India vs England: Joe Root and Co. join Ben Stokes in Chennai

The England cricket team landed in Chennai from Sri Lanka on Wednesday to face one of the toughest challenges come February 5.

England captain Joe Root struck form in Sri Lanka with scores of 228 and 186 in the two Tests.   -  FILE PHOTO/PTI

With the close-in cordon surrounding the batsmen, the ball will turn and bounce with shouts of ‘howzat’ renting the air. 

Welcome to the Indian conundrum.

The English team landed here from Sri Lanka on Wednesday to face one of the toughest challenges. The first of the two Tests in Chennai starts February 5. Skipper Joe Root & Co. joined their team-mates including influential all-rounder Ben Stokes who is already serving the mandatory quarantine period in the city.

 

Also coming in batches here were the Indian team members including skipper Virat Kohli. They are high on morale after their exploits in Australia.

England will not be short of confidence either after having triumphed 2-0 in a two-match Test series on pitches offering turn in Sri Lanka. And Root, rediscovering his mojo, was the driving force with innings of 228 in the first Test and 186 in the second.

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The first Test will be Root’s 100th - at 49.39 he has an average inching towards 50.00 which is the cut-off point for greatness.

In off-spinner Dom Bess and left-armer Jack Leach, not to forget off-spinning all-rounder Moeen Ali, England has a useful spin attack. These men though are not in the same league as Graeme Swann and Monty Panesar who, bowling quicker through the air, ambushed the home team in the 2012 Test series in India.

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That series defeat was also inflicted by some scientific and methodical batting from left-handed opener Alistair Cook and some inspirational strokeplay by the gifted Kevin Pietersen, whose 186 on a spiteful wicket in Mumbai has to be rated among the greatest innings against spin in our times.

England, like India, has a worthy pace attack; old warrior James Anderson’s swing, Stuart Broad’s seam, and Jofra Archer’s sheer pace and hostility.