A breakdown of England’s success story in India

England has now made a habit of defeating Sri Lanka in Sri Lanka, scored a precious Test series victory in Pakistan 2000-01, and has two Test series wins in India.

Team England

Ben Stokes of England celebrates the wicket of India captain Virat Kohli during day five of the first Test match at the M. A. Chidambaram Stadium in Chennai.   -  SPORTZPICS/BCCI

What makes England such a successful team in the sub-continent?

England has now made a habit of defeating Sri Lanka in Sri Lanka, scored a precious Test series victory in Pakistan 2000-01, and has two Test series wins in India, the ‘Final Frontier’ for many, in the last 36 years. Actually, England has outperformed more fancied teams in India.

Among the factors for England’s successes in the sub-continent are...

1. Comprehending the art of grinding: England can bat on and on if it bats first. Batting big if it wins the toss is the first strategy. And the batsmen, Joe Root being the prime example, and Alastair Cook, before him, are men who can wear down an attack with concentration, footwork, tactical nous and sheer hunger to stay at the wicket. Longer the innings, greater the wear and tear on the pitch. Root’s double-hundred here is a shining example.

READ: Not reluctant to change a winning team, says coach Silverwood

2. The X-Factor: England has never been short of men who can change a game’s course. Whether it was Kevin Pietersen’s iridescent strokeplay on a sharp turner in Mumbai, 2012, or Ben Stokes’ bludgeoning innings in the recent Test here, England has had men who can alter the direction of a Test in a hurry. And few teams employ the sweep and the slog-sweep better than the Englishmen. This stroke can disrupt the length of the spinners. And with the ball, you have Jofra Archer who is an X-factor with his pace, intent and hostility.

READ: Ben Foakes set to replace Buttler in second Test

3. Possesses pacemen who could adapt: Both in 2012 and 2021, England had pacemen who could find their length in these conditions. The Indians had problems with the familiar SG ball, not the Englishmen, brought up on the Duke ball. James Anderson’s mastery over reverse-swing in the first Test showed how well he could acclimatise to the dry, abrasive, sub-continental wickets. In 2012 too, Anderson was a force, along with Steve Finn. Going further back, when David Gower’s England shocked India in 1984-85, Neil Foster bent his back to bowl with heart, lift and seam movement at Chepauk. In 1977, John Lever’s prodigious left-arm swing did the trick.

4. Spinners are winners: The English spinners have been winners; whether it was Derek Underwood, so deadly on wet wickets, in 1977, Phil Edmonds and Pat Pocock who ambushed an overconfident India in 1984-85 and the potent duo of Greame Swann and Monty Panesar in 2012. Swann got his deliveries to dip and drift from the off-stump, Panesar bowled quicker through the air and spun the ball just enough to find the edges. Now, in Jack Leach and Dom Bess, England has a spin duo that can hurt the host.

For more updates, follow Sportstar on :