England entered into Rajkot on the back of a demoralising loss against Bangladesh in the second Test at Dhaka. However, they managed to dispel the air of pessimism surrounding their fortunes by giving a good account of themselves on what was quite a docile pitch at the Saurashtra Cricket Association Stadium.
They batted confidently and consequently allowed their spinners to cause a few anxious moments in the Indian camp. Even though the hosts clung on to a rather hard-fought draw, England’s performance has indicated that the 5-match series could be more competitive than previously anticipated.
With the focus now on the second Test at Vizag, let us take at five keys for India to defeat Alastair Cook’s side and take a handy 1-0 lead.
#5 – Hope for a spin-friendly surface
One glance at the first Test scorecard should be enough to validate England’s strong batting depth. Long gone are the days when they played with a long tail and lost wickets in a heap. Although Rajkot showed more graciousness than required by rolling out a harmless surface, the visitors demonstrated their adeptness in building formidable totals.
As a consequence, the Indians would want a turning track at Vizag to subject their opposition lineup to the difficulty of playing under such conditions. Despite doubts of a spin-friendly pitch narrowing the gap between the two teams, skipper Virat Kohli will feel more secure in having accomplished spinners on his side. If the fifth ODI against New Zealand was anything to go by, we might be in for some entertainment.