England drew the two test match series against Bangladesh 1-1 but will be low on confidence after losing the second test match when they suffered a 10 wicket collapse in just one session. England batsmen showed that they were vulnerable to spin and turning pitches, which is exactly what they are going to be confronted with in their 5 test match series against India.
Captain Alistair Cook also admitted that his side was lacking a quality spinner that could run through the opposition. In a statement, Cook said “We’re not hiding behind the fact that we haven’t got world-class spinners. It doesn’t mean our spinners are bad bowlers. We’ve got guys who can bowl some really good balls and spells. But we can’t quite control well enough at the moment. We don’t hold our length and line well enough. We bowl jaffas, but we’re easy to knock off strike and we don’t build the kind of pressure we’d like.”
England will also be without the services of their spearhead James Anderson who missed the Bangladesh tour out of injury and will not be available for the first test match. The selectors are in a predicament as whether they should call for a replacement and if they should bring in another spinner. England will depend on Moeen Ali to lead their spin attack and although Moeen has improved considerably during the last couple of years, it is hard to see him winning matches for England with the ball on a regular basis.
The first test starts on November 9 in Rajkot and one can expect a pitch that provides considerable turn to the bowlers from day 1. India rested R Ashwin and R Jadeja during the 5 match one day series against the Kiwis and they will be fresh and ready to go come November 9. England will have to rely on a strategy of putting big runs on the board, getting the opposition under pressure and then relying on a combination of spin and pace to run through the Indian batting line-up.
Cook, Root and Stokes will be the mainstay of the batting line-up but for England to do well, the likes of Bairstow, Ali and Woakes will have to contribute down the order. England are also struggling to find a reliable opening partner for Cook and Ballance’s form is yet another cause for concern.