High-flying Team India will be looking to continue their dominance in Tests at home when they take on England in the upcoming four-match Test series. Virat Kohli & Co. have a golden opportunity to seal their spot in the final of the ongoing ICC World Test Championship (WTC).
India are currently at the top of the table in the ICC WTC Points Table and need to collect 70 points from the forthcoming series to set up a clash with New Zealand who recently became the first team to qualify for the final. Just like India, England are also in contention for the final of the ICC WTC. The visitors, however, have a very tough task at their hands.
The Joe Root-led side will need to win at least three Tests in order to make it to the final. Beating India in India has looked nearly impossible in recent years but England do have the firepower to spring a surprise. Incidentally, England were the last team to win a Test series in India when they surprised the hosts in 2012.
Since then, India have lost just a solitary Test at home. Even when England last visited the country in 2016, the hosts had thoroughly outplayed them to win the series 4-0. Both the teams are coming into this series on the back of famous wins last month. India beat Australia in their own backyard while England showed that they are ready for the challenge on spinning tracks by whitewashing Sri Lanka in a two-Test series.
With both the teams in good form and with so much at stake, one can expect a cracking contest. The fans are also waiting eagerly for the action to start. So before the first Test gets underway, here are all the details and the prediction for the series-opener.
Match & Broadcast details:
Venue: The first Test of the four-match series is scheduled to take place at the MA Chidambaram Stadium, Chennai.
Date: The match will start on February 5.
Match timings: 09:30 AM (IST), 04:00 AM (GMT)
Traditionally, the pitch at the MA Chidambaram Stadium has favoured the spinners. In recent years, Chennai Super Kings‘ strategy showed that the dry pitch was more favourable for spinners and slow bowlers. However, the way pitches have been made for Tests in India in recent years, one can expect that it will have something for the pacers too. The last time this venue hosted a Test which was incidentally the game between India and England in 2016, the pacers were among the wickets too.
India are unlikely to spring too many surprises for the series-opener. Barring the forced changes because of injuries, the hosts look set to stick with the usual faces for the first Test of the four-match series. Among the changes that are expected, Kuldeep Yadav looks set to get the nod in absence of Ravindra Jadeja while Washington Sundar is also likely to play as the allrounder after his impressive debut last month.
Predicted playing XI:
Rohit Sharma, Shubman Gill, Cheteshwar Pujara, Virat Kohli, Ajinkya Rahane, Rishabh Pant, Washington Sundar/Axar Patel, Ravichandran Ashwin, Kuldeep Yadav, Jasprit Bumrah, Ishant Sharma
England’s predicted playing eleven:
England are also unlikely to make too many changes to their playing eleven that won the Test series in Sri Lanka last month. The visitors are also likely to make only the forced changes while sticking with the players who helped them win the series in the island nation. Zak Crawley is doubtful for the first Test while Ollie Pope has been declared fit. Moeen Ali is set to make a Test comeback as well.
Predicted playing XI:
Dominic Sibley, Rory Burns, Dan Lawrence/Zak Crawley, Joe Root, Jos Buttler (WK), Ben Stokes, Moeen Ali, Jofra Archer, Dominic Bess, Jack Leach, James Anderson/Stuart Broad.
Given India’s current form and their stunning record at home over the years, it is a no-brainer to state that the hosts will be firm favourites to win the game. The Virat Kohli-led side has every base covered and it is quite tough to see them lost to England at home.
India are expected to win the first Test of the four-match series and take a 1-0 lead.
Source: The source of this content is our cricket news platform Crictracker.
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