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India v England: All you need to know

 In Ashes, Cricket

On the back of a 2-0 series victory in Sri Lanka, England have landed in India in a positive mood ahead of the first Test Match that starts on Friday.

The hosts will be hugely confident too after their victory in Australia.

With the news that Zac Crawley will miss the first two matches with a sprained wrist, England welcome back Ben Stokes, who could now possibly bat at number 3, Rory Burns , Jofra Archer and Ollie Pope, who is returning from a shoulder injury and could also play.

They will be without the rested Jonny Bairstow and Mark Wood.

Jos Buttler is due to return home after the first match of the series leaving England with Ben Foakes as the only genuine wicket-keeper in the main squad for the second Test.

India welcome back captain Virat Kholi after missing the last three games in Australia to be at the birth of his child.

THE SQUADS

India squad for first two Tests: Virat Kohli (capt), Ajinkya Rahane, Rohit Sharma, Cheteshwar Pujara, Shubman Gill, Mayank Agarwal, Rishabh Pant (wk), Wriddhiman Saha (wk), Hardik Pandya, KL Rahul, Ravichandran Ashwin, Washington Sundar, Kuldeep Yadav, Washington Sundar, Axar Patel, Jasprit Bumrah, Ishant Sharma, Mohammed Siraj, Shardul Thakur.

England squad for first two Tests: Joe Root (capt), Jofra Archer, Moeen Ali, James Anderson, Dom Bess, Stuart Broad, Rory Burns, Jos Buttler, Zak Crawley, Ben Foakes, Dan Lawrence, Jack Leach, Ollie Pope, Dom Sibley, Ben Stokes, Olly Stone, Chris Woakes.

Reserves: James Bracey , Mason Crane (Hampshire), Saqib Mahmood (Lancashire), Matthew Parkinson (Lancashire), Ollie Robinson (Sussex), Amar Virdi (Surrey).

FIXTURES

February

5-9 1st Test, Chennai (04:00 GMT)

13-17 2nd Test, Chennai (04:00 GMT)

24-28 3rd Test, Ahmedabad (d/n) (08:30 GMT)

March

4-8 4th Test, Ahmedabad (04:00 GMT)

12 1st T20 international, Ahmedabad (d/n) (12:30 GMT)

14 2nd T20 international, Ahmedabad (d/n) (12:30 GMT)

16 3rd T20 international, Ahmedabad (d/n) (12:30 GMT)

18 4th T20 international, Ahmedabad (d/n) (12:30 GMT)

20 5th T20 international, Ahmedabad (d/n) (12:30 GMT)

23 1st ODI, Pune (d/n) (09:00 GMT)

26 2nd ODI, Pune (d/n) (09:00 GMT)

28 3rd ODI, Pune (05:00 BST)

TV COVERAGE

For the first time since the famous 2005 Ashes series, Channel 4 will be showing live Test cricket on terrestrial television, as well as all the T20 games and ODIs.

VENATOUR’S VIEW

England go into this series and massive underdogs, especially with the squad rotation that is taking place at the moment and with the latest injury to Zac Crawley.

Crawley would have been expected to bat at number 3 with the returning Rory Burns and under-pressure Dom Sibley opening. This spot will now obviously need to be filled. Do you go for Ben Stokes and play Ollie Pope or Dan Lawrence at 5, or do you put Pope or Lawrence there ready for when Bairstow returns for the third Test.

England will need to keep and eye on the third Test as we feel number 6 is too high for Ben Foakes to bat. Would Bairstow also take the gloves to free up space for an extra spinner?

Bizarrely, Moeen Ali is also due to return home after the first Test after not featuring at all in Sri Lanka following a positive COVID test. It would be great to see him play the first Test match here but there hardly seems to be a point to that if you are just going to have to replace him in the second game, however we feel he does offer more with the bat than Dom Bess.

Jofra Archer will fill the boots of Mark Wood and add pace to the attack, with James Anderson and Stuart Broad rotating once again.

MATCH ODDS

Betting odds for the first Test courtesy of Paddy Power.

India 4/9
Draw 9/2
England 7/2

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BRIDGETOWN, BARBADOS - JANUARY 23: Fans watch the cricket from the beach area during Day One of the First Test match between England and West Indies at Kensington Oval on January 23, 2019 in Bridgetown, Barbados. (Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)