Edgbaston: The on-field rivalry between India and England in cricket is an old one. India first defeated the English in a Test series on their soil in 1971. Since then, India has done extremely well in several series against the hosts. The rescheduled series will get underway today at Edgbaston. The visitors are leading by 2-1 and are hoping to make it 3-1, while Ben Stokes’ side would like to square the series 2-2.
Both England and India have introduced a new captain and coach. Newly appointed captain Ben Stokes and coach Brendon McCullum have been handling the hosts admirably and whitewashed New Zealand in the recently concluded three-match Test series.
Rohit Sharma and Rahul Dravid have been replaced by Virat Kohli and Ravi Shastri. Unfortunately, Rohit will not be part of the Test match amidst the COVID-19 infection.
Meanwhile, the absence of captain Rohit Sharma due to positive COVID is a debacle for the team. In the absence of Rohit Sharma, Jasprit Bumrah will have the responsibility of captaincy. Mayank Aggrawal has landed in the UK as a cover for Rohit. Two senior batters, Kohli and Pujara, have to lead the batting from the front and have to score a handful of runs.
England will take the field with high morale, having recently secured a convincing 3-0 victory against the Blackcaps. In fact, it was the first clean sweep by the three Lions in their backyard since 2011.
Currently, England has been playing an attacking mode of cricket. Credit should be given to the new coach and captain for adopting a new system. McCullum himself believed in attack in his playing days. The new tactics really helped the team to outclass the Kiwis. But it won’t be effective against any side. The spinners will make the English batter dance on the pitch, in addition to the potent Indian fast bowling led by Bumrah.
The surface of Edgbaston is conducive for batting; fast bowlers get some help on the pitch. The Indians have not been able to beat the hosts on this ground in seven attempts dating back to 1967. Therefore, the visitors have to break the jinx and register their first victory at this venue.
The weather report is not encouraging as showers are predicted in the first couple of days of the Test match. But such kinds of weather are common in England.
The hosts have announced their playing XI, as they have made it their habit under the new team management. Ben Foakes has been ruled out amid COVID and Sam Billings will be his replacement, whereas old war horse James Anderson has been inducted into the side in place of Jamie Overton. It may be Anderson’s last Test appearance against India.
The match will be part of the World Test Championship, which will kick off at 3:30 pm (IST).