England did not had best of the outing against Sri Lanka last month losing two match series 0-1 at home. The hosts came very close to win the first test but resilient batting by Sri Lankan tail denied them victory and then in the second test could not hold onto a draw after losing last wicket on the penultimate ball of the match. England have lately struggled and captain Alistair Cook has been under the cosh for some time now. Last time when these two teams met in England for test series India lost all four matches against the home side. Both teams since then have undergone redevelopment phase and some new faces have been included in both the sides. As the first test between India and England starts today, we take a look at five England players who can make things difficult for the visiting team in the opening game of the series.
This 23 year old right-hand batsman is the new face of England middle order. In his 17 test matches for England Root has slammed three centuries including an unbeaten 200 against Sri Lanka in the recently concluded series. He made his test debut against India in December 2012 scoring persistent 229-ball 73 on his debut. Root who bats at number five has scored 841 test runs out of 1214 in front of his home crowd. He is a determined batsman and can keep the inexperienced Indian attack at bay.
Fresh from his 100th test match Ian Bell is one of the senior batsmen around in English camp and has scored 6859 runs at an average of 45.12. Last time when India toured England Bell averaged 84.00 with the bats in six innings scoring 504 runs which included a double hundred as well. Bell is an important part of England middle order and has established himself as a solid player over the years.
He is the new number three batsmen in England lines and has done well so far in limited opportunities. Balance, a left-handed batsman has already notched up a century in his three test matches. He had an impressive outing against Sri Lanka just few weeks before wherein he averaged 67.00 in four innings. Balance occupies the crucial number three spot which was assigned to Jonathan Trott who withdrew following some stress related issues during the Ashes series in Australia. He is an unknown commodity to India and has an opportunity to establish himself.
There are no prizes for guessing the threat James Anderson possess to a new look Indian batting. He is the spearhead of English attack and Alistair Cook’s go-to man. Anderson picked 12 wickets in four innings against the strong Sri Lankan batting at an average of 21.50. Overall Anderson in his 94 tests has scalped 355 wickets. It will be a tough job for Indian batsmen to negotiate him and that too when conditions favour his type of bowling, swing bowling.
He finished the second leading wicket taker after James Anderson with 11 wickets including a five-wicket haul in the just concluded series against Sri Lanka. Plunkett who had last represented England in test in 2007 announced his comeback in a sterling fashion. He is a useful batsman lower down the order as well and fits in as an all-rounder in the England side.