English conditions have always been considered the sternest test for Indian batters. The swinging Dukes ball and green tracks challenge every gear of the techniques of those brought up on dry, spin-friendly pitches in the sub-continent.
Starting June 7, England will host the World Test Championship (WTC) final for the second consecutive time. India and Australia will compete for the 2023 honors at the Oval in London. In 2021, which was the inaugural edition of the Championship, Virat Kohli and Co. lost to New Zealand at the Ageas Bowl in Southampton.
The question of whether England deserved the hosting right again is debatable, considering how rain disturbed the previous final, but this is no time to complain. All eyes will be on India's batting lineup that struggled to make merry against New Zealand and will now have to adjust to the red-ball game after a tiresome IPL.
Only Virat Kohli in the Indian squad has scored more than 1000 runs in England. His 1033 from 16 matches is the fourth-best for India here.
As we build up to the all-important match, let's look at the three above him in the ranking:
#1 Sachin Tendulkar
As with most other lists of batting records, the Master Blaster is on the top here. Sachin Tendulkar played his first Test in England at Lord's in 1990 and the last at the Oval in 2011 and collected 1575 runs at an average of 54.31, including four superb hundreds and eight half-centuries.
Tendulkar's first century in England, on August 9, 1990, was also his maiden 100 - an announcement of a 17-year-old wonder-kid who'll go on to become the sport's greatest ever.
His unbeaten 119 off 189 balls helped his team draw the match and got him his first Player of the Match award as well. His highest score in England of 193 (330) here came in 2002 at Leeds and led to a famous win.
#2 Rahul Dravid
Indian batters won't have to look too far for advice and inspiration on how to play in England. Head coach Rahul Dravid scored 1376 runs from just 13 matches here, averaging a whopping 68.80, the best for any Indian batter with at least 200 runs.
Dravid scored a brilliant 95 on his England debut (also at Lord's) and went on to score six centuries and four fifties. Three of his hundreds came in the same 2002 series, ending with his highest score of 217 (468) at the Oval.
Like Tendulkar, Dravid also played his last Test at the same ground and scored a memorable 146 (not out) too.
#3 Sunil Gavaskar
The coincidence of the Lord's and the Oval don't end there. The third man on the list, the legendary Sunil Gavaskar also made his debut at the former stadium. He scored his first half-century in England in the second innings of the Lord's Test of the famous 1971 tour and overall collected seven more half-centuries here.
Gavaskar scored his first of the two centuries in England at Manchester in 1974 in a losing cause. Five years later, he amassed a magnificent double 221 off 443 balls at the Oval in the fourth innings of one of the most thrilling Tests at the venue. With a target of 438, he helped India reach agonizingly close at 429 but ran out of time to secure a famous win.
The 73-year-old will now be heard commentating at the WTC final.