The first test between India and England ended with a bizarre turn of events. Both teams fought hard but England came out victorious as they continued to perform, running rampage through the Indian team at the MA Chidambaram Stadium, Chennai. English captain Joe Root‘s heroics led England to glory as he scored his second double ton in just three test matches. His numbers against India after the first test stands at 824 runs in 7 matches. India fought hard in both innings but was unable to resist the brute English bowling attack especially the spinners. India’s most successful bowler was Ravichandran Ashwin where he took 9 wickets in two innings and clinched his 28th 5-wicket haul.
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MA Chidambaram Stadium, Chennai
The weather in Chennai is quite comfortable given the wintery conditions in India. The mornings would be predominantly hot due to the tropical conditions with temperatures ranging from 24°C-30°C. High levels of humidity will persist with an expected range of 75%-80%. The winds would be blowing at moderate speeds affecting the direction of deliveries.
The pitch at Chepauk or MA Chidambaram Stadium is always a spinner-friendly pitch. This pitch holds a lot of history as India registered their maiden victory against the same team they play this time, England. Due to the humid conditions, the pitch at times also favours the pacers.
The main concern that lies in front of India currently is that the second test match would be held at the MA Chidambaram Stadium. The first test analysis shows that the pitch deteriorated exponentially as the days went by. The cracks became prominent and a lot of loose soil was posing a problem for the batsmen due to uneven bounce and spin of the ball. Spinners had an upper hand in this dry pitch where they successfully bamboozled the batsmen with bounce and spin and cumulatively took 24 wickets out of 40 that were clinched. India would be looking to make their spinners count again as well to control the deadly English batting lineup.
Shahbaz Nadeem who was expected to be a game-changer and revelation surprisingly disappointed everyone with his performances taking only 4 wickets being a spinner on a spinning pitch. His contribution with the bat was nil too. The team management and captain Virat Kohli were under a lot of pressure for not selecting the better-experienced Chinaman Kuldeep Yadav who could have changed the game with his exceptional wrist spin abilities. Choosing him in the second test at a pitch like Chennai could be beneficial for India.
Expected Playing XI
Playing XI India– Virat Kohli (C), Rishabh Pant (wk), Jasprit Bumrah, Ravichandran Ashwin, Kuldeep Yadav, Washington Sundar, Rohit Sharma, Ajinkya Rahane, Cheteshwar Pujara, Ishant Sharma, Shubman Gill
Taking records into consideration and also the pitch conditions, it would be crucial for India to win the toss and elect to bat first to avoid the cracked and bowler-friendly pitch. It is highly important for them to make a strong batting line-up that would be able to distress through the English bowling lineup taking the advantage of bounce and uncracked pitch during the first two days of the match. If indeed it is the case that England elects to bat first, they and especially Virat Kohli should settle his game plan and improve the field setting to avoid the flow of excess and unnecessary runs. Indian bowlers should also work on and avoid giving extras which were recorded at 52 runs across two English batting innings. Shahbaz Nadeem surprised everyone with the number of no-balls he gave away.
Since the captain is back into form again, the experienced players like Rohit Sharma and Ajinkya Rahane should also contribute to the score since they are deemed to be explosive batsmen in home conditions. Cumulative runs of these veteran players across both the innings of the first test were only 19 runs where 18 of them came out of Rohit Sharma’s bat and Vice-captain Ajinkya Rahane returned with a duck in the second innings where Jimmy Anderson managed to rattle his stumps. Shubman Gill has been a revelation from the series down under and has a bright future ahead with some of his powerful and helpful innings.
India and England both will be looking forward to the World Test Championship Finals. India needs to win the series by the following numbers: 3-1 or 2-1 where they have already exhausted a match. On the other hand, England needs the following outcomes to qualify for the World Test Championship Finals: 3-0 or 4-0 in which the latter means a complete whitewash to India on their home soil. The series held here would also affect Australia’s chance for qualifying in the finals since their series against New Zealand has been postponed with no test action until late June.
Predictions point towards a draw in which both teams would fight hard but the match could turn at any moment towards any team. Tune in on the 13th of February 2021 for live-action.