Test series preview: India vs. England Predictions
Test series preview: India vs. England Predictions

England and India are ready to start their rivalry in the longest format of the game with the first Test of the five-match series in Birmingham, which will begin on Wednesday.

Both teams will go into the series relatively high on confidence after good performances in the T20I and ODI series.

In the 20-over format, it was Virat Kohli-led side who sealed the three-match series with a 2-1 margin, courtesy comfortable victories in the first and third match.

In the ODIs, the home side made a grand comeback with a 2-1 win, which was a monumental achievement considering the fact that the Three Lions lost the first game with a massive margin of eight wickets.

The series will be a real test for the visiting side, who lost seven of their last nine Test matches on the English soil.

Team news:

England:
The team will go in with five batsman, all-rounder, wicketkeeper-batsman, three pacers and a leg-spinners.

India:

There are two slots in the team which remain uncertain on the eve of the match. Two out of Shikhar Dhawam, KL Rahul and Murali Vijay will take part in the match for the visitors.
Dhawan has so far represented India in 30 matches in the five-day format, where he has scored 2,153 runs at an average of 43.93 and in the last eight innings, the 32-year-old has scored two half-centuries and two centuries for his team.

On the other hand, Vijay has scored 3,907 runs for Team India in 57 Tests and in the last eight innings, he has scored just one century for his team.

Last one in this trio is the 26-year-old Rahul, who has scored 1,512 runs for his country in 24 matches in the longest format of the game. In the last eight innings, Rahul has only managed to score two half-centuries.

In the bowling department, the only puzzle to fix is the selection of either pacer Mohammad Shami or left-arm spinner Ravindra Jadeja to complete the final eleven, for which the decision will be taken after looking at the pitch.

England playing 11:

Alastair Cook, Keaton Jennings, Joe Root (captain), Dawid Malan, Jonny Bairstow (wicketkeeper-batsman), Ben Stokes, Jos Buttler, Adil Rashid, Sam Curran, Stuart Broad, James Anderson.

India probable playing 11:

Shikhar Dhawan/KL Rahul/ Murali Vijay, Cheteshwar Pujara, Virat Kohli (capt), Ajinkya Rahane, Dinesh Karthik (wicketkeeper-batsman), R Ashwin, Hardik Pandya, Ravindra Jadeja/Mohammed Shami, Ishant Sharma, Umesh Yadav

ENG vs IND key players:

England:

Joe Root will be the player to watch out for the home side, for more than just his form with the bat. The 27-year-old will go into the series under immense pressure over his captaincy and another failure might see the end of his leadership role for his national team. With the bat, Root's recent form suggest that there is a lot to worry about as the Sheffield-born right-hander has not scored a century for his team in the five-day format since August 2017.
In the bowling department, the focus will be on leg-spinner Rashid Khan, who was selected on the back of impressive performances in the 50-over format. So far, the 30-year-old has claimed 38 wickets in 10 Test matches for the Three Lions. It will also going to Rashid's first Test match in England.

India:

The player to watch out from the Indian camp is their skipper Virat Kohli, who will be desperate to prove his critics wrong once again. Even though the 29-year-old has already scored 5,554 runs in the five-day format for the Men in Blue in just 66 matches at an average of 53.40 with the help of 21 centuries, but his record in English conditions is extremely poor according to his own high standards. The Delhi-born right-hander has only managed to score 134 runs in five matches at an average of 13.40 in England and the team management will be hoping that their star player will turn up in the upcoming series.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Azeem Siddiqui
Azeem Siddiqui writes about fantasy sports for RotoWire
ODI Match Preview: West Indies vs. Bangladesh match prediction tips
ODI Match Preview: West Indies vs. Bangladesh match prediction tips
ODI Series Preview: South Africa Tour of Sri Lanka 2018
ODI Series Preview: South Africa Tour of Sri Lanka 2018
ODI Series Preview: Australia Tour of England 2018
ODI Series Preview: Australia Tour of England 2018
Women's Asia Cup T20 tournament preview: India again the favorite
Women's Asia Cup T20 tournament preview: India again the favorite