The India vs England 1st Test, starting Friday (Feb 5), will mark the resumption of international cricket in the country, after a gap of 11 months due to the Covid-19 pandemic. India last played international cricket on its home soil when South Africa toured for a three-match ODI series in March 2020. But the series was called off in view of the coronavirus outbreak. The first ODI of the three-match series in Dharamshala was washed out due to rain.
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Will crowds be allowed for IND vs ENG 1st Test?
The first Test will be played behind closed doors, while the second Test will have 50 per cent crowd in attendance, the Tamil Nadu Cricket Association (TNCA) secretary confirmed on Tuesday.
India vs England 1st Test playing 11 predictions
The return of regular captain Virat Kohli will strengthen the middle order, which already has the likes of Ajinkya Rahane and Rishabh Pant. However, an injury-ravaged Indian side still needs to fix its spin department, which will miss the all-round abilities of Ravindra Jadeja.
India is likely to go with three spinners, given that the Chennai pitch usually supports spinners, in its playing 11. With fit-again Jasprit Bumrah raring to come back on the field, it will be interesting to see whether the Indian team management will go with the experience of Ishant Sharma or the young energy of Mohammed Siraj, who led the pace attack when his team breached the Australian fortress in Brisbane.
England, on the other hand, will be boosted by the return of Ben Stokes, Jofra Archer and Rory Burns in the squad. All the three players are expected to get a game in IND vs ENG 1st Test after a well-deserved rest during England’s tour of Sri Lanka. However, the absence of Jonny Bairstow who played some gusty knocks in Sri Lanka and a wrist injury to Zak Crawley, which ruled him out of first two Tests, will be an area of concern for Joe Root and coach Silverwood. But the addition of Ollie Pope, who is a good player of spin, in the visitors’ squad will provide the desired balance.
India vs England head-to-head
India won: 26
England won: 47
India vs England head-to-head in India (Tests)
Total matches played: 60
India won: 19
England won: 13
IND vs ENG head-to-head in Chennai
India and England have faced each other in 9 Test matches at ‘Chepauk’, with the hosts registering five wins and England winning three matches. The Test match in 1982 ended in a draw.
ICC World Test Championship
The India vs England 4-match Test series is also a part of ICC World Test Championship (WTC). Both the teams are fighting for a finals spot in the WTC, scheduled to take place on June 18-22 at the Lord’s cricket ground.
New Zealand on Tuesday had become the first team to qualify for the inaugural ICC WTC final as the Test series between Australia and South Africa was postponed. The Kiwis will now be joined by either India, England or Australia in the WTC finals.
Here are the squads of both the teams:
India squad for 1st and 2nd Tests: Virat Kohli (captain), Rohit Sharma, Shubman Gill, Mayank Agarwal, Cheteshwar Pujara, Ajinkya Rahane, Rishabh Pant, Wriddhiman Saha (wicketkeeper), Hardik Pandya, KL Rahul, Jasprit Bumrah, Ishant Sharma, Mohammed Siraj, Shardul Thakur, R Ashwin, Kuldeep Yadav, Washington Sundar, Axar Patel.
England squad for 1st and 2nd Tests: Joe Root, Jofra Archer, Moeen Ali, James Anderson, Dom Bess, Stuart Broad, Rory Burns, Jos Buttler(only for 1st Test), Zak Crawley, Ben Foakes, Dan Lawrence, Jack Leach, Ben Stokes, Olly Stone, Chris Woakes.