London: India will be out to salvage anything they can from a series in which they have been completely overwhelmed by a rampant England. A powerful seam attack and determined batsmen snatched the No. 1 crown from a weary Indian side in the third Test at Edgbaston. (JPN)
The fourth Test to be played at The Oval, a heavy scoring ground, and if Indian captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni can lift the morale of his team, he has enough world-class batsmen to restore pride to his deposed team.
Rahul Dravid has scored two hundreds in the series and Sachin Tendulkar is still looking for his first to reach the magical 100 international hundreds. His highest score in three Tests at The Oval is 82 in 2007, when India won the toss and batted for 170 overs to score 664 in a drawn game.
Suresh Raina's place is under threat after making 105 runs in six innings in the series. Left-armer RP Singh arrived after problems with his visa and may replace Sreesanth, who has been expensive with five wickets in two Tests at 74 apiece.
England's stated ambition is to win the series 4-0. They have won all the Tests in a four- or five-match series only twice: Against India in 1959 and against West Indies in 2004.
They have won eight out of its last 12 Tests, including six by an innings, with three draws and one defeat. In past, India had lost each Test in a series against Australia in 1999-2000, when they were defeated 3-0.
The gap between the teams shows up in the stats: In this series England have had nine 100-run partnerships, India one.
England batsmen have scored five hundreds, whereas for India, Dravid has made two centuries.
England has taken 60 wickets in the series, India 41.
James Anderson has tightness in his right quadriceps, and in the absence of the still-injured Chris Tremlett the question will be whether to play Steve Finn or Graham Onions. Finn was included in the squad for the second and third Tests and earlier replaced Anderson against Sri Lanka in the second Test at Lord's when Anderson had a minor side strain. Finn took four wickets in that match and was leading wicket-taker in the Ashes series with 14 at 33.14 after three Tests, when he was dropped in favor of Tim Bresnan.
Onions has been recalled after a gap of 18 months and has recovered from surgery to insert metal pins in his spine. Recent history suggests the selectors will stick with Finn, the youngest England bowler to take 50 wickets.
The two Andrews, Flower and Strauss, could take the view that Ravi Bopara is dispensable. He scored 7 in England's total of 710-7 declared at Edgbaston and did not bowl. He gets another chance because Jonathan Trott has not recovered from his shoulder injury.
HEAD TO HEAD
Played 102: England 37, India 19, Drawn 46.
In England 51: England 26, India 5, Drawn 20.
AT THE OVAL
England: Played 93, Won, 38 Lost 19, Drawn 36.
They have won five of the last eight matches, with two draws, though lost to Pakistan last year after being 2-0 up in the series. England were 70-5 at lunch on the first day and Wahab Riaz went on to take 5-63 on debut.
India: Played 10, Won 1 Lost 2, Drawn 7.
Their only win was by four wickets in 1971, when spinner Chandrasekhar took 8-114 in the match. The last five matches since then have all been drawn.
The average first innings score at The Oval is 346, though in matches since the millennium that figure rises to 396.
Surrey appointed a new head groundsman, Scott Patterson in January and most wickets at The Oval this season have been on the slow side.
Tim Bresnan is sometimes overlooked, but he has played a key part in two of England's last three series wins. He has taken the last wicket in both of England's biggest recent successes. He dismissed Sreesanth at Edgbaston and took the wicket of Ben Hilfenhaus in the fourth Test at Melbourne in December as England retained the Ashes.
England has won all nine Tests when he has played, a record for an England player from debut. He has scored 318 runs at 45.42 with three half-centuries, and taken 37 wickets at 23.89. In this series he has 12 wickets at 14.75, including Dravid and VVS Laxman twice each.
India's bowling has not been much to write home about, but Praveen Kumar stands out as a wholehearted trier. He has something of a fighter about him as befits a man coming from a family of wrestlers. He is India's leading wicket-taker in the series, with 15 at 29.53. He took 12 at 21.16 during the tour of West Indies, just before this tour. As India slumped to defeat at Edgbaston he smashed 40 off 18 balls, despite a nasty blow on the thumb.
Ian Bell is averaging 100.00 in six Tests this summer, with three centuries and two fifties from nine innings.
Graham Gooch scored 1,058 from six Tests in 1990. He has worked on Alastair Cook's batting, and Cook needs 296 to become the second batsman to top a thousand in an English season.
Graeme Swann needs six wickets for 150.
Matt Prior needs four dismissals for 150.
Dravid, India's best batsman in the series, has already batted for 17 hours, 22 minutes. On the 2002 tour of England he batted for 31 hours, 1 one minute, in the four-Test series and will look to beat his own record. When he plays another 208 balls he will become the first man to face 30,000 balls in Tests, the equivalent of 5,000 overs.
Tendulkar scored his 99th international hundred against South Africa at Nagpur on March 12 and has played 10 innings for India since then. He needs 28 to become the first man to score 33,000 international runs; Ricky Ponting is second on 26,313.
If Dravid and Tendulkar score 18 more runs together in partnership they will overtake Gordon Greenidge and Des Haynes to become the most prolific partnership in history. They already hold the record for the most hundred stands.
Dhoni needs three dismissals to pass Syed Kirmani's 198 and become the leading wicketkeeper for India.
London: India will be out to salvage anything they can from a series in which they have been completely overwhelmed by a rampant England. A powerful seam attack and determined batsmen snatched the No. 1 crown from a weary Indian side in the third Test at Edgbaston.