Chennai: Test cricket in India has its own dynamics and the first change from foreign practice is to focus on spin. Despite the win in Australia, the fast bowlers are leading the team and Team India is set to return to its three-spinner formula when the ball rolls in Sebak on Friday for the first Test against England.
The Indian team had its first appearance on the field on Tuesday and when the team trained, one understands that it was a feeling of a “traditional Sebak pitch”. Days 2 and 3 have been great for batting and turning the ball over the last two days, which means there will be some bounce on the first day.
In that case, off-spinner Ravichandran Aswin and Chinaman Kuldeep Yadav will be the first two picks, while there will be a toss-up between Off Washington Sunder and Orthodox left-hander Akshar Patel. “If management wants more depth in batting, Vashi should get a trip.
But Sri Lankan left-arm spinner Lasith Embuldenia had a lot of wins against the England batsmen a week ago and they may be tempted to go with the action. A left-arm spinner brings extra control to the action, ”said a source who knows what was said to the TOI.
With six batsmen — Rohit Sharma, Shubman Gill, Sadeshwar Pujara, Virat Kohli, Ajinkya Rahane and Rishabh Bandh — selecting themselves, Hardik Pandya, who will be in practice from Wednesday, will not have to wait long.
Another interesting toss-up could be between veteran fast bowler Ishant Sharma returning from injury and second-seamer Mohammad Siraj to the slot. “It is true that Siraj did well in Australia, but if there are no fitness issues with Ishant, his experience will help him get approval for the first Test with Jaspreet Bumra,” the source pointed out.
As for England, things are still straight forward when it comes to their bowling department. Since Ben Stokes is a crack all-rounder, they are sure to play two crack bowlers and two spin bowlers. James Anderson and Joffre Archer will fill the positions of off-spinner Off Dom Base and left-arm spinner Jack Leach.
Archer, however, did not want to comment on how the pitch would play out so quickly. “We had the first look today, and that could change a lot from now until Friday,” Archer said, holding his cards close to his chest.