India too strong for England: Tendulkar

Read more at www.perthnow.com.au

Sachin Tendulkar believes England’s pace attack has the potential to trouble India with reverse swing but the all-time great still expects Virat Kohli’s men to come out on top in the four-Test series.

The hosts are still on a high from their astonishing 2-1 series win in Australia when an injury-stricken side scripted one of the greatest comebacks in the sport after the humiliation of being bundled out for 36 in the opening test defeat in Adelaide.

“Given the squad that we have, a number of players have come back and they are fit,” Tendulkar said in a telephone interview on Thursday on the eve of the first Test in Chennai.

“One is obviously expecting India to beat England because we have a very strong and balanced team.

“But England also did well in Sri Lanka, so it will be a good series – but India should be able to come out victorious.”

India have lost only one of the last 35 matches they have hosted and boast a record 12 successive Test series wins at home, including a 4-0 series victory during England’s previous tour in 2016-17.

England, however, are the last team to have triumphed in India in 2012-13 and have arrived in the country after beating Sri Lanka 2-0 in their away series.

Some pundits have raised questions whether England’s spin duo of Jack Leach and Dom Bess would be able to trouble the hosts vaunted batting line-up but Tendulkar believes the fast bowlers could have a big role to play.

Labelling spin-bowling all-rounder Moeen Ali as the “dark horse”, Tendulkar feels the ability to make the old ball swing in a reverse direction in the air could be crucial.

“I disagree a little bit about Indian pitches not being conducive to fast bowlers,” said Tendulkar.

“Because on Indian pitches, even when the ball gets old, reverse swing plays a big role. From my experience I would say critical overs are from 15th to 60th, that’s when reverse swing plays a big role.”

Tendulkar believes England’s pace attack, made up of the likes of James Anderson, Stuart Broad, Jofra Archer and Ben Stokes, are capable of putting reverse swing to good use.

“If you look at someone like Anderson, he’s had success here. Broad has bowled well,” Tendulkar added.

“Archer is someone who’s going to come and bowl short spells at a good pace and then the ball starts reversing … that is something that Archer can be handy at. Ben Stokes is another one.”

The Test in Chennai will be the first in India since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic early last year.

Tendulkar compared the occasion to 2008 when England returned to India to play the first of a two-Test series in the same city after cutting short the ODI leg of the tour following a militant attack in Mumbai that killed more than 160 people.

The batting great scored an unbeaten hundred in the fourth innings to help the hosts chase down a massive 387 runs for a six-wicket win.

“I hope it is the same result like last time and the series begins on the right note,” Tendulkar said.

Read more at www.perthnow.com.au

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