was shaved off on Thursday. The weather forecast predicts showers on the third and fifth days of the Test.

Anderson is on the verge of reaching 700, a significant milestone, stats:

- James Anderson is just four wickets away from reaching 700 Test wickets. This puts him in third place behind Muthiah Muralidaran, who took 800 wickets, and Shane Warne, who took 708.

- Ben Stokes is also close to reaching a milestone, as he is only three wickets away from 200 Test wickets. When he reaches this milestone, he will become only the third all-rounder, after Garry Sobers and Jacques Kallis, to achieve the double of 6000 runs and 200 wickets.

- Additionally, Jonny Bairstow is only 94 runs away from reaching 6000 Test runs, while Rohit Sharma is just 23 runs away from reaching 4000.

- Ravindra Jadeja, who completed 3000 Test runs in the previous game, is close to reaching 300 Test wickets. He requires 13 more to become the seventh Indian to achieve this feat.

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