In the middle of all the white-ball frenzy, it’s finally time for the purists to enjoy their cricket as the England vs India First Test is about to go live from August 4 at Trent Bridge, Nottingham. It is the first of the five-match series with India eyeing their first Test series win in England since 2007.
So with all that’s going around in the world of cricket, what can we expect from the England vs India first Test? Let’s find out.
INDIA’S HUNT FOR AN OPENER CONTINUES
First-choice Test opener for Team India, Shubman Gill was ruled out of the series after the World Test Championship Final and has returned home since then. The team was looking at Mayank Agarwal to reclaim his spot at the top of the order but in recent news it has been confirmed that Agarwal suffered a blow to his head in the nets and has been ruled out of the first Test due to a concussion.
That has left the team management scrambling to find a capable opener at the very last moment. KL Rahul seems to be the obvious choice given that he has experience of opening in Test cricket in England and is coming into the series on the back of a well-crafted hundred in the practice match against the County Select XI.
BEN STOKES TAKES A BREAK
In what has been mega news in England, their star all-rounder Ben Stokes has withdrawn from the series in order to give his mental well-being priority and at the same time give his injured finger more time to heal. Stokes has gone through a lot in the previous year or so and we wish Stokes the best of luck and hope that he can come back even stronger.
In the absence of Stokes, England are losing a top-drawer all-rounder. This is a massive void to fill for them as Stokes is probably their best batter as well. In a batting lineup that is already short on runs and confidence, the absence of Stokes can hamper their chances of doing well in this series.
Along with Stokes, the team are also missing Jofra Archer, Chris Woakes, Ollie Pope and Olly Stone. There are plenty of younger players who’d be looking at this series hoping to leave a mark on international cricket.
SELECTION ISSUES FOR TEAM INDIA
Just like England have their selection conundrum, Team India have their own dilemma as well when it comes to picking their XI for the first Test. Many people suggested that they got it wrong in the final of the WTC as they went in with their best five bowlers rather than picking horses for courses.
Will Virat Kohli continue to back his two spinners or would drop one to include the ever-improving pacer Mohammed Siraj? Another player they’d be closely monitoring would be India’s vice-captain Ajinkya Rahane who is recovering from a hamstring issue.
BROAD AND ANDERSON RULE TRENT BRIDGE
Stuart Broad and James Anderson is the best opening bowling combination any team could have in English conditions. They are by far the most consistent duo the country has ever produced and to date are performing at an extremely high level. Broad and Anderson love bowling at Trent Bridge and would be eager to put their bowling shoes on for this first Test.
Anderson has picked up 64 wickets at Trent Bridge which is the highest by any bowler in the history of the game. Broad has 40 scalps to his name that includes the famous 8/15 against Australia. Against an unsettled Indian top-order, Broad and Anderson can have a great time.
HAPPY HUNTING GROUND FOR KING KOHLI
Talking about records at Trent Bridge, Indian captain Virat Kohli would have happy memories of 2018 going into the first Test. King Kohli was awarded the Man of the Match award for his 97 in the first innings and 103 in the second innings. Those two innings helped India get their only win in the 2018 series and Kohli would be hoping to replicate that performance and start the series on a high.
INDIA LOOK TO REPLICATE 2018 PERFORMANCE
As mentioned above, Trent Bridge was the only venue where India managed to pull off a win in the 2018 series. Jasprit Bumrah picked up a five-wicket haul in the second innings while Chesteshwar Pujara and Ajinkya Rahane got superb fifties in the second and first innings, respectively. There would be plenty of positives to take from that victory and surely some footage from the game would help the team prepare for this Test.
England: Rory Burns, Dom Sibley, Zak Crawley, Joe Root (C), Jonny Bairstow, Jos Buttler (WK), Sam Curran, Mark Wood, Jack Leach, Stuart Broad, James Anderson
India: KL Rahul, Rohit Sharma, Chesteshwar Pujara, Virat Kohli (C), Ajinkya Rahane, Rishabh Pant (WK), Ravindra Jadeja, Ravichandran Ashwin, Ishant Sharma, Mohammed Shami, Jasprit Bumraah
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