August 02, 2021 9:04 PM
Alex Sarwar

England vs India – 1st Test Match Preview & Prediction

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THE FACTS

When is England vs India taking place? Wednesday, August 4th, 2021 – 11:00 (UK)

Where is England vs India taking place? Trent Bridge Nottingham

What is the expected weather for England vs India? 17-21c sunny intervals with a gentle breeze on Day 1, but a chance of light rain showers on Days 2-5

What channel is England vs India on? The match will be televised live on Sky Sports

Where can I stream England vs India? The match can be streamed live via SkyGo

LAST MEETING
India beat England by an innings and 25 runs

THE TEAM NEWS

ENGLAND

  • England head into this five-match test series with India having already seen their seven-year unbeaten series run in red ball cricket come to an end at the hands of New Zealand back in June and after having been beaten comprehensively in India earlier in the year, Joe Root’s side will be out for revenge.
  • If they are to beat India, they’ll have to do it without Ben Stokes, as the star all-rounder has taken an indefinite break from cricket in a bid to prioritise his mental wellbeing and he alongside injured fast bowler Jofra Archer would be one of the very first names on the teamsheet in normal circumstances.
  • Stokes’ absence hugely unbalances the England test side and weakens an already fragile batting line-up that could also be missing Ollie Pope who is in a race against time to recover from a quad injury, whilst England will again be forced into a decision whether to play a frontline spin-bowler in Jack Leach and field just six batters with bowling all-rounder Sam Curran at 7, or bolster the batting by selecting Dan Lawrence and relying on both his and Root’s part-time spin to see them through.

INDIA

  • Having secured an incredible Border-Gavaskar trophy victory in Australia at the start of the year India are all set to try and continue making history by securing a first red ball series triumph in England since back in 2007, however they do so on the back of having been beaten by New Zealand in the World Test Championship final played in Southampton.
  • Captain Virat Kohli will be without a number of players, including opener Shubman Gill, all-rounder Washington Sundar and fast bowler Avesh Khan, all of whom are out for the entire series through injury, whilst batter Mayank Agarwal will miss the first test after being hit in the head in the nets by a bouncer, leaving Kohli and head coach Ravi Shastri with a big decision on who to play alongside Rohit Sharma at the top of the order, with the experienced KL Rahul or uncapped Abhimanyu Easwaran expected to be chosen.
  • In better news for India, experienced top order batter Ajinkya Rahane should play after recovering from a hamstring injury and wicketkeeper batter Rishabh Pant is also ready to go following his recovery from Covid-19, despite joining the touring party later than planned.

THE PREDICTION

After India spun their way to a 3-1 test series victory over England in the subcontinent earlier this year, these two titans of world cricket lock horns once again in the longest form of the game as Trent Bridge plays host to the first of this five-match test series. Virat Kohli’s charges has been relentless in their search for red ball perfection and they will be well aware that this represents by far their best chance of beating England away from home in many years. The hosts’ have struggled greatly with the bat in test match cricket already this summer and that may be set to continue without the runs of Stokes, without even factoring in his wickets and the balance he brings to England’s team. India’s three-pronged pace bowling frontline of Jasprit Bumrah, Ishant Sharma and Mohammed Siraj will need to be at their best, whilst the veteran spin-bowling pair of Ravindra Jadeja and Ravichandran Ashwin should not only provide wickets, but vital runs as well.

However, India do have a habit of coming out of the blocks slowly, having lost the first test in both their series victories this year away in Australia and at home to England. Playing on a Trent Bridge pitch no doubt catered to the benefit of the timeless swing bowling duo of Jimmy Anderson and Stuart Broad, England should make inroads into the India batting line-up and restrict the tourists to a fairly modest first innings score. The big question is whether they themselves are up to the task with the bat against an experienced and dangerous bowling unit. Unfortunately, we may not get the answer in this first test as the forecast is very poor and apart from the first day’s play, plenty of rain interruptions could be on the cards throughout this match. With that in mind, it would not be a surprise to see this first test fizzle out into a draw, leaving everything still very much to play for heading to Lord’s next week.

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