India will be aiming to get back to winning ways when they take on England in the first Test starting at Trent Bridge in Nottingham on Wednesday, August 4.
While India have dominated in spin-friendly home conditions against England, they struggled when taking on the Englishmen in their backyard in seamer-friendly conditions.
India last won a Test series in England in 2007, under the captaincy of Rahul Dravid, when they triumphed 1-0.
Since then, India has suffered three successive series losses — 4-0 in 2011, 3-1 in 2014 and 4-1 in 2018.
Due to the strict bio-bubble rules because of the COVID-19 pandemic, India played just one practice game ahead of the five Test series. Their batsmen, except for K L Rahul (101), failed to make most of that opportunity.
Rahul could find it difficult to get into the playing XI for the series opener at Trent Bridge, as Mayank Agarwal is expected to get the nod as opener along with Rohit Sharma.
Cheteshwar Pujara failed to carry on after getting off to starts in the three-day warm-up match, but he forms an important part of the Indian batting line-up at No 3.
Captain Virat Kohli will be itching for a big score, having not got past the century mark since 2019. During India’s previous tour of England three years ago, he scored 593 runs in the fivematch series, including two centuries.
Vice-Captain Ajinkya Rahane missed the practice game because of a hamstring niggle but is likely to be fit for the first match.
India may go with a four-man bowling attack — three pacers and a specialist spinner — which could open the door for Hanuma Vihari lower down the order.
India are set to include Ravichandran Ashwin, given their experience of the World Test Championship Final where the second spinner Ravindra Jadeja hardly played any role in seaming conditions.
The choice of the three pace bowlers is straightforward: Ishant Sharma, Jasprit Bumrah and Mohammed Shami.
Who do you think should be part of India’s playing XI in the first Test against England?
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