Jul 8, 1003 days ago

England v India – First Test preview

England v India – First Test preview

Losing a Test series to Sri Lanka was hardly the ideal start to England’s summer after their humiliation in Australia last winter. Two extremely tight Test matches went down to the final over with the tourists eventually winning the second Test and securing a 1-0 series win.

Now, England have to cram a five Test series against India into a six week summer. The first Test takes place at Trent Bridge this week with the home side desperate to get off to a good start. Keep reading for our preview of the first Test.

England looking to get off to a good start by the banks of the Trent

It’s been a tough few months for Alistair Cook’s side and the simple fact is that England haven’t won any of their last eight Test matches. You have to go back to August 2013 for their last Test victory; a 74 run win over Australia at Chester-le-Street.

England have changed personnel over recent months although have named the same eleven that lost the second Test to Sri Lanka, with the addition of Chris Woakes and all-rounder Ben Stokes. Chris Jordan may be the man to make way having failed to take a wicket at Headingley.

Whoever is selected, there are likely to be bowling changes over the next few weeks of a frantic summer programme. England bowler Stuart Broad said: “We’ve got 42 days, 25 Test match days, 10 training days, five travel days – (that) only leaves two days without cricket duty. A lot depends on how we bowl. If India are getting four or five hundred every innings then the bowlers might have to take a break from time to time.

“But if we’re bowling really well and we’re only fielding for 80-90 overs an innings, that obviously makes a huge difference on the workload.”

India represent inexperienced tourists

While England’s form may not have been great in recent months, India will not need to be reminded of the last time they toured in this country. They were thrashed in four Tests – two by more than an innings – and the visitors haven’t won a Test in England since 2007.

Indeed, India have only won six of the last 25 Test matches between the two sides. And, this year they have only three players – MS Dhoni, Ishant Sharma and Gautam Gambhir – out of a massive 18-strong tour party who have played Test cricket in this country.

After two practice matches at Leicester and Derby it is tough to assess an Indian side that coach Duncan Fletcher believes are inexperienced outsiders in this series. Captain Dhoni is a tough competitor, however, and the tourists have plenty of batting talent which means there could be a long few days in the field for England’s bowlers.

One further factor to consider for this series is that there will be no Decision Review System at Trent Bridge. India unilaterally decline to use the DRS, and so will not be in operation throughout this series.

Verdict

Bearing in mind India’s recent performances in away Test series this would normally be a match where you’d be quick to back England. This is especially true considering their lack of experience in this country and their relatively weak bowling line-up.

However, England haven’t played well over recent months and are in no real form going into this match. Alistair Cook has never been under more pressure and it is vital for the captain that they get off to a strong start. It’s tough to call but England look the value at 7/5.

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