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HomeCricBlogEngland v India 1st Test Preview

England v India 1st Test Preview



Last Updated on 6 years by Charbel Coorey

The much awaited series is upon us! I’m travelling for work today, but literally wrote this on the plane. As you can tell, I can’t wait!

Can England, as the fifth ranked Test side, beat India at home to start feeling better about themselves after a fruitless nine months in the format? Or will India ramp home their number one ranking in Tests?

The nature of Test cricket now suggests that England are favourites for the first Test, despite their ranking, thanks to home advantage. England possess a side with a strong know-how in terms of performing well at home, and will back themselves to get ahead in the series against a side that is desperate to prove itself away from Asia. Can England start the series better than they did in 2014, and put India on the back foot right away?

That India are led by Virat Kohli makes this series all the more intriguing. His terrible 2014 series, as well as his status as arguably the best batsman in the world, makes for a tantalising clash. Can Kohli and the Indians overcome the guile and skill of James Anderson and Stuart Broad? If Shikhar Dhawan and Cheteshwar Pujara both play, what can they offer? What about the bowlers in the absence of Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Jasprit Bumrah?

Yes, as you can tell, I can’t wait!

Key to an England win

Two vital players for England are undoubtedly Joe Root and Alastair Cook.

Joe Root, despite his Test record, hasn’t become the dominant batsman he is made to be. His last nine 50+ scores (excluding his 58* in Sydney earlier this year where he retired ill) have not been converted to centuries, and the time is now for him to take a big series by the scruff of the neck.

For Alastair Cook, he has had a lean run of form over the last 12 months when you exclude his two double hundreds, one each against West Indies and Australia. Can he provide a great foil for Keaton Jennings and ensure a strong opening partnership for England?

If these two score the runs they can, against opponents they enjoy playing against, England are likely to put on strong totals.

Also, can England effectively target Shikhar Dhawan and Cheteshwar Pujara (if selected), and put extra pressure on Virat Kohli and the India middle order? The pitch, despite conditions warm and dry, is expected to have something in it for the seam bowlers. A fascinating battle awaits.

Key to an India win

India now have arguably their best ingredients to win a high profile series away from Asia.

Virat Kohli, as mentioned, will be a huge factor, but what about the others? Who else will step up and take it upon themselves to ensure a successful first Test for India?

Shikhar Dhawan and Cheteshwar Pujara will likely get the nod for the first Test, and they have to contribute. Whether it’s a sharp 50 from Dhawan or patient 30 from Pujara, these two simply have to absorb the pressure that comes with their batting positions. If these two, India’s biggest concerns, can contribute, India have plenty of quality elsewhere to keep England toiling in the field for a while.

With James Anderson, Stuart Broad and then not much more experience in the England bowling line up, a great opportunity presents India to force Broad and Anderson to do lots of work.

Also, what can the Indian seamers offer? I’d like to see Ishant Sharma pitch the ball up further, accompanied by consistent bowling by Umesh Yadav and Mohammed Shami. All three have shown encouraging signs in one way or another in 2018, and it’s important they transfer it to the big stage. Same applies for Ravichandran Ashwin, who will likely get the nod for the spinner role, along with Hardik Pandya for the allrounder spot. 

All to play for.

Possible teams

If England match the fight between Adil Rashid and Michael Vaughan, they’ll be hard to beat! England have confirmed their side for the first Test, with Rashid and Sam Curran included.

England possible XI: 1. Alastair Cook, 2. Keaton Jennings, 3. Joe Root ©, 4. Dawid Malan, 5. Ben Stokes, 6. Jonny Bairstow (wk), 7. Jos Buttler, 8. Sam Curran, 9. Adil Rashid, 10. Stuart Broad, 11. James Anderson

For India, there are lots of possibilities but I think they will go with Dhawan and Pujara for the first Test. Ashwin will likely get the role of spinner and Hardik the allrounder, with the pitch likely to offer something for the seamers. A lot depends on Ajinkya Rahane, too, who has a fantastic record overseas.

India possible XI: 1. Murali Vijay, 2. Shikhar Dhawan, 3. Cheteshwar Pujara, 4. Virat Kohli ©, 5. Ajinkya Rahane, 6. Dinesh Karthik (wk), 7. Hardik Pandya, 8. Ravichandran Ashwin, 9. Mohammed Shami, 10. Umesh Yadav, 11. Ishant Sharma

Stats and Facts

  • England have not lost a five match Test series at home since 2001.

  • India have lost seven of their last nine Tests in England, winning once.

  • Before the win against Pakistan in June, England had gone eight Tests without a win.

  • Virat Kohli averaged just 13.40 on his last Test tour to England.

  • Joe Root has not converted his last nine 50+ scores.


Good luck predicting the result of this one!

Anything can happen in this series, which makes it a beauty. Which way will the first Test go?

I will pick England to win the first Test, given India’s concerns in their top order. Of course, if India’s top order has a good game, they are a great chance of winning the Test.

Thanks for reading!

Charbel Coorey
Charbel Coorey
Charbel is the owner & founder of, based in Sydney, Australia. He started the website to fulfill his love for the game of cricket. Charbel has also been featured on other publications including OP India, Times of India, and The Roar, among others. For any story tips or questions, you can contact Charbel at

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