The MA Chidambaram stadium, also known as Chepauk, is ready to host India and England for the first Test of the four-match series, starting from Friday (February 05).
After scripting history in Australia, India will be targeting to extend their dominance at home. It is their first bilateral international series at home since the COVID-enforced break.
On the other hand, England shall enter the first Test with a confidence of their recent series win against Sri Lanka. The Joe Root and Co. would be focusing on playing against the odds and registering a win here. Their last triumph at Chepauk came way back in 1985 under the captaincy of David Gower.
The track at the MA Chidambaram stadium generally provides more control to batsmen due to its flat nature. The wicket at this venue tends to get tattered on the final two days. Therefore, the spinners are always in action at Chepauk.
Head to Head record:
Matches played: 122 | India: 26 | England: 47 | Draw: 49 | Tied: 0
India would not like to change the new opening pair of Shubman Gill and Rohit Sharma which got success in the recently concluded Australian tour. The number 3 spot will be as usual fulfilled by Cheteshwar Pujara and India regular skipper Virat Kohli shall be up for the fourth position. Ajinkya Rahane and Rishabh Pant will follow him.
Considering the Chennai track, the home team would play at least one extra spinner apart from Ravichandran Ashwin. Jasprit Bumrah and Ishant Sharma are expected to lead the pace attack. At the same time, there could be a toss-up between Axar Patel and Mohammed Siraj along with Hardik Pandya and Washington Sundar.
IND XI: Virat Kohli (c), Shubman Gill, Rohit Sharma, Cheteshwar Pujara, Ajinkya Rahane, Rishabh Pant (wk), Ravichandran Ashwin, Hardik Pandya/Washington Sundar, Jasprit Bumrah, Ishant Sharma, Axar Patel/Mohammed Siraj.
England batters did relatively well against Sri Lanka on the slow and spinning track at Galle International Stadium. However, there is still a huge difference between India and the Island nation’s bowling attack.
It would be tough for the visitiors to pick the right opening pair. Dominic Sibley and Zak Crawley might get a chance again. Ben Foakes is most likely to play in place of Jonny Bairstow.
Ben Stokes, Jofra Archer are expected to play the series opener along with Moeen Ali, who has a good record in India. There could be a toss-up between James Anderson and Stuart Broad. If Moeen gets a chance in the XI, either Dom Bess or Jack Leach will play as the other spinner.
ENG XI: Joe Root (c), Dominic Sibley, Zak Crawley, Dan Lawrence, Ben Foakes, Jos Buttler, Ben Stokes, Jofra Archer, Moeen Ali, James Anderson/Stuart Broad, Dom Bess/Jack Leach.