Last Act

As a venue for the last act of what has been a compelling three act drama, The Oval couldn't be bettered. The wicket's usually hard, making life relatively comfortable for batsmen but offering plenty to bowlers of all types and it's a ground which holds great memories for both sides. India the seminal victory in 1971 and the magnificent near miss of '79, England the regaining of the Ashes in 2005 and a host of other dramatic matches, notably the series-levelling win over South Africa in 2003 which seemed to have it all at the time.

Things are evenly balanced and both sides have incentives beyond the game at hand. England have their post-2001 unbeaten home series record to preserve, India the desire to prove that they can win abroad and then avoid their usual collapse.

Sounds great.

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