Match Preview – India vs England, England tour of India 2020/21, 4th Test

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It would be tempting to place the Ahmedabad pitch and ball on centre stage, given that both stole the critics’ attention after the two-nights-only performance that was the third Test. But then, that would be akin to allowing some wonky scenery to distract from the actors and there’s so much more at play here. Crucially for India, they cannot afford to lose the grand finale at the same venue if they are to reach the World Test Championship final against New Zealand at Lord’s in June. But they also need only a draw to get there.

England, whose heavy defeat inside two days last week denied them any prospect of making it to the big dance, have shifted the narrative towards what drawing the series 2-2 would mean. Given that India have not lost two Tests in a home series since 2012 and the margins of their two most recent victories – 317 runs in the second Test and 10 wickets in the third – it would be quite something for England to turn things back around.