The 1st Test will be played at the MA Chidambaram Stadium, Chepauk, Chennai and is scheduled to start on Friday 5th February 2021
It is a much-anticipated Test, with both England and India coming off winning Test series (India in Australia and England in Sri Lanka) and looking at the two squads and, the likely playing XIs for the 1st Test, it will be the India bowlers that hold the key to the result of this Test.
Probable Playing XIs
India - Shubman Gill, Rohit Sharma, Cheteshwar Pujara, Virat Kohli (c), Ajinkya Rahane, Rishabh Pant (wk), Axar Patel/Kuldeep Yadav, Ravichandran Ashwin, Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Siraj/Washington Sundar, Ishant Sharma
England - Rory Burns, Dominic Sibley, Zak Crawley, Joe Root (c), Ben Stokes, Ollie Pope, Jos Buttler (wk), Moeen Ali, Jofra Archer, James Anderson, Jack Leach
Three out of these five bowlers are automatic picks. Jasprit Bumrah and Ishant Sharma will be India's leading pace bowlers while Ravichandran Ashwin will be the team's premier spinner. If the team management opts to pick an extra pace bowler, there is little doubt that Mohammed Siraj, after his brilliant returns against Australia, will be the preferred choice.
In terms of spinners, India has three options other than Ravichandran Ashwin out of whom they have to pick either one or two. Axar Patel, Kuldeep Yadav and Washington Sundar can all prove to be a handful in helpful conditions, especially at Chennai where the pitch will begin to break down from the end of day two.
Washington Sundar being an off spinner, of a similar ilk as that of Ravichandran Ashwin, will play only if India chooses to go with three spinners because playing two off spinners makes little cricketing sense. In case, India plays two spinners, left arm wrist spinner Kuldeep Yadav is the most likely to play given the X Factor that he brings.
Betting Tips and Match Predictions 1st Test India v England
Who will win the toss? - England
Who will win? – India
Top Batsman (Runs Scored) – Ben Stokes (England), Cheteshwar Pujara (India)
Top Bowler (Wickets taken) – James Anderson (England), Ravichandran Ashwin (India)
Most Sixes – Jos Buttler (England), Rishabh Pant (India)
Man of the Match – Ravichandran Ashwin
Team Scores Batting first – England 250+, India 400+
Match Handicap India
*NB these predictions may be changed nearer the start of the match once the final starting teams have been announced and we will be running ‘In–Play’ features, so stay tuned