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England have the game to test India

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23-Nov-2016

Visakhapatnam: From day one of the next Test, England must believe they can beat India. I do not think India are as good as they think they are, and I do not believe England are as bad as India think they are. The gap between the teams is smaller than this result suggests.


India are riding on the crest of a wave, having beaten New Zealand and South Africa 3-0 at home and West Indies 2-0 in the Caribbean. Over the past 12 months, they have played 13 Tests with nine wins and no losses. It is bound to make a team feel confident — overconfident, even.


India saw England’s batting collapse against Bangladesh in Dhaka when it turned, and assumed they cannot play the spinning ball and their spinners would clean them up. But that Dhaka Test pitch was a minefield — very difficult.


In the first Test at Rajkot, nearly losing shocked the India players and gave them a kick up the backside. They got out of jail only through Virat Kohli batting superbly on a wearing pitch. Kohli is a class player on any surface. He picks the length quickly and that gives him time to get into superb positions with his feet. Judging length and the time to play your shots has always been the hallmark of great batsmen. Getting him out early will be the key in every Test because some of India’s other batsmen are not too clever when under pressure or when England’s seamers get at them with a new ball.


 

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