ENG vs IND: Greener Pitch Could Greet India In 1st Test
The ability of Indias batsmen to cope with pressure and their bowlers capability of exploiting the conditions hold the key to the five-Test series against England in the second edition of the World Test Championship commencing on Wednesday.
After 2011, when India were whitewashed, their Test match batting has revolved around Virat Kohli, Ajinkya Rahane and Cheteshwar Pujara. They have, however, flattered to deceive, losing 1-3 in 2014 and 1-4 three years ago.
Rahane's shot selection and Pujara's long periods of strokelessness are matters of concern. Of course, this time they are bolstered by Rohit Sharma; but with both Shubman Gill and Mayank Agarwal unavailable due to injuries, there's a conundrum about who will open the innings with him.
K.L. Rahul has a decent record as an opener. But if he is going to keep wickets, it might be wiser not to overburden him. Admittedly, wicket-keeper-batsman Farokh Engineer, now settled in England after an extended career with Lancashire, opened in 1967 (when India lost all three Tests) with a degree of success, but batted in the middle order in 1971 (when India triumphed in a Test and series in England for the first time).
Hanuma Vihari is an option, for he is technically correct, but not a habitual opener.
Climate change has converted what is generally the hottest and driest part of the year in England to frequent monsoonic rains. This could mean the ball will move more for quickly at Trent Bridge than is normally the case, when the pitch here is pacey, but true and good for batting, if you have the technique to tackle velocity and bounce.
Pictures of the ground tweeted by BCCI are misleading, for they were taken before the wicket was mowed. Nonetheless, the final product could be slightly greener than what it generally is at Trent Bridge.
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