• cricthoughts

#insideedgepicks - England team for 1st test vs India

With England's second assignment of the winter beginning this Friday, the Inside Edge team make their picks for their preferred XI. Joe Root's side wrapped up a fairly comfortable 2-0 series win over Sri Lanka with a six wicket win in the second match at Galle and are now preparing in Chennai. They have been joined by Ben Stokes, Jofra Archer and Rory Burns, all of whom were absent from the Sri Lanka tour for varying reasons. Jonny Bairstow, Sam Curran and Mark Wood all drop out of the squad from Sri Lanka and have returned home to rest before returning for the final two games. What do our writers think our best side is to take on a formidable Indian team at home?


Note: Ollie Pope omitted from our teams due to his availability being unknown at time of writing.


Rob Rush (@RobRush02)

Burns

Sibley

Crawley

Root (c)

Stokes

Lawrence

Buttler (wk)

Bess

Archer

Leach

Broad


If it ain't broke, don’t fix it. That's my mantra with England’s batting lineup, and while Crawley and Sibley struggled in Sri Lanka, it would make no sense to drop them for this series when it’s their first experiences of tackling these massive spin friendly conditions. Rory Burns takes his spot back at the top of the order as Crawley slides back to 3 in place of Jonny Bairstow; less said about him, the better. Ben Stokes is the glue that holds this team together and is the first name on the team sheet for every Test he’s available, England will be absolutely thrilled to have him back for selection. With Ollie Pope touch and go for the first Test, I err on the side of caution and shift Dan Lawrence down a spot to 6 to cover for him. Jos Buttler moves back to his more recognised position in this team at 7 off the back of a very solid keeping display, which should've put the keeping debate to bed for a while. For the bowling unit, Jofra Archer returns to douse the Indian batters with 93mph rockets and he is in tandem with the ever-reliable Stuart Broad. To round off the team, we have the spin duo of Jack Leach and Dom Bess, who will be looking to carry on their good form from Sri Lanka into this crucial series.


Cricket Thoughts (@cricthoughts)

Burns

Sibley

Crawley

Root (c)

Stokes

Lawrence

Buttler (wk)

Bess

Broad

Archer

Leach


England looked good in Sri Lanka but no better than that. They were heavily flattered by Root who scored almost 300 more runs than the second-highest scorer (Bairstow). I feel England's batting will be exploited by a superior bowling attack than Sri Lanka possess, therefore England should probably play the extra batsman. Lawrence looked capable and is a good player of spin so would like to see him be given a run in the side. The ideal scenario would be that Pope is fit to pick up where he left off, however risking him now may lead to an even longer time on the sidelines. Three pacers and two spinners should be enough with Root picking up a few overs here and there. Worrying signs for England were that their spinners did not appear to be particularly threatening so will have to hope the reports of pacer-friendly pitches are correct. I fear the worst however.


AllThingsCricket (@things_cricket)

Burns

Sibley

Crawley

Root (c)

Stokes

Buttler (wk)

Woakes

Bess

Archer

Broad

Leach


The batting line up is about as strong as England can field. Buttler at number 6 averages over 50 at number 6, whilst averages 30 at number 7. Chris Woakes averages over 70 at number 7, whilst only 20 at number 8. There are major questions over the top 3s ability against spin and will be sorely tested. 4 Pacers and 2 spinners make for as strong a bowling attack as available. I fear for the spinners, Bess has been inconsistent for his year as our number 1 spinner, whilst Leach looked desperately short of overs in Sri Lanka. This will be a big test for England and I suspect we'll be pummelled.


Sean Wilson (@WilsonFC2012)

Burns

Sibley

Crawley

Root (c)

Stokes

Pope/Lawrence

Buttler (wk)

Leach

Archer

Broad

Anderson


The returning Burns partners Sibley at the top, with Crawley going back down to No. 3. Stokes and Pope (if fit) also come back in to boost the batting at the expense of Dan Lawrence and Sam Curran. If Pope is ruled out, I would stick with Lawrence for now. I would like to see England go with the extra seamer to start. India are phenomenal players of spin and I worry that they will dominate our spinners in this series.


I think England’s best chance is to target India where they are weaker – which is against seam bowling. So, given how well they went in Sri Lanka, I have gone for Anderson and Broad for this match, with Archer adding some pace as the third seamer. For the sole spinner, I have gone for Leach over Bess due to the number of right-handers in India’s XI and that I want the ball spinning away from the bat.


Duke and Kookaburra (@d_ktalkballs)

Burns

Sibley

Crawley

Root (c)

Stokes

Buttler (wk)

Woakes

Bess

Archer

Broad

Leach


All the returning players slot straight back into my starting XI, with a couple of additional changes from Galle. Crawley had a quiet time of it in SL, and I back him to improve so he retains his place, but competition is back with Burns' recall. YJB, Curran, Lawrence and Anderson are rotated out for Stokes, Woakes, Archer and Broad. Lawrence will get more game time, but Stokes must play. Archer is a like for like with Wood, I don't want to rush Pope's rehab and return so Woakes gets the nod with Broad and Anderson rotating.


David (@DWyattHupton, @InsideEdgeCrick)


Burns

Sibley

Crawley

Root (c)

Stokes

Buttler (wk)

Woakes

Bess

Archer

Leach

Broad


Sticking with the rotation of Broad and Anderson, I bring Broad in here. I wanted to get Lawrence in at #6 and move Buttler to #7, but thought I needed three out and out seamers and two spinners in here. Rumour is the pitch may have a green top to start and then turn on days 4-5, so although I was tempted to just go with one spinner and then Root, I'm going to stick with two.


Lawrence is unfortunate to miss out as I thought he showed real glimpses of his talent, but just couldn't find a way to fit him in. Woakes extends the batting which is a real positive with his inclusion. I could see England playing Broad and Archer and leaving Woakes out for another out and out batsmen like Lawrence, but I'm going with this lineup for the first test.


Samuel Bruning (@SamuelBruning)

Burns

Sibley

Crawley

Root (c)

Stokes

Lawrence

Buttler (wk)

Bess

Leach

Archer

Broad


Well, that's my XI. A top three who are inexperienced and weak against spin, two spinners who are rather average, and I've got no confidence of success! I was tempted to play Anderson ahead of Bess, given Chennai is rather flat, but felt just the one spinner was too risky. I was also very tempted to play Ali, as he still has something to offer, but couldn't bring myself to do it. Anyway, it makes no difference, as 4-0 is inevitable.


There you have it, our writers have picked their sides, do you agree with them? Who makes your side? Let us know in the comments or over on Twitter @InsideEdgeCrick or our individual accounts too.



1 comment

Recent Posts

See All

You've made a great choice!