The stage is set as the second edition of the World Test Championship starts off with England taking on Virat Kohli-led India in the first Test of the Pataudi Trophy.
Nottingham was the savior in the 2018 Test series when India won their only Test match of an otherwise torrid series. The men in blue scored 329 and 352 and skittled England to two lowly scores of 161 and 317. The star of the show was Indian captain Kohli leading from the front with innings of 97 and 103. He was ably supported by Ajinkya Rahane and Hardik Pandya. In the bowling department, Jasprit Bumrah, Pandya, and Ishant Sharma did the damage as India avoided a clean sweep.
Now it is 2021, the situation has changed. Nottingham has re-worked the Trent bridge pitch to suit their pacers more. In county cricket, the average first innings score is 268. Ball seams and bounces and it is also a delight for swing bowlers.
|Total matches||Teams batting first||Team bowling first|
So whoever plays better wins at Nottingham. So the pitch or toss can not be blamed.
Head to Head
|Total matches played||India won||England won||Draw|
The conditions are not ideal for the sport as rainfall is expected throughout the course of the 5 days with the exception being Day 1 where rain is expected only later in the evening. The temperature is expected to be hovering at 14-19 degrees Celsius and the humidity at the peak is likely to touch the 55 percent mark.
As per the latest images shared by the BCCI, the pitch seemed to have a thick covering of grass but is likely to be trimmed just in time for the first encounter. The pacers could be in for a treat with the heavy grass coating combined with the overcast conditions.
The Spinners have not made a huge impact at this venue and for that reason, they are likely to be used as a variety option rather than strike bowlers.
Injuries to Shubman Gill and covid to Rishabh Pant has forced India's hands to find their replacement. Humiliating loss in the WTC final should induce a new-look team.
As per the latest reports, opener Mayank Agarwal also has been ruled out from the first Test after being struck on the head during practice. This does mean that KL Rahul is the likely contender to open with Rohit Sharma.
NEWS 🚨- Mayank Agarwal ruled out of first Test due to concussion.— BCCI (@BCCI) August 2, 2021
The 30-year-old is stable and will remain under close medical observation.
More details here - https://t.co/6B5ESUusRO #ENGvIND pic.twitter.com/UgOeHt2VQQ
Team management will go for a lone spinner in Ashwin, however, Axar Patel is also an option as fear of left-armers must be plaguing English batsmen and this can work in India's favor. The three speedsters will be Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Shami, and Ishant Sharma. Shardul will provide the seaming option and bolster the batting. His Australian exploits were really missed in the WTC final against New Zealand.
India (IND): Rohit Sharma, KL Rahul, Chesteshwar Pujara, Virat Kohli, Ajinkya Rahane, Rishabh Pant, Ravichandran Ashwin, Shardul Thakur/Ravindra Jadeja, Mohammed Shami, Ishant Sharma/ Mohammed Siraj, Jasprit Bumrah
Their batting was heavily exposed by India in India and by New Zealand in England. Crawley, Sibley, Lawrence, and Bairstow have proved to be too brittle. and only Rory Burns has provided some resistance.
The unavailability of Ben Stokes has shaken the all-around balance of the team and has also landed a psychological blow to their chances, given the fact that he is arguably the world's best all-around seam option.
Opening by Rory and Haseeb/Sibley. Zak Crawley, Root, Bairstow, and Lawrence will complete the batting order. Dominic Bess may play the spinning all-rounder role. The pace department will be spearheaded by James Anderson, Stuart Broad, Chris Wood, and Ollie Robinson/Sam Curran.
England (ENG): Rory Burns, Dominic Sibley, Zak Crawley, Joe Root (c), Daniel Lawrence/J Leach, J Bairstow, Ollie Pope/J Leach, Ollie Robinson, Stuart Broad, Mark Wood, James Anderson
We have also taken a look at the key battles to look out for in this intriguing series between two great teams. Virat Kohli and James Anderson is definitely one, but who else? Click to know more.
Toss: 3 PM IST (9:30 AM GMT)
Match: 3:30 PM IST (10:00 AM GMT)
Reasons Why India is favorite
English batting is at its worst phase and if Joe Root doesn't go for daddy hundreds, they are in big trouble.
England batting is clueless against spin. Anderson and Broad have aged and if for 30 overs Indian batsmen do not lose their wickets, they will get tired. Lastly, the omission of Stokes too serves as a huge blow for the hosts.
It is very crucial for India as India did well in 2014 and 2018 at Nottingham as they scored well in the first innings. So, whoever will win, they will choose to bat first and try to put around 400. on the board
In 2007, India won the series under Rahul Dravid. India can not have a better opportunity to emulate the same and winning the Test and series may assuage the burn of the WTC final loss.
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