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England v India, Test series 2018: How will the Indian batsmen fare?

CONTRIBUTOR
Feature
835   //    12 Jul 2018, 19:12 IST

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The Test series will begin on August 1

India's long run of away matches recently began when they faced Ireland and England in a two- and three-match T20I series respectively. The Men in Blue dominated proceedings in the shortest format as they whitewashed Ireland and later defeated England in two of the three T20s.

The English batsmen struggled to pick the spinners from the hand, which led to their downfall in the first T20I. Further, theeir bowlers were taken aback by KL Rahul who played a fine knock, scoring the second century of his T20I career.

After beating the hosts 2-1 in the T20 series, Team India have now moves to the one-day internationals. The English team have had a delightful summer so far; they dominated Australia from the word go and also registered the highest ever score in one-day internationals.

On the other hand, the Indian side will feature in an ODI after a gap of 5 months. Their last ODI series was against South Africa in February.

The one-day series will be intriguing but India's real challenge lies ahead with the 5 Tests coming up on English soil.

Over the years, conditions in England have changed a lot. The curators have now moved to flat wickets instead of the green damp wickets which were prevalent in olden times. England's weather has accompanied these changes in the pitch conditions. The sun now shines brighter than ever before as the dark clouds seem to stay away.

But will those dark clouds stay away when the Indians bat? Will the sunshine bring new light to the Indian side? Let us analyze India's batsman and their chances of success in the upcoming 5 Tests.

Openers

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The opening conundrum has to be addressed

The experts reckon that this is the best ever Indian side to tour England. Kohli has a plethora of options to choose from as India's batting depth speaks volumes of its caliber. The side has three openers in the form of southpaw Shikhar Dhawan, the monk-like Murali Vijay and the classy KL Rahul.

In 2014, Vijay remodelled himself during the England tour; he started leaving a lot of balls outside the off stump which helped his cause against swing. But earlier this year, Vijay struggled in South Africa as he was chasing deliveries which were bowled on the 5th stump line.

The 'monk' was India's most dependable batsman back in 2014 when he amassed 402 runs in 10 innings at an average of 40.2, with his strike rate of 38.14 being less than his average. To succeed in the tough English conditions Vijay will need to show mental toughness along with a solid 2014-like technique.

Shikhar Dhawan, India's most attacking batsman in Test cricket, is often considered a flat track bully. On his day the southpaw can rip apart any bowling lineup, but can he do that in England?

Surprisingly, Dhawan was the leading run scorer in the 2013 and 2017 editions of the Champions Trophy held in England. Then why can't he score during the Test matches?

Back in 2014, Dhawan was not giving himself enough time to stick around at the wicket, which repeatedly led to his downfall; he scored only 122 runs in 6 innings. He applied himself in one innings when he scored 37, but he gave his wicket away in an attempt to attack.

This year he'll feature in the Tests with a bit more confidence than the previous time, but his nightmare against swing bowling is still expected to continue.

KL Rahul is one of India's finest and most underrated batsmen. Rahul took the IPL by storm when he registered a 15-ball half century in his first game for the Kings XI Punjab. Rahul's scintillating form continued with his heroics in the first T20I at Manchester where he took the side home by scoring a spectacular century.

This is Rahul's first England tour and he'll look to make the most of his opportunity. His form in the ODIs would help him during his time in the longer format.

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