Two of the strongest teams in the world at the moment, England and India are set to battle it out in a five-match Test series, starting August 4. Going into the Test series against England, India will start as the underdogs. Both teams have exciting personnel on offer and in seaming and swinging conditions, a tough challenge awaits Kohli & Co.
Battles to watch out for:
1 .Virat Kohli vs James Anderson
The battle between Virat Kohli and James Anderson has been going on since 2014 where Kohli immensely struggled in the line outside off stump. On most occasions, Kohli ended up edging them towards the slips cordon. But just as how times changed, Kohli’s approach also saw a shift. Comparing his 2014 statistics against Anderson to his 2018 statistics, there was a considerable difference.
In 2014, Anderson dismissed Kohli four times in 50 balls while in 2018, Anderson failed to dismiss Kohli on all occasions. It would be interesting to see how Kohli fares against Anderson during the forthcoming Test series.
2. Stuart Broad Vs Cheteshwar Pujara
Stuart Broad is the 7th highest wicket-taker in Test cricket, and the second England bowler to have taken over 500 (517) wickets in the whites. He also has an excellent record against India in Tests and has taken 70 wickets at an average of 25.67. The right-arm pacer was in his element in the first innings of the first Test against Sri Lanka, where he picked up 3 wickets, giving away just 20 runs. Broad will be up against a batsman who will grind his way to glory, a batsman who is solid and difficult to dislodge. Cheteshwar Pujara enters the series on the back of a resolute 56 against Australia at The Gabba. But he has been a bit off-colour lately and will need to find his form back to tackle Broad.
3. Ravichandran Ashwin Vs Joe Root
Ashwin is closing in on 400 wickets in Test cricket. The off-spinner is a behemoth at home in the whites, and his numbers bear testimony to the same. The spin bowling maestro has taken 254 wickets at home at an average of just 22.80, and 21 out of his 27 five-wicket hauls in Tests have come on home soil. He will be up against a man who ripped apart the Sri Lankan bowling attack, scoring over 400 runs in the two-match Test series. Joe Root will be high on confidence after a riveting performance against the islanders, where he bagged the Man of the Series award.
The way the battle plays out between Ashwin and Root will be highly intriguing to witness.
4. Jack Leach vs Rishabh Pant
Rishabh Pant has been a revolution in the Indian middle-order for the Test side with his aggressive batting intent. If you have noticed, Rishabh Pant looks to charge against off-spinners on most occasions, it doesn’t matter to him whether he is playing in front of one of the best off-spinners in the world- Nathan Lyon. The only thing that matters to him is to help India win the match. Similarly, how he attacked Lyon, we expect the same treatment being offered to Jack Leach when he comes on to bowl against Rishabh Pant. Let’s not be surprised if Pant decides to take the charge against the spinner right from ball one.