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James Anderson, Sam Billings to play against India in the fifth Test

The fifth Test match between England and India's cricket teams will be held on Friday in Birmingham. The England Cricket Team has announced the list of the men’s Test squad for the rescheduled match. Both James Anderson and Sam Billings are present.

Bowler Anderson rested during the third Test. Meanwhile, wicket-keeper Billings replaced Ben Foakes who caught COVID-19 in that Test against New Zealand. On Monday, India added Mayank Agarwal to the squad. Agarwal comes in the upcoming Test to replace Rohit Sharma, who is resting due to COVID-19.

Last year, India led the series 2-1 before the finale was cancelled due to the COVID-19 outbreak in the visitor's camp. The team expects the same results for this year too. However, people predict that the dynamic between England and India’s teams will change further for the upcoming meeting.

Both teams experienced changes in leadership with Rohit Sharma as India’s new captain and Rohit Sharma as captain for England. Rahul Dravid and Brendon McCullum also took over the positions as head coaches for India and England’s teams respectively.

India team’s journey this year

In the first Test against Sri Lanka, the Indian team brought home a win by 222 runs and an innings. India had another face-off with Sri Lanka in the second test and won again. It is interesting to see if India will continue its winning streak in tests.

After arriving in England, the Indian squad members played a 4-day match against the Leicestershire team as a warm-up. It allowed them to get acclimated to the English conditions before the fifth test.

In this warm-up match, Indian batters got the opportunity to bat in the innings. Batters who will be playing for the next game include Agarwal, Virat Kohli (former India team’s captain), Shreyas Iyer, and Ravindra Jadeja. Some of them managed to strike half-centuries too.

England's journey

After the change of captain and head coach, England starts to take a more aggressive approach in its game. The team won 3-0 in a series against New Zealand, with 7 extra wickets in the finale. Due to COVID-19 that plagued some of its squad members throughout the season, England made some adjustments. However, it still managed to snatch some wins.

There is an anticipation that Anderson, who nearly records 650 wickets in Tests, will be able to pass that mark in the next Test. He failed to do so after being rested in Leeds. Anderson is able to reunite with his long-time partner, Stuart Broad, who has recorded more than 550 wickets in Tests.

Meanwhile, Billings must have shown his value as a team member to be included in the men’s Test squad again. Other players in the squad include Foakes (who has recovered from COVID-19), Harry Brook, Matthew Potts, and Craig Overton. It is exciting to see whether this arrangement will bring success to England.

In current ranking, India takes the 2nd spot for Tests, while England takes the 5th spot. Nonetheless, the results in Tests can be surprising, seeing that the game happens in a long time-span.

Not being able to play with their Test’s captain might also tamper with India team’s morale. However, we can only see how both teams will make do with opportunities and challenges presented.

Gian Chacko

Sports enthusiast with love for cricket, football and sports in general. Holds 10+ years of following and writing about sports and lately also betting.