India face England with Lord’s Test final at stake | Daily News

India face England with Lord’s Test final at stake

CHENNAI - New dad Virat Kohli returns to captain a buoyant India against England as they aim to build on their crushing win over Australia by sealing a place in the World Test Championship final.

Kohli, who welcomed a baby daughter last month, missed most of the Australia series on paternity leave as Ajinkya Rahane led an injury-ravaged side from 0-1 down to a sensational 2-1 away win.

Next up is the much-anticipated four-game series against Joe Root’s England, who are also on a winning streak after beating Sri Lanka 2-0 on their first Test tour since the pandemic.

However, India starts as strong favourites on their spin-friendly home pitches, where England haven’t won a Test since 2012.

The hosts will also expect to clinch their place in the inaugural World Test Championship final in June at Lord’s, where New Zealand await.

Paceman Mohammed Shami and left-arm spinner Ravindra Jadeja will miss the first two Tests due to injuries but England are keenly aware of the strength and variety of India’s attack.

“The one thing about the Indian bowling attack is that it’s not just about spin,” England’s Assistant Coach Graham Thorpe said.

“Their seam attack is also strong. We can’t be sidetracked completely and focus just on the spin side of things.”

Jasprit Bumrah will lead the pace attack that also includes Siraj, Ishant Sharma and Shardul Thakur.

Spinners Ravichandran Ashwin, Kuldeep Yadav, Washington Sundar and Axar Patel will also be key on the Indian pitches.

England have come equipped with their spin options in Jack Leach, Dom Bess and Moeen Ali, who has recovered from the COVID infection that kept him out of the Sri Lanka series.

They also have three reserve spinners in, Mason Crane, Matthew Parkinson and Amar Virdi. Root, who hit match-winning scores of 228 and 186 in the first and second Sri Lanka Tests, will complete a century of Tests in the first game. AFP