In the build-up to the third Test against India at Headingley, England had lost Stuart Broad to a series-ending calf injury, Mark Wood was ruled out after hurting his shoulder on the boundary at Lord's, Jofra Archer's involvement before the end of the year was declared an impossibility and Jimmy Anderson was feeling some continued tightness in his quad after some doubts before the second Test.
This week, as the fourth Test at the Oval approaches, England's fortunes appear to have dramatically changed. Chris Woakes and Mark Wood have returned to the squad, Anderson looks in fine fettle and Craig Overton has been kept on, with Saqib Mahmood released back to his county. The home side, off the back of a resounding victory, finally have the options and variety that a quality senior bowling attack requires.
Having bowled India out for 78 at Leeds on day one and taken eight quick wickets on the fourth day's first session, England have begun to gain something of a grip on this most talented of Indian batting line-ups. The return of Wood will provide the potential for something different, an "enforcer" should things go flat. Woakes regaining his fitness is huge for the hosts, not only for his metronomic bowling that suits English conditions so perfectly, but also for his ability with the bat that will lengthen England's lower order even further should he play.
Jos Buttler has dropped out of the squad in preparation for the birth of his and his wife's second child, with Jonny Bairstow set to take the gloves and wicket-keeping back-up coming in the shape of Sam Billings. Ollie Pope may well replace Buttler as the Surrey man returns from injury problems of his own.
England, of course, will be wary of India's inherent ability to bite back, and Virat Kohli's side will be particularly keen to do so after the rampant backlash in the Indian press and on social media after their loss at Headingley. Below, our very own Tony Bishop and Nakul Pande joined the guys at Waadaplaya to discuss the overreaction amongst fans of the tourists, urging them to be patient given India have already won so many key sessions in this Test series.
We had @tonybishop1 and @NakulMPande from @guerillacricket speak about Social Media reactions (over reactions) from #ENGvIND Headingley test & What went right for @englandcricket and what went wrong for @BCCI #waadaplaya #ENGvsIND @sanjuynwa— Waadaplaya!!! 🏏 (@waadaplaya) August 30, 2021
Video: https://t.co/06iKwJoh8K pic.twitter.com/JEI1Xsjs8E