England and India are set to play their rescheduled Test of the five-match series last year in July. The Edgbaston Test is set to start on July 1. The Indians had taken a 2-1 lead versus England, and a draw or win would help them claim a rare success on English soil. England have changed their identity since their struggles leading up to this year. With Brendon McCullum as coach and Ben Stokes as skipper, England are having a new lease of life. They already took a 2-0 lead versus New Zealand in the ongoing three-match series.
So India will face a different England team altogether. For India, they lost the last Test series away from home to South Africa. The Rohit Sharma-led side has the daunting task of overcoming England. Notably, India, who have seven Tests left in the ongoing ICC World Test Championship, must win at least six Tests to have a real chance to qualify for the final. England are already out of contention, but they will be keen to draw the series and show the win versus New Zealand was no fluke.
Ahead of the rescheduled fifth Test, we decode the key player battles.
Joe Root vs Jasprit Bumrah
England batter Joe Root has been enjoying the best form of his career in Tests for quite some time now. Root, who was the top scorer in Test cricket last year, is also the leading run-getter in the ongoing ICC World Test Championship 2021-23. He has 1480 runs at 59.20. Also, in the series versus India, he scored the most runs (564). It will be interesting to see how he handles Jasprit Bumrah. As per Cricmetric, Bumrah has dismissed Root six times in Test cricket. Meanwhile, Root has amassed 194 runs off 418 balls. He has hit 21 boundaries, while the latter has bowled as many as 311 dot balls. In the 2021 Test series, Bumrah dismissed Root on three occasions. Bumrah is India’s leading wicket-taker with 18 scalps in the 2021 series and can improve his tally in the rescheduled Test.
Stuart Broad vs Virat Kohli
Stuart Broad has bowled well in the ongoing series versus New Zealand, and he will be confident going into the Edgbaston Test. Broad, who has claimed 546 scalps in Tests, will be out to test Virat Kohli’s mettle, who has yet to score a century across formats since November 2019. In Tests, Broad has dismissed Kohli a total of five times. Meanwhile, Kohli has scored 182 runs off 363 balls against Broad. He has registered 22 boundaries off Broad, while the latter has bowled 267 dot balls. Four of Kohli’s dismissals by Broad have come in England.
Rohit Sharma vs James Anderson
The fifth Test has another top-notch battle on offer in the form of Rohit Sharma versus James Anderson. Rohit is the leading scorer for India in the series. In four Tests, Rohit has scored 368 runs at 52.27. He smashed one century and two fifties. Meanwhile, Anderson managed to take 15 wickets at 24.66. Rohit has managed to score 86 runs against Anderson, having faced 300 balls. He has faced 263 dot balls, including 247 in 2021. Rohit has managed to smash Anderson for nine fours. He has been dismissed twice so far. Across the four Tests in 2021, Anderson dismissed Rohit just once. The idea for Rohit will be to see off the new ball and keep Anderson quiet.
Matthew Potts vs Cheteshwar Pujara
England gave Matthew Potts a chance against the Kiwis, and in two Tests, he has already claimed 10 scalps at 22.60. Potts is a wicket-taking bowler who can trouble Cheteshwar Pujara at number three. Pujara did exceptionally well in the County 2022 Championships, staying away from IPL. His hard work has seen him get a recall. However, facing a new entity like Potts can be a significant challenge. Pujara needs to show his craft and look to be positive. In addition, he has to bring his experience into play. Potts has already impressed straightaway and will aim to keep his run going, having gained confidence.
Jonny Bairstow vs M Siraj
Jonny Bairstow will be keen to showcase his match-winning abilities, as seen in the 2nd Test versus NZ. Bairstow is a valuable performer for England, and his fight versus Mohammed Siraj will be a key ingredient of the match. Bairstow faced Siraj for the first time in the 2021 series. Having faced 101 balls, he scored 60 runs. He smashed 10 fours besides facing 76 dots. Siraj dismissed Bairstow on four occasions.