After the ODIs and T20s, it’s finally time for the longest format of the game. India has been in England for over a month now preparing for this series. India is coming into this series on the back of a disappointing defeat at the hands of New Zealand in the WTC finals. England on the other hand are the favorites going into this series. India faces one of their toughest challenges in Test cricket as they begin a five-match series against England, at Trent Bridge in Nottingham on Wednesday. The last time India won a Test series in England was back in 2007, and the previous three tours to the United Kingdom have resulted in defeats in the longest format.
It is almost impossible to defeat team England in their home conditions but the absence of Jofra Archer and Ben Stokes will definitely give India a very good chance at winning this series. India too on the other hand has some injury concerns. The absence of opener Shubman Gill and all-rounder Washington Sundar will create problems. Prithvi Shaw and Suryakumar Yadav will be flying to England as replacements.
Mayank Agarwal too has been ruled out of the first test match due to an injury during a training session. But this could be a blessing in disguise as it gives KL Rahul an opportunity up the order along with Rohit Sharma.
King Kohli will be looking for his first series win in England. He has been short of runs for a while now, his last century came around 2 years back which is a concern for his standards. The Indian batsmen will have to step up and face the English conditions head-on to give the team a chance to win the series. The English pace attack will look to expose the Indian weakness of playing in swinging conditions with Jimmy Anderson at the helm.
Things to watch out for
This might be the last time we get to witness the epic rivalry between James Anderson and Virat Kohli. James Anderson is only 3 wickets away from overtaking Anil Kumble’s record of 619 wickets. This will be a big motivating factor for him.
But in the absence of Archer and Stokes, the player to watch out for will definitely be Sam Curran. The allrounder absolutely troubled the Indians last time around with the ball and bat. India will have to keep him quiet to have an advantage in the series.
The Captain’s take on the importance and magnitude of this series
Virat Kohli said in a recent interview, “I don’t really believe that some series matter more than the others, because then you’re really picking and choosing what you want to do. And that’s not being honest to the game in my opinion. So any match you play for your country and any series is as important as any other series you play around the world. And for us it’s wanting difficult cricket, wanting tough cricket. And wanting to win in conditions which are not ours.”
Some say this is a good opportunity for India to win the series against this ‘weakened’ English side while others claim that India has no chance in these conditions. There is only one way to find out, so be sure to tune in tomorrow to catch all the live-action.
India: Virat Kohli (captain), Rohit Sharma, Cheteshwar Pujara, Ajinkya Rahane (vice-captain), Hanuma Vihari, Rishabh Pant (wicket-keeper), R Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja, Axar Patel, Jasprit Bumrah, Ishant Sharma, Mohammed Shami, Mohammed Siraj, Shardul Thakur, Umesh Yadav, KL Rahul, Wriddhiman Saha (wicket-keeper), Abhimanyu Easwaran, Prithvi Shaw, Suryakumar Yadav.
England: Joe Root (captain), James Anderson, Jonny Bairstow, Dom Bess, Stuart Broad, Rory Burns, Jos Buttler, Zak Crawley, Sam Curran, Haseeb Hameed, Dan Lawrence, Jack Leach, Ollie Pope, Ollie Robinson, Dom Sibley, Mark Wood.
The coverage will begin at 3:30 pm IST on the Sony Ten Network.