The English cricket team took the revenge of their2-1 T20I series defeat with a 2-1 ODI series victory against India. With the limited-overs leg of the long and grueling tour of India is done and dusted, the two teams are now looking forward to locking horns in the longest format of the game with the first Test is scheduled to commence on August 1 at Edgbaston in Birmingham. This test will also make England the first team in cricket history to have played 1000 test matches.
England and India have played 117 tests against each other out of which 43 have been won by England, and 25 by the Indians with 49 having ended in draws, and the hosts have never lost a Test match against India at Edgbaston. Out the 6 matches they have played in Birmingham, England has 5-0 record over India.
In the longest format of the game, there are a few happy memories of India in England. They lost their previous Test series in England by 3-1 in July 2014.
In an attempt to predict India’s playing XI for the first Test, one can’t just ignore the fact that Shikhar Dhawan’s and Cheteshwar Pujara’s poor outing with the bat in the practice match against Essex is not a good sign for visitors. Though the performances of skipper Virat Kohli, Dinesh Karthik and KL Rahul who scored 68, 82 and 58 respectively could boost the confidence of the team management, as the pitch at Chelmsford for completely grassy.
However, in the bowling department, India will miss the services of their two first-choice seam bowlers in Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Jasprit Bumrah. In their absence, the Indian bowling attack will rely heavily on Umesh Yadav, Ishant Sharma, and Ravichandran Ashwin. In the current pool of bowlers, Ashwin is the highest wicket-takers for India with 316 wickets in 58 matches, while Ishant and Yadav will be expected to provide the early breakthroughs with the new ball.
Kuldeep Yadav, who tormented the English lineup with 5/24 and 6/25 at Old Trafford and Nottingham respectively, is expected to trouble the English batsmen in Tests as well if he gets a chance. Depending on the pitch conditions, India will either go with 3 seamers and 2 spinners or 4 seamers (Hardik Pandya fourth) and a spinner.
India’s Predicted Playing XI:
Virat Kohli (c), Murali Vijay, KL Rahul, Cheteshwar Pujara, Ajinkya Rahane, Dinesh Karthik (wk), Hardik Pandya or Ravindra Jadeja, Ravichandran Ashwin, Mohammed Shami, Umesh Yadav, Ishant Sharma.