Virat Kohli vs James Anderson
Every time Kohli has scored a hundred in the last four years and celebrated, somewhere in the world someone has spoken about his failure on the 2014 tour of England. James Anderson had his number in that series, dismissing him four times. However, head coach Ravi Shastri says Kohli is a now a much-improved player and his stats do back those claims. But can the India skipper deliver on the pitch and shut Anderson up once and for all? Kohli’s form will undoubtedly decide how the series pans out for the visitors and the clash with Anderson will be one of the highlights over the summer.
Murali Vijay vs Stuart Broad
Having returned after an injury break, Broad will be raring to go at the Indian openers with the new Duke ball. If India are to do well, Vijay will be needed to see off the new ball. Known for his tight defence and ability to leave the ball on the fifth stump, Vijay will be looking to dent the English bowling attack. However, it will not be easy considering the seam movement that Broad is known to get on English wickets, especially with the sudden burst of rain giving the pitch a damp look going into the first game of the series.
Ajinkya Rahane vs Adil Rashid
The man with the best average for India outside the sub-continent, surprisingly, Rahane hasn’t had a great run on home pitches. The reason is his vulnerability to the spinners and this where Adil Rashid could come in handy. Surprisingly recalled for the first Test, Rashid could be Joe Root’s go-to-man if the Indian vice-captain starts looking dangerous. Pace and bounce isn’t an area of concern for Rahane, as witnessed by his fighting effort on the unplayable Wanderers wicket during the third Test in South Africa. But question marks do remain over his ability to play quality spin in recent times. An interesting battle on the cards for sure.
Ishant Sharma vs Joe Root
Having scored runs against top fast bowlers around the world, Root will be looking to lead from the front. India will be looking to the experience and consistency of Ishant Sharma to challenge Root. With no Bhuvneshwar Kumar or Jasprit Bumrah around, Sharma will have to ensure that he manages to frustrate the England captain with his nagging line and length outside the off-stump. The county experience should only come in handy against a batsman who has a very good record against India.
Umesh Yadav vs Alastair Cook
A century in the game against India ‘A’ has definitely helped Cook gain in confidence, but there is no denying the fact that the former England skipper has been far from his old assured self at the crease in recent months. With Yadav known to trouble batsmen with the movement he manages to generate at pace, it will be interesting to see if the India fast bowler can bring the slips into the game early in the England innings. Anything angled across on and outside the off-stump will definitely test Cook’s defence and Yadav’s pace will surely be called upon to unsettle England’s most experienced batsman and highest run-getter.
Ajinkya Rahanealastair cookEngland vs Indiaengland vs india 2018James AndersonJoe Rootstuart broadvirat kohli
First Published: August 1, 2018, 8:42 AM IST