It’s that time of the year again. English summer has almost arrived and so has the nation’s favourite cricket form – Test Cricket. After an ODI series win against India, England look forward to show their mettle in the purest form of cricket as the gentlemen call it.
India, on the other hand, have a lot of pressure on their shoulders. Coming from a series loss, the pundits have not been kind on the Indian cricket team. Virat Kohli’s men have to deliver and they can not bow down to the pressure of their disastrous away test record (India has lost 5 and drawn 1 match at Edgbaston).
With the test series about to kick off at Edgbaston, we look at the 5 key aspects and battles that will decide India’s fate in the series.
#1 Recreate Karthik-Jaffar-esque magic (2007 test series) at the top order
Do you know Dinesh Karthik was India’s top-scorer in 2007 test series against England? It is an achievement in itself when you have the likes of Sachin Tendulkar, Rahul Dravid, Sourav Ganguly and VVS Laxman in the team.
In absence of Sehwag and Gambhir, both the openers (Jaffar & Karthik) stepped up on the occasion and gave some good starts. The real question is – Can Dhawan and Vijay replicate the success that Jaffar and Karthik brought in 2007 given how poor Dhawan’s away test record is?
|MS Dhoni, P Kumar||2||0||159||84||79.50||21.3||7.39||0||2|
|R Dravid, G Gambhir||2||0||83||51||41.50||31.3||2.63||0||1|
|MS Dhoni, A Mishra||2||0||52||41||26.00||13.2||3.90||0||0|
|MS Dhoni, I Sharma||2||0||45||29||22.50||10.1||4.42||0||0|
The above table is of the ground average of India at Edgbaston. This is ordered by total partnership runs. Dhoni made partnerships with Praveen Kumar, Amit Mishra and Ishant Sharma. This table clearly shows that the Indian batting lineup failed to make a big partnership on this ground. (Between 1 Jan 2001 and 31 Dec 2017)
It’s now or never for Shikhar Dhawan. He has to lead by front and give India a solid foundation at the top.
#2 Virat Kohli vs James Anderson
Oh Jimmy Jimmy Jimmy Jimmy Jimmy Jimmy Jimmy Anderson.. The Barmy Army’s love for the country’s greatest ever fast bowler never ends. They sing their heart out every single time.
Jimmy Anderson has dismissed the Indian skipper five times and it is going to be an exciting contest. The real question is – Will Virat Kohli be able to nullify Jimmy Anderson’s impact?
The 36-year-old managed to identify the chinks in Virat Kohli’s defence long back. The outgoing deliveries have been Kohli’s biggest weakness. He loves the ball to touch his bat, however, if he wants to stand any chance, he will have to leave those deliveries.
#3 The menace feat. Moeen Ali
Moeen Ali has been a real menace with the ball for quite some now. During the 2014 test series, he was the talking point. He made the difference. 4 years later, he is still the talking point.
Ali picked 19 wickets in 5 matches. A staggering average of 23 against India, it does not get better than this.
Is India’s batting lineup going to be wrecked by Ali’s brilliance? India’s test series campaign depends a lot on how much talking Ali does with the ball.
#4 Heatwave across United Kingdom
The heatwave will return with a vengeance this week with temperatures set to soar as high as 33ºC in parts of the country after a brief interlude from the scorching weather.
English pitches, known for tinges of green, are expected to not assist the pacers as they usually do. If it does spin, India have two quality spinners in Kuldeep Yadav and Ravichandran Ashwin.
English selectors did not shy away from picking their most lethal spinner – Adil Rashid. The selection gives a little hint towards the shift towards spinners.
#5 Can India’s bowlers pick 20 wickets?
Does Zaheer Khan and jellybeans ring a bell? English players threw jellybean on the pitch to provoke Zaheer Khan, however, they had no idea what was about to happen.
Zaheer Khan dismantled the English batting lineup in 2007 test series and ended up as the Man of the Series. Picking 18 wickets, he led India to a historic 1-0 series win.
Things are a little gloomy in the bowling department this time around. Jasprit Bumrah and Bhuvneshwar Kumar got injured and were ruled out for the 1st test match.
AMAT VICTORIA CURAM is the mantra – Ishant Sharma has the fire in the belly and Virat Kohli must utilize him well. He possesses the power to awaken the spirit. The spirit that Zaheer Khan had in 2007.