India host England in the first Test match at the Suarashtra Cricket Association Stadium in Rajkot on 9 November (Wednesday). This is the first test in the five-match series.

Where to watch live

Match starts at 4am GMT. Live TV coverage is available on Sky Sports 2 and Sky Sports 2 HD. Click here for the live streaming link.

Overview

The much anticipated series between India and England starts on Wednesday with the hosts coming into the clash on the back of a series whitewash of New Zealand, becoming the number one ranked Test team in the process.

India will be full of confidence, with skipper Virat Kohli sure about a positive result considering the form of his team with a number of players making important contributions during the home summer.

In Ajinkya Rahane, Cheteshwar Pujara, Wriddiman Saha, Umesh Yadav, Mohammad Shami and Kohli himself, the hosts have players who were successful during the recent series againt the Kiwis and will look to continue their good form.

However, if there is one player who England should be wary off, then it is off-spinner R Ashwin, who has been devastating this year especially at home, taking 27 wickets in the recently concluded series. The all-rounder has been in good form with the bat too, scoring important runs thus giving the team the balance and option to play five bowlers.

India will be without openers KL Rahul, Shikhar Dhawan and Rohit Sharma who are injured with Hardik Pandya, Gautam Gambhir and Karun Nair being drafted in their place. The hosts will also welcome back pacer Ishant Sharman who missed the series against New Zealand due to chikungunya.

R Ashwin
R Ashwin is currently ranked as the top Test bowler in the world Getty

On the other hand, England come into this clash on the back of a disappointing 1-1 series draw against Bangladesh last month. The Three Lions were embarrassed in the second Test at Mirpur, losing 10 wickets in a session in what was their first loss to Bangladesh in their history.

England's top order did not have the best of times against the Bangladeshi spinners, which is a concern as Mehedi Hasan ran rings round them. As good as Hasan is, he is nowhere near the level of R Ashwin who the visitors will encounter in India.

Alastair Cook and Joe Root are the key players and they will need to lead from the front if England are to put on good scores. The bowlers especially the spinners struggled in conditions tailor made for turn and the focus will be on Moeen Ali, Adil Rashid, Zafar Ansari and Gareth Batty to come good.

The Three Lions have a number of questions over their lineup, with the identity of the Cook's opening partner of the biggest pressing concerns. Ben Duckett was tried in Bangladesh and the team management might just give him another chance in the first Test. Another area of concern is the lack of form shown by Gary Ballance, who looked out of sorts in Bangladesh.

The team will need their senior players in Stuart Broad (who will be playing his 100th Test), Root, Ben Stokes and Cook to step up if they are to repeat their heroics of 2012.

Prediction

India to win

Betting Odds (betfair)

  • India to win: 1/2
  • Draw: 16/5
  • England to win: 9/2

Team News

India

Squad: Virat Kohli (c), Ajinkya Rahane, Ravichandran Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja, Amit Mishra, Mohammad Shami, Cheteshwar Pujara, Wriddhiman Saha (wk), Murali Vijay, Umesh Yadav, Ishant Sharma, Hardik Pandya, Karun Nair, Jayant Yadav.

England

Squad: Alastair Cook (c), Moeen Ali, Zafar Ansari, Johnny Bairstow (wk), Jake Ball, Gary Ballance, Gareth Batty, Stuart Broad, Jos Buttler (wk), Ben Duckett, Steven Finn, Haseeb Hameed, Adil Rashid, Joe Root, Ben Stokes, Chris Woakes, James Anderson.