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India v England Test series preview

We've picked out five of the biggest talking points as India prepare to host England in a four-match Test series.

03 Feb | BY Guy Giles | MIN READ TIME |
India v England Test series preview

Check out the Betway Insider’s cricket tips page for best bets for each of the four Tests between India and England. 

England welcome back big guns

England head into this series on the back of an impressive 2-0 series win in Sri Lanka, achieved without the help of some of their best players.

Ben Stokes, Jofra Archer, Rory Burns and Ollie Pope were all absent in Galle, but have returned to the squad for the first Test in Chennai.

Stokes and Archer were the first of England’s multi-format stars to be rested ahead of a busy year, with Sam Curran, Mark Wood and Jonny Bairstow the next group to get some time off.

Burns was missing to attend the birth of his daughter, while Pope was with the team in Sri Lanka but had not yet recovered from a dislocated shoulder.

It seems likely that Burns, Archer and Stokes will go straight into the side, but Pope is vying for a spot at No. 6 with Dan Lawrence, who impressed on his debut tour.

Kohli returns for India

It isn’t just England who will welcome back their big guns in Chennai.

India captain Virat Kohli played one Test in their famous series win in Australia before flying home to attend the birth of his daughter, but he’s available to face England.

The success of the team under vice-captain Ajinkya Rahane did raise some interesting questions about Kohli’s leadership, but there remains little doubt that he is their best player.

Should Kohli have a big series – like the last time England visited in 2016, when he finished top scorer with 655 runs across five Tests – then a big win for India is inevitable.

But if England manage to keep him quiet, a repeat of their famous series victory in 2012 is just about possible.

Pacers have big role to play

Spin is the key to winning in India, but both sides have seamers capable of changing matches.

Alongside the returning Archer, England have veterans James Anderson and Stuart Broad to call on as well as the wily Chris Woakes.

Anderson proved that pace has an important role to play in the subcontinent as he took six wickets in an innings in the second Test against Sri Lanka, while Broad impressed with three in the first Test.

India, meanwhile, have assembled one of the deadliest pace attacks in their recent history, led by the brilliant Jasprit Bumrah.

He will be joined by a combination of Mohammed Siraj, Ishant Sharma and Umesh Yadav, all of whom can cause England serious problems.

Young batsmen under pressure

It is fair to say that Dom Sibley and Zak Crawley didn’t enjoy their first experience of international cricket in the subcontinent.

Opener Sibley registered scores of 4, 2 and 0, before showing some trademark mettle in making an unbeaten 56 to see England home in the second Test.

Crawley failed to pass 15 in any of his four innings, although he was batting in an unfamiliar spot as opener. The return of Burns should see him drop to a more comfortable No. 3.

Both will need to perform if England are to challenge. They cannot rely on captain Joe Root to bail them out in every match.

World Test Championship adds spice

A win over one of the world’s best is a big enough reward for both of these teams, but this series has an extra dimension thanks to the World Test Championship.

New Zealand have already secured their place in the final at Lord’s in June, but their opponent is yet to be decided.

India are currently the favourites – they need to win the series by a score of 2-1 or better to qualify – while England need to win 3-1, 3-0 or 4-0 to make it.

Australia are also in the mix – they will qualify if India win 1-0, England win 1-0, 2-0 or 2-1, or if the series ends as a draw.

Visit Betway’s cricket betting page.


Guy Giles

Guy Giles