Ian Chappell has pointed out that this would be the best opportunity for a settled Indian squad to beat a low-on-confidence England and self-destructed Australia in away series. He opined that India have better batting lineup than England and India’s bowling can easily negate the English batsmen.
There always has been pressure on India to do well abroad and traditionally, India have rarely risen to the expectations. The Indian team has only won three Test series in England, last of which came in 2007, and has never won a Test series in Australia.
However, Ian Chappell believes that this would be the best opportunity for India to win away in England and Australia. Having lost the series in Australia and New Zealand and barely managing to draw the series against Pakistan, England has had a disappointing season in Test cricket. On the other hand, Australia has triggered the self-destruction button with the sandpapergate scandal.
“There's a rare opportunity beckoning for India - the chance to beat both England and Australia in away Test series,” wrote Ian Chappell in his column for ESPN Cricinfo.
“England are in a state of flux after a devastating loss at Lord's and then a less-than-convincing win over the predictably inconsistent Pakistan at Headingley. Australia's problems are self-induced, with the ball-tampering scandal in South Africa ensuring their two best batsmen will be missing from the series against India.”
England’s recent disappointment in Test cricket mainly can be credited to the failed batting lineup. Their openers have failed to give them a good start, which has added extra pressure on the middle order. Alastair Cook, who has proven himself as England’s most dependable batsmen in Tests, has also failed to make a mark in the past year after giving up the captaincy to Joe Root.
“England's top-order collapses are now a regular occurrence, which is not surprising when both opening positions are under a cloud. If it weren't for the fact that Alastair Cook's numerous partners have been under intense scrutiny, Cook himself would be in jeopardy,” Chappell wrote.
“Two classic Cook double-centuries can't mask the fact that in his last 29 Test innings - a period of 12 months - he has had 19 scores under 20, including ten single-figure dismissals. If an opener isn't making centuries regularly then he has to ensure the opposition doesn't get at the middle order while the ball is still new. Too often Cook is doing neither.”
Traditionally, the Indian bowlers used to matchup with their England counterparts in bowling friendly conditions. However, this time around it won’t be the same with India possessing a potent bowling attack. Declaring Keaton Jennings a Test failure Chappel wrote, “Adding to England's frailties, Cook's current partner, Keaton Jennings, is an already failed Test opener who has a porous defence. Previously, a visit from India would be a wonderful opportunity for struggling English openers to recapture their form, but the tourists now have a well-balanced attack that includes genuine pace and cagey seamers in addition to the traditionally strong spin bowling. England's dicey batting order will face yet another stiff test.”
Chappell pointed out that England has an uncertain batting lineup and to add to their woes, the newly selected off-spinner Dom Bess, has yet to impress with his performances.
“Smith's other notable choice in his selection debut was off-spinner Dom Bess, an energetic and effervescent cricketer. His batting and desire to be involved in the contest are laudable but the early signs are that his offspin won't threaten an Indian team bred on facing this type of bowler regularly,” he wrote.
Chappell insisted that James Anderson would pose few questions for the Indian batsmen, but stated that India has the upper hand in the contest.
“In recent times, England have relied on swing bowling and a vibrant middle order to produce success at home. There is no doubt that the swing bowling of Jimmy Anderson will present the Indian line-up with a serious challenge, and if there's movement off the seam, Stuart Broad will also be a handful. Nevertheless India have the stronger batting line-up of the two teams and their variety in attack could help negate England's middle-order strength if the openers continue to fail,” he added.
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