The third Test cannot come quickly enough for England.
The sub-continent has not been kind to Alastair Cook’s men, though their most recent batting collapse was largely their own doing through their inability to prepare for India’s spin kings.
Ben Duckett looks increasingly likely to be dropped in favour of Jos Buttler having averaged just 15.71 in the series so far. The Northants batsman has not really been given time to develop his game at Test level, but it seems England’s selectors are unsympathetic to the jump between Division Two and the international game.
In fact, Duckett’s struggles could well be the death knell for players from the smaller counties being given their chance, which is a pity given his domestic form.
When asked by the Independent whether Buttler comes into contention, Cook said:
“I think he does, yeah. It’s certainly something which the selectors will have to look at.”
On the bright side, Buttler can come in and do a job. The wicket-keeper batsman will be wary of Ravichandran Ashwin, who dismissed Duckett three times in three innings, but he does have more experience than the youngster.
However, the real question mark should be over whether Chris Woakes returns. Stuart Broad is a doubt through injury, but Woakes – or Jake Ball – could come in to replace Zafar Ansari.
Even without all these posers, Cook would not be oozing with confidence going into the game. England are 4/1 to win the Test and draw level, but few will be keen to stake anything on that given their current form.