India haven’t tasted success in a Test series in England since 2007, when Rahul Dravid & Co. triumphed 1-0 against the hosts. On their last two tours to England in 2011 and 2014, they lost 0-4 and 1-3.
Former England skipper Allan Lamb, however, is backing India to buck that trend. “India will start as the favourites going into the series. I expect the conditions to be in their favour as the series unfolds. It has not rained here much in the last few weeks. This will result in wickets being on the drier side and that should bring the Indian spinners into play,” Lamb told TOI on Monday.
With India naming three frontline spinners – R Ashwin, Kuldeep Yadav and Ravindra Jadeja – in the 18-member squad, Lamb wants to have two of them as part of the playing XI. “I am impressed with Kuldeep. Yes, Joe Root and a few others did read him in the one-dayers, but I would want to still see him in action in the Tests. He and Ashwin will be a good combination to go with,” said Lamb, who played 79 Tests and 122 ODIs for England.
While facing the Indian spinners, Lamb advised the England batsman to bide their time. “You can’t just walk in thinking of only employing a particular shot such as the sweep. The trick is to use your feet as much as possible,” he said.
Lamb believes India will benefit from players who have got county experience. Cheteshwar Pujara, Ishant Sharma and Ashwin have that experience. “It’s a big plus. As a bowler you would know the lengths to bowl to, and as a batsman you learn to make those minute adjustments on English pitches.”
The absence of Bhuvneshwar Kumar for the first three Tests notwithstanding, Lamb still rates the Indian pace attack highly. “Ishant is coming after having had a good county stint. On the other hand, Jasprit Bumrah, Umesh Yadav and Mohd Shami are capable of bowling with pace and conditions will help them get some swing as well. It will be interesting to see how the English quicks – James Anderson and Stuart Broad – shape up considering they are returning from injuries,” he said.
His scoreline for the series? “I would go with a 3-1 scoreline in favour of India.”
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