In about a week’s time, India and England will clash in a marathon Test series that will not only be a treat for fans of the longest format but also allow the hosts an opportunity to gain lost turf. India and England have met each other in 112 Tests, of which England have won 43 and India have won only 21. The last time India won a Test series against England was in 2008, in a two-match contest.
Since then, India have lost 0-4 in England (2011), 1-2 at home (2012) and then again 1-3 in England (2014). While the home loss was totally unexpected in 2012, in hindsight it is not hard to see why India lost the series. England used India’s strength against them and the English tweakers, Monty Panesar and Graeme Swann, exploited the turning tracks of India way better than the Indian spinners did.
It helped that Alastair Cook and Kevin Pietersen played memorable innings for their teams. This time around, though, India look firm favourites to clinch the series for a variety of reasons. Here are a few:
#1 Inexperienced England team
In 2012, Cook, Pietersen, Jonathan Trott and Matt Prior scored 562, 338, 294 and 258 runs respectively, occupying four of the top 5 spots in terms of runs scored. While Pragyan Ojha and Ravichandran Ashwin picked up 20 and 14 wickets respectively, Swann, Panesar and James Anderson had claimed 20, 17 and 12 wickets to occupy three of the top 5 spots amongst wicket-takers.
However, the English team touring India this time is extremely inexperienced, with only Cook and Joe Root being the players who have consistently played for England in whites over any decent length of time. England is heavily reliant on Ben Stokes, who despite his excellent all-round form with bat and ball, is still not well-versed with the sub-continent.
England would be relying on players like Ben Stokes, Jonny Bairstow, Gary Ballance and Ben Duckett to support Cook and Root and none of those names strike fear in the hearts of bowlers. The bowling front too is thin with the exception of Stuart Broad, who will be making his 100th Test appearance.