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Aug 11, 2014 at 08:39am IST

How India can right their wrongs to save England series

"A retired master car thief must come back to the industry and steal 50 cars with his crew in one night to save his brother's life." The plot for India to salvage lost pride in England is not as serious as the 2000 flick 'Gone in 60 seconds', but the storyline is not dissimilar. "The former No. 1 Test team must come back, score and take 20 wickets in five days to save the Test series."

If there were crimes in Test cricket, losing nine wickets in a session will be one of those. As a result, India are virtually behind the bars after losing the fourth Test in England - with no solution in sight to break free.

ALSO SEE India crumble to a crushing defeat

But there's got to be someone, something to get India out of jail or at least a proper jailbreak plan to return home with a 2-2 score.

How India can right their wrongs to save England series

Ajinkya Rahane looks in disbelief after returning a simple catch to Moeen Ali. (Getty Images)

Think of Pujara as an opener

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Cheteshwar Pujara may be struggling but is still the most technically correct batsman available to India. And he can't do worse than what Shikhar Dhawan and Gautam Gambhir have done at the top.

Rahane at No. 3

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Ajinkya Rahane, along with Murali Vijay, has looked the best in front of the wickets. Then why not ask your in-form batsmen to counter James Anderson and Stuart Broad than offer easy prey to English wolves on the prowl.

Respect Moeen, but only respect

19 wickets for a part-time offspinner selected primarily to bat in the middle order is nothing short of a slap on India's face. It's like England saying: "We don't need a Graeme Swann to handle you, Moeen Ali is more than enough."

Sourav Ganguly and Farokh Engineer have lambasted Indian batsmen in their 'respectful' treatment to Ali. And giving respect doesn't mean you allow a part-timer to become the second-highest wicket-taker of the series. Play him out but don't play and get out to him.

The Indians have been too defensive while handling Ali, which allowed him to set aggressive fields, create chances and eventually take control. Considered best players of spin, the Indian batting line-up needs to clear its mental blocks and punish Ail when he needs to be punished.

Catch it!

Many believe the series changed course when Ravindra Jadeja dropped Alastair Cook in the slips at Southampton. Then on 15, Cook went on to make 95, getting runs as well as confidence to lead the team.

Since then, many chances have been grassed and eyebrows raised over India's slip cordon. But when your captain says "this is the best we have got", then there's nothing left to be said; just get your head up and catch it.

End Pankaj experiment, shop from the bench

Naman Ojha and Ishwar Pandey are the two untested players left on the bench. Seeing back-up 'keeper Ojha playing as a batsman is both far-fetched and unreasonable. But getting Pandey into the eleven is worth pondering, especially when Pankaj Singh toiled for more than 69 overs to get his first Test wicket.

Pray for Ishant's fitness

The missing link since India's historic Lord's win and two back-to-back defeats thereafter has been Ishant Sharma. His seven wickets hastened the climax at the Home of Cricket. But his absence since then due to an ankle injury is hastening the fate of this series in England's favour - so much so that India have bowled out England only once in two Tests without Ishant. His return can make a world of difference, and India should pray for it.

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