The fifth Test match of the 2021 India tour of England, which was postponed due to a COVID scare, is finally upon us. The Edgbaston stadium in Birmingham will bring us live action from the match between two of the best teams in world cricket: England and India.
Almost a year since they lost the ICC World Test Championship final against New Zealand, India will be hungry for yet another final spot. Currently sitting at third place, they will need to win in order to challenge South Africa for the No. 2 spot, with Australia sitting at the top.
Rohit Sharma tested positive on Day 2 of Team India’s warm-up match against Leicestershire, while KL Rahul is out with a groin injury that he suffered in training ahead of the home T20I series against South Africa.
Despite the major injury concerns, the Indian team possess great depth and balance and looked in fine form in their warm-up game. Rahul Dravid and his men will be aware of the conditions, and it is always a tough task against England in England. However, one must not forget that Team India are one of the best teams when it comes to the long format. They are also leading this five-match Test series by 2-1.
England, on the other hand, are coming into this match on the back off a series win against New Zealand. There could hardly have been a better start to the Brendon McCullum and Ben Stokes era as England managed to secure a 3-0 win against an in-form New Zealand side. With momentum on their side, they will be looking for nothing less than a victory and draw the series against India.
Match: England vs India, Friday, 1 July 2022
Venue: Egdbaston, Birmingham
Time: 3:00 pm (IST)
Where to watch: SonyLIV | Sony Sports Network
Considering the record book, the ‘fresh’ pitch at Edgbaston offers fierce swing and pace to the new-ball bowlers on Day 1. It may tend to offer support to the batters as the game progresses, though it won’t be an easy task for the team batting first, as both the teams possess a formidable seam-bowling line-up, comprising the likes of Stuart Broad and James Anderson for England and Mohammed Siraj and Mohammed Shami for India.
The venue has usually been in favour of the team batting last, with 20 wins against 18 by teams batting first. I expect the team winning the toss to bowl first.
Probable playing XIs
Alex Lees, Zak Crawley, Ollie Pope, Joe Root, Jonny Bairstow, Ben Stokes (c), Ben Foakes (wk), James Anderson, Matty Potts, Stuart Broad, Jack Leach
Bench: Sam Billings, Harry Brook, Craig Overton, Jamie Overton, Matty Potts
Mayank Agarwal, Shubman Gill, Cheteshwar Pujara, Virat Kohli, Rishabh Pant (wk), Shreyas Iyer, Ravindra Jadeja, Ravichandran Ashwin, Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Shami, Mohammed Siraj
Bench: Hanuma Vihari, Srikar Bharat, Shardul Thakur, Umesh Yadav, Prasidh Krishna
Batter to watch out for: Joe Root
Arguably one of the best batters in the Test format at the moment, Joe Root is in top form coming into this match. He was England’s top run-getter in the series against New Zealand as he managed to score 396 runs in six innings, bagging two 100s in the process. He is a steady batter who loves to play the spin and will be backing himself to be among the top run-getters once again.
Bowler to watch out for: James Anderson
An England fast-bowling legend and a Test veteran, James Anderson has achieved it all in his glorious Test career, having picked up 651 wickets in 171 matches with an impressive three 10-wicket hauls to his name. Despite touching 40, there is no stopping Anderson, and with the Edgbaston wicket offering great swing and bounce, he will be ready and waiting to bowl in his fourteenth Test against India.
Rishabh Pant, Jonny Bairstow, Joe Root (c), Virat Kohli, Cheteshwar Pujara (vc), Ollie Pope, Ravindra Jadeja, Craig Overton, Jasprit Bumrah, James Anderson, Stuart Broad
As things stand, India lead 2-1 in the series against England; a draw or win is what they will be looking for. England possess plenty of Test experience on their side and are coming on the back of a demolishing 3-0 series win against New Zealand. I predict England managing to draw this one out.