England will look to build on a stunning start to their series in India when they take on the hosts for the second Test in Chennai.
Joe Root's men were outstanding during the first Test. The skipper himself let from the front with a superb 218 in what was another masterclass in how to play spin in the subconitnent. He was also supported by the impressive Dom Sibley, who made 87 at the top of the order and Ben Stokes, who compiled a quick 82 in a total 578.
In what was a good toss to win, England's big first innings set up the game and put plenty of pressure on India, who could only muster 337 in response, despite a thrilling 91 from Rishabh Pant, Washinton Sundar's unbeaten 85, and a typically composed 73 from Cheteshwar Pujara. From then on, it was England's game to win.
The visitors struggled more in their second innings on a wearing pitch, but managed to stretch the lead to 419 and gave themselves plenty of time to force a famous victory. Virat Kohli and Shubman Gill both hit half-centuries to give India hope of saving the Test on the final day, but the innings was swung by a sensational over from the great James Anderson, who knocked over Gill and Ajinkya Rahane within three balls.
England then pushed on from there, with Jack Leach picking up 4-76 to complete a near-perfect performance from the away side, who have now won their last six Tests abroad and have not lost since the first Test of the 2020 summer against the West Indies. There are real signs that England are making huge strides in Test cricket after years of inconsistency.
Can they maintain this run? Will India come soaring back as they did in Australia? It is all set-up for a fascinating final series.
Rob Rush (@robrush99)
England and, in particular, Joe Root were sublime during the first Test, making the best of pitch conditions in the first innings and managing to grab the 20 prized Indian wickets to claim a momentous away victory. While some batsmen didn't manage to cash in on a very good wicket, the work of Root, Ben Stokes and Dom Sibley proved more than enough as a comprehensive 227-run victory was achieved.
Jimmy Anderson produced one of the greatest overs of swing bowling to turn the game in England’s favour, removing Shubman Gill and vice-captain Ajinkya Rahane in very quick succession, while Jos Buttler once again produced a very assured and confident display behind the stumps. Jack Leach recovered superbly from his first innings drubbing to help spin England towards victory, well-aided by former county teammate Dom Bess, both doing more than enough to keep Moeen Ali out of the side.
Ahead of the second Test, there are a few changes expected to be made to the XI. There is the one enforced change as wicket-keeper as Buttler has flown home, opening up an opportunity for Ben Foakes at last stake his long-awaited claim to be the holder of the gloves.
Olly Stone has been chomping at the bit for a game over the past two tours, and with opportunities wearing thin for the final two Tests, now is the perfect time to give him a run ahead of the home summer with a view to the Ashes at the end of the year. Elsewhere, I expect the top 6 to remain the same, with Broad in for Anderson as the only other change, as England look ahead to the day/night Test with the pink ball in the third Test.
Watch Out For:
Despite not being at his best in the first Test, Bumrah remained a threat to England's batsmen with his sharp pace and skiddy lengths. He picked up the wicket of Dan Lawrence to reduce the visitors to 67-2 in their first-innings, while also snaring Dom Sibley at the end of day one. Ravichandran Ashwin remains the key bowler for India, but Bumrah is a man who can bring a flat pitch to life, and the home side will look to him to make some early inroads to restrict England from making another big score.
England captain Joe Root rightly took the plaudits for his magnificent 218 in the first Test and Ben Stokes provided the entertainment with his enterprising 82, but the platform was laid by the patience, skill and determination of the impressive Sibley at the top of the order. The opener batted for well over six hours in making his 87 from 286 balls, wearing down the home attack and protecting England's strong middle order in the process. Sibley has made a habit of doing this throughout his Test career so far, and if he can do so again, he will give his side a great chance of making another commanding total.
India Team News:
The home side are expected to stick with the same top six, despite an under-par performance in the first Test. Washington Sundar is likely to keep his place after an impressive 85 not out in the first innings. Shahbaz Nadeem failed to impress on his return to the side and could make way for Kuldeep Yadav or Axar Patel, should the latter prove his fitness.
R. Sharma, S. Gill, C. Pujara, V. Kohli ©, A. Rahane, R. Pant (wk), R. Ashwin, W. Sundar, I. Sharma, S. Nadeem/K. Yadav/A. Patel, J. Bumrah.
England Team News:
The top six stays the same, with Dan Lawrence getting another go at No. 3. Ben Foakes is in for the departing Jos Buttler and will slot straight in at No. 7. The tricky decisions come with the bowling attack. Bess and Leach have shown very promising signs that they can be England’s regular spin pair going forward and will continue here. Archer has been ruled out, so Stuart Broad is likely to return to the side, with James Anderson keeping his place.
R. Burns, D. Sibley, D. Lawrence, J. Root ©, B. Stokes, O. Pope, B. Foakes (wk), D. Bess, S. Broad, J. Leach, J. Anderson.