Team India will take on England in a five-match Test series, starting on August 4 at Trent Bridge, Nottingham. The visitors will be playing their first Test since the eight-wicket loss to New Zealand in the World Test Championship (WTC) final last month.
After a three-week break, Team India will look to start afresh and get ready for a tough Test assignment against the Englishmen.
3 areas India need to improve ahead of the Test series
Although the WTC final was a fiercely-contested game, it highlighted some lacunae within the Indian team. With the high-profile England series expected to be a test of character and mental fortitude, Team India will need to fine tune their issues ahead of the long English summer.
On that note, we take a look at three areas India need to improve ahead of the five-Test series against England.
#3 Opening partnership
The opening partnership is crucial in any format of the game as it sets the platform for other batsmen to follow.
However, since July 2019, Team India have recorded only four 50-plus opening stands in Test cricket, including the monumental 317-run partnership between Rohit Sharma and Mayank Agarwal against South Africa at Visakhapatnam.
India’s tally of four is the least among the top Test playing nations, with England (five), Australia (five) New Zealand (eight), all possessing a better record than the Men in Blue.
Interestingly, since July 2018, India have lost their first wicket under 50 runs on 26 occasions - joint second-most among all the Test playing nations in the world.
With a world-class England pace attack and tough batting conditions to follow, Team India will expect more resilience from their top order.
#2 Wiping off the tail
Contributions made by lower-order batsmen have often turned out to be vital in deciding the outcome of a match. As a result, teams try and devise strategies to quickly roll over the opposition lower order.
However, over the last few years, India have had a dismal record of bowling out lower-order batsmen, an issue which even led to their downfall in the WTC final against New Zealand.
Since July 2018, opposition teams’ final three wickets have added 50 or more runs against India on nine different occasions. Only West Indies and England have a worse record than India in this regard. India’s inability to run through opposition tailenders has been their Achilles' heel.
For Virat Kohli and his men to win the upcoming series, they will need to better their record against the tailenders.
#1 Lower order contributions
Another area that has pegged India over the years has been the batting performance of their lower order. India’s bottom three have made very little contribution with the bat compared to other top Test teams in the world.
Since July 2019, India’s last three batters have crossed the 25-run mark in only three instances, a record they will look to better as the number two Test side in the world. Runs from India's tail are the third lowest among all the Test playing nations, with only Bangladesh (1) and Zimbabwe (2) faring poorer than the Men in Blue.
Team India will need their tail to wag in England if they hope to overcome the might of the home side.