Wednesday, 20 July 2011

England v India - The Key Battles

With the test series between the number one ranked test side and the pretenders to the throne getting underway tomorrow, I have a look at where the series will be won and lost.


England: Alastair Cook has been in heroic form and is scoring an unhuman amount of runs, so expect this to continue. Andrew Strauss, however, hasn't been in the full flush of runs, and especially against left-arm seam in Zaheer Khan may struggle.

India: Gautam Gambhir has the game to be successful in England, thanks to a fairly impenetrable defence. Sehwag is a big loss for the first two tests, and how new-boy Abhinav Mukund fares in his absence is crucial.


England: Jonathan Trott and Ian Bell have been in the form of their careers, and big-game player Kevin Pietersen is getting back to his world-beating form. Ace in the pack is Eoin Morgan, who has both the potential to go big, or to go home with not much.

India: Packed with an unbelievable amount of experience, the likes of Dravid, Tendulkar and Laxman have been around the blocks, and made runs. Expect some big scores.


England: Matt Prior is in great form, and for my money is the best wicket-keeper batsman in the world. With the ability to rebuild a failing innings with counter-attacks or adding to an already solid foundation with quick runs, Prior's impact can be the difference between a win and a defeat.

India: MS Dhoni is a world-class batsman, and can add plenty of runs down the order at seven. Probably a better keeper than Prior, as well as being the captain. If he has a good series, India will likely win.


England: A fantastic attacking weapon, Graeme Swann has lost his biggest chance of wickets - the ability to refer lbw decisions. Added to the fact that pitches probably won't turn until late on in the game, Swann's role will be more of a retainer; someone who keeps the run-rate low and builds pressure (while nipping one or two out as he goes).

India: Harbhajan Singh has taken over 400 test wickets, and while he may fancy adding to those, he hasn't been in great form and won't get much help from the pitches. Amit Mishra, who may or may not play, could confuse and play a big part with his mystery leggies that historically English batsmen aren't great at picking.

Pace bowling

England: Stuart Broad has been in awful form, but Jimmy Anderson is probably the best swing bowler in the world, and with conducive conditions can rip sides apart. Chris Tremlett's ascent back to test cricket has been swift, and he can see his star continue to rise if he torments India with his height and bounce.

India: Zaheer Khan will lead the attack, and will hope to take wickets when he swings the new ball and reverses the old. Beyond him a lot rests on Ishant Sharma and Praveen Kumar, who are unfamiliar with English conditions.

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