CRICKET: England must avoid falling victims to spin
Wednesday marked a historic cricketing moment – the start of England’s first five Test series on Indian soil in 31 years. Although facing the world’s number one ranked Test team, England take inspiration from being the last nation to win in India, an unexpected series success in 2012-13.
Under captain Virat Kohli, the home side have won their last four Test series, including a 3-0 win in a four-match contest against South Africa last year and a recent 3-0 whitewash of New Zealand.
Sky Sports is the only place you can watch the action in full. “Pitches that turn lead to exciting and entertaining cricket,” Sky Sports Pundit Ian Ward says.
“Given England’s lack of a world class spinner, captain Alastair Cook would really like to focus on England’s biggest strength, seam bowling,” he says. “England’s seamers are fantastically skilful and he will feel that is their best chance of keeping the runs down and taking all 20 wickets.
Ward thinks England can expect turning pitches as the home side rely on the guile and cunning of Ravichandran Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja and Amit Mishra.
Have India any weaknesses? Ward thinks that England can take advantage of injuries to top order batsmen Rohit Sharma and Shikhar Dhawan, which could signal the return of veteran Guatam Ghambir.
Five reasons to watch India v England Test series
1. India are the number one ranked Test team. Spinner Ravi Ashwin is ripping through sides and has taken 58 wickets in his last seven Test matches. 2. Stylish batsman Virat Kohli has been wowing crowds around the world across all formats with some of the most exquisite stroke-play of any current world cricketer. 3. Test cricket in India is on the up. Huge crowds bring an electric atmosphere. 4. We saw a glimpse of England’s youth with Ben Duckett against Bangladesh, and Haseeb Hameed could become the first opening batsman from Lancashire since Mike Atherton. 5. Will Cook’s battery of world class seamers master unfriendly conditions? Fiery Ben Stokes is likely to be a key player once more.
Five memorable England Tests in India
England captain Freddie Flintoff cited the Johnny Cash classic, Ring Of Fire, as the inspiration for his team’s thumping 212 run victory. Off spinner Shaun Udal unexpectedly took 4 for 14 on his 37th birthday and the victory was hailed by coach Duncan Fletcher as England’s best performance on his watch.
England had decided to stay in India despite civil unrest following the assassination of Indira Gandhi and secured a famous victory by nine wickets thanks to double hundreds from Mike Gatting and Graeme ‘foxy’ Fowler, as Neil Foster took 11 wickets.
England won by ten wickets and the match saw Ian Botham at the height of his powers. It marked 50 year celebrations of the Board of Control for Cricket for India, and Botham took six for 58 and seven for 48, and struck 114 with the bat.
This was the first match played after the Mumbai terrorist attacks. India won by six wickets as a magnificent century by Sachin Tendulkar sunk England.
Kevin Pietersen played one of the best innings of his England career, scoring a magnificent 186. Expert spin bowling from Swann and Panesar helped England to a historic ten wicket victory.