India v England playing XI and toss updates for 1st Test – February 5 to 9

India

Senior pros Virat Kohli and Ishant Sharma return, and Shahbaz Nadeem is handed his second cap in the first Test against England on Friday, at the MA Chidambaram Stadium in Chennai. The opening fixture of the four-match Test series marks the return of international cricket to the country after more than a year.

England captain Joe Root called it right at the toss and chose to bat first on a Chepauk track, which seems to stay batting-friendly for the first three days before aiding spin on the last two. Quite rightly, the hosts have included three spinners – Ravichandran Ashwin, Shahbaz Nadeem, and Washington Sundar and two pacers – Jasprit Bumrah and Ishant Sharma – in their ranks.

While left-arm orthodox Nadeem is back in whites for the first time since the Ranchi Test against South Africa in 2019, Sundar has retained his place after putting in a match-winning performance at the Gabba. The 21-year-old Chennai lad has been picked to fill the injured Ravindra Jadeja’s shoes.

There is only change from the batting line-up fielded in Brisbane, with Virat Kohli replacing Mayank Agarwal. Rishabh Pant has been picked ahead of Wriddhiman Saha to don the wicket-keeping gloves, for the first time in a home Test since October 2018.

England have made as many as four changes from the second Test against Sri Lanka last month. Apart from the much-needed returns of all-rounder Ben Stokes, express pacer Jofra Archer, and opener Rory Burns, the Joe Root-led side have brought in Ollie Pope in place of the injured Zak Crawley.

India need to win the series by a margin of two Tests to seal a date with New Zealand in the World Test Championship final in June. England, on the other hand, have to win at least three of the four Tests to book the slot.

India Test squad for first Test: Virat Kohli (c), Ajinkya Rahane, Rohit Sharma, Cheteshwar Pujara, Shubman Gill, Mayank Agarwal, Hardik Pandya, Washington Sundar, Ravichandran Ashwin, Shahbaz Nadeem, Rishabh Pant, Wriddhiman Saha, KL Rahul, Kuldeep Yadav, Jasprit Bumrah, Ishant Sharma, Mohammed Siraj, Shardul Thakur

England Test squad for first and second Test: Joe Root (c), Zak Crawley, Daniel Lawrence, Dominic Sibley, Moeen Ali, Ben Stokes, Chris Woakes, Rory Burns, Jos Buttler, Ben Foakes, Ollie Pope, Jofra Archer, James Anderson, Dominic Bess, Stuart Broad, Jack Leach, Olly Stone

Hosts India have won the toss in the first Test and opted to bat first.

India’s playing XI: Rohit Sharma, Shubman Gill, Cheteshwar Pujara, Virat Kohli (c), Ajinkya Rahane, Rishabh Pant (wk), Washington Sundar, Ravichandran Ashwin, Shahbaz Nadeem, Ishant Sharma, Jasprit Bumrah

England’s playing XI: Dominic Sibley, Rory Burns, Daniel Lawrence, Joe Root, Ben Stokes, Ollie Pope, Jos Buttler, Dominic Bess, Jofra Archer, Jack Leach, James Anderson

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