Both teams can be vulnerable against good bowling as seen recently.

The Indian cricket team is set to take on England in the first Test of the five-match series, starting Wednesday in Nottingham. India’s last assignment on UK soil was the WTC final against New Zealand in June but they suffered a telling defeat. England also played against the Kiwis in a two-match Test series prior to the WTC final and suffered a 1-0 defeat. Therefore, both teams can be vulnerable against good bowling as seen recently. India will need to perform to the best of their abilities to break this England team who look solid despite the absence of a few star names.

Going into this match, India will want to show character and grit. They have a settled unit and it will all come down to getting the balance of the side right. In the WTC finale, India got the balance wrong and paid the price with Ravindra Jadeja hardly rolling his arm and Jasprit Bumrah firing blanks. The management will need to take a call on whether to go with a 6-5 strategy, including two spinners and three pacers. Or they can also opt for four pacers and a spinner batting at number seven. The other option could be a safe 7-4 option, picking three pacers and a spinner, besides one extra batsman for the cushion.

The England cricket team will be confident despite losing the previous home series against New Zealand in June. New Zealand, in swinging conditions, are a better side than India and that will play in their minds. England also lost to India away 3-1 earlier this year but now the conditions are favourable and given that they have enjoyed wins across the last three-Test series against India in 2011, 2014, and 2018 respectively, the ball is on the home side’s court at the moment.

Here we present all the necessary details to guide you through.

Key details of the match

The match is set to be held at Trent Bridge in Nottingham. It’s scheduled to start at 3:30 PM IST. Fans can watch the action live on the Sony Ten Network. One can also stream the match live on the Sony LIV app (paid subscription).

Here’s the preview

India will look up to Rohit Sharma for his experience at the top. The senior Indian batsman doesn’t have the desired experience in England when it comes to Test matches. Leaving deliveries and negotiating the swing will be key for Rohit. He showed glimpses of solidity in the WTC final before perishing while getting a start. The experience will help him this time. Moreover, with the lack of the preferred openers alongside him, the responsibility doubles. Shubman Gill was ruled out of the series earlier with an injury and Mayank Agarwal was hit on the helmet recently and is ruled out of the Test match. This leaves India with the options of KL Rahul, who last played a Test in 2019. Hanuma Vihari can be a makeshift opener and Abhimanyu Easwaran is another prospect who can be handed his debut.

The batting will depend largely on Virat Kohli, Cheteshwar Pujara, and Ajinkya Rahane. Their collective exploits could be massive. However, Pujara’s struggles in England could hurt India. Wicket-keeper batsman Rishabh Pant has shown tremendous courage and determination of late, settling into this side easily. India need to decide on going with Vihari or choosing both Ravindra Jadeja and R Ashwin. Also, whether to go in with Mohammed Siraj as the fourth pacer and leave Vihari out. The pace attack looks sound, however, they need to control their offerings, something that went missing in the WTC final.

England saw Ben Stokes take an indefinite break from the game due to mental health issues and his absence is a blow. They replaced him with Craig Overton. England’s top-order is what looks a bit weak on paper. Rory Burns, who was excellent against New Zealand, is their best bet. They will need to decide on the other opener and the number three batter with a few options available. The middle-order has the presence of Joe Root and Jos Buttler. England’s batting is what could be a difference. They need to stick well as a unit. Their contributions will be key. In Stokes’ absence, the role of Sam Curran becomes more crucial. England have a wide range of bowling options. James Anderson, Stuart Broad, Mark Wood and Ollie Robinson are all in the mix. Jack Leach and Dom Bess are the spin options. England didn’t add a spinner against NZ in the Test series but here they will look to have one.

Probable playing XIs: India vs England

India probable playing XI:

KL Rahul, Rohit Sharma, Cheteshwar Pujara, Virat Kohli (c), Ajinkya Rahane, Rishabh Pant (wk), R Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja/Md Siraj, Ishant Sharma, M Shami, Jasprit Bumrah

England probable playing XI:

Rory Burns, Dominic Sibley, Haseeb Hameed, Joe Root, Ollie Pope, Jos Buttler, Sam Curran, Mark Wood, Ollie Robinson, James Anderson, Jack Leach

Dream11 team prediction (option 1)

Batsmen: Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli, Rory Burns, Jos Buttler, Rishabh Pant, Joe Root

All-rounders: R Ashwin, Sam Curran

Bowlers: Md Shami, James Anderson, Ishant Sharma

Dream11 team prediction (option 2)

Batsmen: Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli, Rory Burns, Rishabh Pant, Ajinkya Rahane, Joe Root

All-rounders: R Ashwin, Sam Curran

Bowlers: Md Shami, James Anderson, Mark Wood

Which players can be the top picks in the Dream11 team?

In batting, the likes of Virat Kohli and Joe Root are a must in the line-up. Both are big-game players and carry the most important weightage in their respective batting departments. Both players also have the pedigree to blunt the best of attacks and get big scores. Their plethora of runs and ability to carry the sides can be a huge plus.

Curran is the best fit in terms of being the all-rounder of this fantasy side. With Stokes’ absence, Curran can prove to be handy. He is a wicket-taking bowler and will hope to use the conditions well. Also, his range of offerings is a plus. He can add that spark in England’s batting at number seven. Curran has shown with time he can frustrate bowlers and the ability to bat with the tail is a huge plus.

In the bowling department, James Anderson and Mohammed Shami are a must. Anderson is England’s best bet and he has a terrific record at home against India. He is highly patient and economical. He has a good record against the Indian batters and will prove to be a force. Shami will relish the conditions. He is one of the best swing bowlers and caused issues for the Kiwi batters in the WTC final in June. He has the knack of picking up wickets and what he needs to do is control his line and length.

Dream11 fantasy: Captain Choices

Virat Kohli: The obvious name that comes to mind is Kohli, who is India’s best asset. Kohli, who has scored 7,547 runs in Tests, is the go-to bowler for India. He is chasing several individual records in the series and a positive start can help. Also, Kohli has scored 727 runs in 10 Test matches against England in England. He has two centuries and three fifties.

Joe Root: The England captain like Kohli is a star player and will aim to make his presence felt in England’s middle-order. His responsibility will be a key factor given the absence of Stokes. Root, who is nearing the 9,000-run mark in Tests, can be a pivotal force and blunt the Indian attack just like how Kane Williamson did in the WTC final.

Dream11 fantasy: Vice-captain Choices

In terms of vice-captaincy, Shami and Curran come as viable options. Curran will throw a price on his wicket, besides offering substance with the ball. He is an excellent fielder and can account for the x-factor in the team. A busy player, Curran is an important pick. Meanwhile, veteran pacer Shami has what it takes to provide a shield with the ball. His variations and quality will be crucial for the visitors.

Other choices: Rory Burns and Rishabh Pant.

Pitch report and conditions

The pitch has a lot of grass and will assist bowling. With overcast conditions set to be on offer, pacers will enjoy themselves. However, spinners may get some turn on Day 4 and 5. Both teams may either go with an extra batter or an added seamer. Rain could play a part in this Test with the weather forecast indicating showers on Day 2, 3, and 4.

Stadium stats

India won their last Test here in Nottingham back in 2018. In 2014, they drew the Test here. 300-plus scores on this venue could prove to be crucial. Pacers will be among the wickets which has been a trajectory in Nottingham.

Head-to-head record

India have won 29 Tests as compared to 48 by England. Notably, 47 Tests have ended in draws.

Match prediction

Both teams are strong and there is quality on offer. However, Indians can produce substance given Nottingham has been a venue the side has enjoyed in the last two games. We go with a win for India or a draw given rain could play its part.

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