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India vs England Test series: England has a clear edge
Every cricket lover is eagerly awaiting to see the outcome of the five-match Test series between England and India which begins from 1st August 2018 in England.

The equation before the Test series has become quite interesting as while the Indian cricket team had won the T20I series by 2-1, England won the three-match ODI series by 2-1. As a result, the Test series will now play a decisive role in determining which team is better of the two.

However, before I analyse the possibilities, there are two prime highlights of this series. This first Test at Birmingham happens to be the 1000th test being played by England. Wow, what a glorious landmark! This clearly depicts the immaculate contribution of England to the world of cricket.

It is not out of place to mention that the Indian cricket team has so far won only 6 Tests out of the 30 they have played in England. Also, Edgbaston clearly favours England who have a 5-0 record against India in the total 6 Tests played here.

As far as the record of Team India is concerned, vibrant Indian captain Virat Kohli has a chance to become the number 1 player in Test cricket by surpassing Steve Smith of Australia, who is facing a 12-month ban on account of ball tempering charges.

The following will have a direct bearing over the end result:

1. First of all, the weather will play a decisive role here as the pitch conditions have changed after two days of continuous rainfall. In the absence of Jaspreet Bumrah and Bhuvneshwar Kumar due to injury, India's bowling attack looks a little shaky. Particularly Bhuvneshwar's skills with bat could have made a difference.

2. Team India will have to develop an impressive opening partnership, a vital issue especially on the bouncy tracks of England. KL Rahul along with Murli Vijay might be able to deliver. Thereafter, Pujara, Virat Kohli and Rahane can stabilize the innings. However, the million dollar question remains whether they will be able to counter the aggressive bowling attack of England who will be playing in their backyard in suitable weather conditions!

3. Virat Kohli will be under a lot of pressure to perform as he has not scored even one Test century in England. Also, his batting average in Test matches in England is a pathetic 13.4. So, the pressure is clearly visible here.

4. James Anderson holds a wonderful record of 540 wickets under his belt, out of which 60 wickets are against India in 12 matches. Countering his deadly swing in England conditions might prove to be a difficult task for the Indian batsmen.

5. Alastair Cook has scored an impressive 12000 plus runs from 156 Tests with an average of over 45. For the Indian bowlers marking him won't be easy as he is the highest run getter for England.

6. The captain of Team England, Joe Root, though, of late, has not been giving outstanding performances, but recently, he scored two back-to-back centuries against India during the ODI series. Batting at number three, he has got a lot of potential to stabilize the innings for England, especially with his elevated level of self-confidence. This series will provide him with a chance to prove himself as captain of the side.

7. Stuart Broad is another master of swing and perhaps the only pacer who bowls length balls with the right arm and yields desired swing along with an accurate combination of deadly bouncers. During the five-Test series in the year 2014, he had scalped 19 wickets. Interestingly, most of the batsmen in the current Indian side have never faced him and with his capability to acquaint himself with the pitch conditions, he might prove to be a big headache.

8. For any batting side, the position of number 3 is always vital, and unfortunately, Cheteshwar Pujara hasn't been able to perform for quite some time now. This will adversely effect the batting performance of Team India.

9. Likewise, Indian opener Shikhar Dhawan has also failed to deliver in recent past, which is a great cause of concern.

10. The Indian bowlers would have to target their balls at good length as it would be disastrous to bowl short pitch deliveries at the batsmen in England. But it seems unlikely with a comparatively inexperienced Indian bowling attack.

In any case this series is going to be an acid test for Virat Kohli and on a personal note, a couple of drawn matches will be a favourable equation, as winning on the English soil looks like a distant dream. Anyways, the best of wishes from millions of die-hard cricket fans of India will perhaps pay favourably. In the meanwhile, we are keeping our fingers crossed.

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