The day has come for which fans were eagerly waiting. England and India are all set to start the five-match Test series at the iconic Trent Bridge in Nottingham from Wednesday. The series opener will also mark the beginning of the second cycle of the World Test Championship (WTC) 2021-23.
The hosts would be looking to replicate what they did with the visitors back in 2018. On that tour, the Englishmen crushed Virat Kohli & Co. by 4-1.
On the other hand, the visitors would be aiming to turn things around this time, especially after the 3-1 home series victory against the Joe Root-led side in February-March earlier this year. Compared to India’s 2018 tour of England, their bowling attack looks much more promising, which is the key in the English conditions.
The conditions at Nottingham are as usual cloudy, and the pitch is a classic green top surface. With no surprises, the bowlers will get the early advantage. But since its August, the spinners will also have their role, especially in the later stages of the game.
Head to Head record (in England):
Matches played: 62 | England won: 34 | India won: 7 | Draw: 21 | Tied: 0
England will definitely miss Ben Stokes, who has taken an indefinite break from international cricket due to mental stress. Sam Curran and Ollie Robinson are likely to feature in the bowling attack alongside the veteran duo of James Anderson and Stuart Broad. Middle-order batsman Ollie Pope injured his quadriceps during the training, and if he remains unfit, Jonny Bairstow would definitely replace him. The hosts will also look to include a spinner in their playing XI, especially after losing the recent home series against New Zealand.
ENG XI: Joe Root (c), Rory Burns, Dom Sibley, Zak Crawley, Jos Buttler (wk), Sam Curran, Ollie Robinson, Stuart Broad, Jack Leach, James Anderson, Ollie Pope/Jonny Bairstow.
In the absence of Mayank Agarwal, KL Rahul is most likely to come in as an opener. Although India’s tactics of playing two spinners in the WTC final didn’t go in their favour, it’s highly unlikely that they would drop players like Ravindra Jadeja and Ravichandran Ashwin to add another pacer in the bowling attack.
IND XI: Virat Kohli (c), Rohit Sharma, KL Rahul, Cheteshwar Pujara, Ajinkya Rahane, Rishabh Pant (wk), Ravindra Jadeja, Ravichandran Ashwin, Ishant Sharma, Mohammed Shami, Jasprit Bumrah/Mohammed Siraj.