As England prepare to undergo another trial by spin in Rajkot, there will surely be a lot of eyes cast upon their batting department-particularly the top order, and their bowling department-particularly the spinners. India come into the series off the back of a 3-0 thrashing of New Zealand with captain Kohli leading the way spectacularly with the bat, and Ashwin producing the kind of match winning spells that has taken him to the top of the ICC Test Bowling rankings. England come straight from their 1-1 draw with Bangladesh, where they were not in the slightest bit convincing in subcontinent conditions. They have the same problem they’ve always had, in the fact that they always find themselves 50-3 with the bat, and their spinners are erratic, and too often get dominated by batsman. It will surely be a captivating series for England and India fans, as well as the neutrals.
Players to watch:
England have confirmed in the build up to this Test that 19 year old Haseeb Hameed will make his Test debut tomorrow and will become England’s youngest ever opening batsman. There will be a lot of pressure on his shoulders as he bares the responsibility of becoming England’s latest attempt at trying to find a successful opening partner with Alastair Cook. However, he has shown that he is more than capable of handling pressure, when he became the youngest player to score twin hundreds in a Roses match earlier this year.
Virat Kohli has notoriously struggled against England in the past, with his previous tour of England resulting in him not registering a single score above 50 in the entire Test series. Since that series however, he has significantly improved his game in all formats, and currently stands alongside Ab de Villiers as the most feared batsman in world cricket. He has shown that he has the ability to dominate in every single format of the game, and his recent surge in Test cricket- 2 double hundreds in his last 2 series, shows that he is a batsman that is definitely capable of taking the game away from England.
Predicted England XI:
1:Cook, 2:Hameed, 3:Root, 4:Duckett, 5:Moeen, 6:Stokes, 7:Bairstow, 8:Woakes, 9:Broad, 10:Batty, 11:Finn
Predicted India XI:
1:Vijay, 2:Gambhir, 3:Pujara, 4:Kohli, 5:Rahane, 6:Pandya, 7:Saha, 8:Ashwin, 9:Mishra, 10:Ishant, 11:Umesh
Predicted result: England win by 2 wickets