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India tour of England: Visitors’ opening woes a concern ahead of first Test

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The Indian cricket team will take on hosts England in the first of the five-match Test series at Trent Bridge in Nottingham starting August 4.

Led by captain Virat Kohli, the visitors will look to register their first Test series win in England since 2007. However, India have a dismal record in English conditions in the last three Test series, losing 0-4 in 2011, 1-3 in 2014 and 1-4 in 2018.

The outcome of the five-match Test series in the second edition of the World Test Championship will depend on the ability of Indian batsmen to cope with the swinging ball and their bowlers’ capability to exploit the alien conditions.

Team India are grappling with a series of injuries as openers Shubman Gill, Washington Sundar and Avesh Khan have been ruled of the England Test series. Furthermore, backup opening batsman Mayank Agarwal will miss the first Test after he was hit in the head by a Mohammed Siraj bouncer in the nets two days before the opening Test.

With Shubman and Mayank out, India will partner Rohit Sharma with either KL Rahul or Abhimanyu Easwaran.

Ahead of the first Test against England, the Indian Team management will be worried about the opening woes of Team India. The second-ranked Test team has failed to have a set opening pair in the longest format since Shikhar Dhawan and Murali VijayInterestingly, the last time an Indian opener scored a century in an away Test was KL Rahul at The Oval in 2018.

The Indian openers have the second-lowest average of 22.96 in away Tests since 2018.

Lowest average by openers in away Test since 2018

Team  Match Runs Average  100s
West Indies 12 925 20.10 0
India 21 1860 22.96 1
Australia 11 1110 25.22 1
England 21 2008 26.07 3
South Africa 9 871 26.39 2
Afghanistan 6 623 27.08 0
Zimbabwe 5 510 28.33 0
Pakistan 20 2015 29.20 3
Sri Lanka 19 2057 29.38 4
Bangladesh 10 1167 30.71 2
New Zealand 11 1302 31.75 3

Furthermore, India have used nine different pairs since 2018 – more than any team in the same time period.

Most openers used in away Test since 2018

Team Matches Openers
India 21 9
Australia  11 8
England  21 8
Pakistan 20 7
Sri Lanka 19 7
Afghanistan 6 5
Bangladesh 10 5
New Zealand  11 4
Zimbabwe 5 4
South Africa 9 3
West Indies 12 3


Indian openers in away Test since 2018

Let's also look at the numbers of all Indian openers since 2018 in away Tests

Player Matches Runs Average  100s
KL Rahul  11 454 22.70 1
Mayank Agarwal 8 408 27.20 0
Shubman Gill 4 295 47.14 0
Shikhar Dhawan 5 194 19.40 0
Rohit Sharma 3 193 32.16 0
Murali Vijay 7 177 12.64 0
Prithvi Shaw 3 102 17 0
Hanuma Vihari  1 21 10.50 0
Parthiv Patel 1 16 16 0

India will hope KL Rahul can put an end to their opening woes and continue his impressive form in England.

Featured photo: Adrian DENNIS / AFP



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