First Test preview: England v India

England

With allegations of captain Alastair Cook being "boring" and "wrong" and the exiled Kevin Pietersen's rogue "c**t" tag accounted for, the first Test at Trent Bridge will afford England the opportunity to turn plenty of unflattering talk into inspiring walk.

With allegations of captain Alastair Cook being "boring" and "wrong" and the exiled Kevin Pietersen's rogue "c**t" tag accounted for, the first Test at Trent Bridge will afford England the opportunity to turn plenty of unflattering talk into inspiring walk.

Outgunned by Australia and outlasted by Sri Lanka, the English will welcome arguably the easiest opposition of the year – but dare not underestimate a new-look batting order and fresh bowling attack determined to avenge 2011's defeat by succeeding away from the sub-continent. India will find it difficult to challenge <a href='http://www.paddypower.com/bet/cricket' target='_blank' class='instorylink'><b>9/2 odds of a first Test win</b></a>, while the hosts must justify a hefty 13/2.

While not last-chance saloon, Cook's lack of Test century for two dozen innings cannot hid behind the captaincy any longer. Failure in Nottingham isn't going bring an immediate axe – but will surely stretch doubt beyond redemption.

The composition of the rest of the order is straightforward – wicketkeeper Matt Prior is likely to play despite the uncapped Jos Buttler's call-up as injury cover. The returning Ben Stokes, meanwhile, is too much of a talent to forgo. All-rounder Chris Jordan must make way.

Conditions are going to prove very beneficial for the bowlers – and the Indians will toy with forsaking a batsmen for the addition of a seamer. The burgeoning Stuart Binny's inclusion will bridge the gap, while spinning all-rounder Ravindra Jadeja will maintain the balance.

The England attack were hopelessly one-dimensional with the short ball against Sri Lanka, but shouldn't retreat entirely. India – renowned for scoring big runs in low and slow conditions – will be tested by fast bowler Stuart Broad's penchant for big bounce at a very familiar venue.

Rested for the brief tour of Bangladesh recently, captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni, seamer Bhuvneshwar Kumar, spinner Ravichandran Ashwin and batsman Virat Kohli have no rhyme, reason or excuse to scoff at five Test matches within 42 days.

Allowed a full five Tests when teams higher in the International Cricket Council's rankings are only privy to three- or two-match series, the English and India really must justify this substantial allowance, starting in Nottingham.

<b>Key Men</b><br>More than a like-for-like replacement for Jordan, opportunity knocks for Stokes to build on the standalone success gathered during an otherwise wretched tour of Australia. Certainly bringing more to the table with the bat, his bowling is just as good – if not better – than that of Jordan.

India haven't seen a genuine Test all-rounder since the days of the left-handed Irfan Pathan – and Binny can emerge as more than a pretender, but a genuine candidate for the foreseeable future. He showed plenty of promise with the bat, in particular, in the warm-up matches – and Paddy Power have <a href='http://www.paddypower.com/bet/cricket/betting-in-running/England-v-India-7259057.html' target='_blank' class='instorylink'><b>Binny at 5/1 odds to score at least 30</b></a>.

<b>Last Five Head-To-Head Results</b><br>2012: Fourth Test: Match drawn in Nagpur<br>2012: Third Test: England won by seven wickets in Kolkata<br>2012: Second Test: England won by 10 wickets in Mumbai<br>2012: First Test: India won by nine wickets in Ahmedabad<br>2011: Fourth Test: England won by an innings and eight runs in London

<b>Probable Teams</b><br><i>England:</i> Sam Robson, Alastair Cook, Gary Ballance, Moeen Ali, Ian Bell, Joe Root, Matt Prior, Ben Stokes, Liam Plunkett, Stuart Broad, James Anderson.

<i>India:</i> Shikhar Dhawan, Murali Vijay, Cheteshwar Pujara, Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma, Mahendra Singh Dhoni, Ravindra Jadeja, Stuart Binny, Mohammed Shami, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Ishant Sharma.

<b>Dates:</b> 9-13 July<br><b>Morning session:</b> 11:00-13:00 (10:00-12:00 GMT)<br><b>Afternoon session:</b> 13:40-15:40 (14:40-16:40 GMT)<br><b>Evening session:</b> 16:00-18:00 (15:00-17:00 GMT)<br><b>On-field umpires:</b> Kumar Dharmasena Bruce Oxenford<br><b>Third umpire:</b> To be confirmed<br><b>Match referee:</b> David Boon

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