London: India look set to pick the same side that routed England in the third Test when the two teams clash for the series-decider at The Oval beginning on Thursday.
"I think you'll find that our combinations will be pretty similar to Headingley," coach John Wright said in an interview to 'BBC Sport' last night, hinting that India would go in with the dual spin attack of Anil Kumble and Harbhajan Singh. "We may look at one or two things but we seemed to get the formula right there," he said. India dominated throughout the five days of the third Test at Headingley, winning by an innings and 46 runs to level the series at 1-1.
And Wright singled out Sanjay Bangar, who scored 68 after being brought into the side to open the batting, for special praise. "I think having Bangar open the batting made the difference and we had a good first day following on from that," Wright said. "In fact it was a pretty good team performance and we caught well - we took some good catches at some critical juncture particularly in the second innings."
India starts the final Test as the marginal favourites, which could be a major boost, the former New Zealand captain said. "We're happy to be in this situation. We fought well at both Trent Bridge and obviously at Headingley we got it all together. After the first Test (which India lost) we're quite happy to be in the situation we're in. But there are always labels bandied around and I think the two sides are pretty evenly matched." Besides being the series decider, Thursday marks Sachin Tendulkar's 100th Test appearance for India.
"At 29, he's still got a lot of cricket left. It's a great achievement (to reach his 100th Test) and we'd like him to have a very successful Test match." As regards The Oval wicket, he said it has still got a little bit of moisture but there's still two days to go. "I'd like to think that we'll start with a pretty dry wicket which makes for good viewing for the public," he said.