Home comforts but an uncertain batting order – England v India talking points
England’s Test summer continues this month with their opening game against India taking place at Trent Bridge on Wednesday.
Here, the PA news agency takes a look at some of the talking points leading up to the first Test.
Home comforts for England
England met their opponents recently at the start of the year in a Test series. The India tour was a struggle for Joe Root’s side and was littered with controversy regarding pitch standards that favoured a more spin-heavy attack and led to some remarkable scores, including the Test at Ahmedabad which finished in just two days.
England have the chance to reap their revenge on home turf and will be hoping their pace attack – consisting of James Anderson, Stuart Broad and Mark Wood – armed with a Duke ball will cause problems for Virat Kohli’s side.
Batting order woes for England
England have been no stranger to a batting collapse recently and inconsistencies in the top order need to be assessed. Against New Zealand earlier in the summer England were 76 for seven at one point during the second Test at Edgbaston.
England are still trying to work out where the likes of Dan Lawrence, Ollie Pope and Zak Crawley work best in their batting line-up. The addition of Haseeb Hameed, who has averaged 45.86 in county cricket this season, also poses another selection conundrum for Root.
All-rounder Ben Stokes, usually able to salvage something for England when the going gets tough, is unavailable having made the decision to take a break from cricket indefinitely for mental health reasons.
India looking to bounce back
India will be looking to earn something from their time in England going into this Test series. They have been in England since June, where they lost out to New Zealand in the inaugural World Test Championship final with the Kiwis winning by eight wickets.
Going into the series India have had injury problems. Shubman Gill, Washington Sundar and Avesh Khan are all out with injuries, while batter Mayank Agarwal has been ruled out of the first Test after suffering a concussion in a nets session.
Despite these concerns it is worth remembering that this is an Indian side who even with an injury-ridden squad managed to beat Australia in their own backyard earlier this year.
Red ball spells danger
One worry going into the series is just how much red-ball cricket both sides have played this year.
India have not played since their World Test Championship game in June, save for a warm-up against a County Select XI last month.
There has also been cause for concern for England as to how much preparation they have had in the way of county cricket, with the summer seemingly defined by the white-ball games in the Vitality Blast and The Hundred.
Full capacity crowds back
The lifting of Covid-19 regulations last month means that the series will be held in front of full-capacity audiences.
England have already played in front of a crowd of around 17,000 at Edgbaston earlier this year during their series against New Zealand as part of a pilot test scheme.
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