India eager to cement No. 1 status with series win in England
LONDON: India may be the world´s top-ranked Test side but they still face accusations they are lions at home and lambs abroad.
But a series win in England, where Virat Kohli´s men begin a five-Test campaign at Edgbaston on Wednesday, would go some way to ridding India of that unwanted tag.
In the past five years, India have won just one of their six Test series outside of Asia, against a struggling West Indies.
Their overall Test record in England is uninspiring — six wins from 57 matches and three series victories — 1971, 1986 and 2007.
But if the current prolonged hot weather in England continues, the upcoming series may well be played on dry and dusty pitches, more akin to the surfaces that are found in India, rather than traditional green English seamers.
Also, while doubts persist about England´s ability to cope should either one of veteran new-ball duo Stuart Broad and James Anderson get injured, India do at least have some pace-bowling depth.
Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Jasprit Bumrah may be unfit for the first Test but the likes of Mohammed Shami, Ishant Sharma and Umesh Yadav have shown themselves to be capable operators outside of Asia.
Anderson is a master of conventional swing, but India may have the edge if conditions favour reverse-swing during what will be England´s 1,000th Test match.