England face India in a five-match Test series for the first time since 1959 throughout July and August with Trent Bridge hosting the opener.
England will be looking to improve vastly on what has been an inauspicious year of Test cricket after series losses to Australia—a 5-0 Ashes thumping in the winter—and 1-0 to Sri Lanka in June.
India's last visit to England for a Test series saw them downed 4-0. However, much has changed since then, and Peter Moores' young side must up their game if they want to claim a vital series win.
Read on for a full schedule of the summer series as well as venue, television and live streaming information.
|Match||Dates||Venue||TV Info||Live Stream|
|First Test||Wed 9 - Sun 13 July||Trent Bridge||Live on Sky Sports 2||Sky Go app|
|Second Test||Thu 17 - Mon 21 July||Lords||Live on Sky Sports 2||Sky Go app|
|Third Test||Sun 27 - Thu 31 July||Rose Bowl||Live on Sky Sports 2||Sky Go app|
|Fourth Test||Thu 7 - Mon 11 Aug||Old Trafford||Live on Sky Sports 2||Sky Go app|
|Fifth Test||Fri 15 - Tues 19 Aug||The Oval||Live on Sky Sports 2||Sky Go app|
Cook Under Pressure
England skipper Alastair Cook is under a great deal of pressure going into the India series, having been heavily criticised recently both for his captaincy and his poor batting form.
His skills as a captain have been consistently questioned, and the criticism has ramped up since the thrashing by Australia and further after the series loss to Sri Lanka, with spin-bowling legend Shane Warne's appraisal particularly damning, per the Telegraph:
However, more worrying for Cook and England has been the Essex man's form with the bat of late, which has sparked calls from some corners for him to be dropped from the side.
At just 29 years old, Cook is already England's fifth-highest Test runs scorer of all time with 8,125 in his career thus far, per ESPNcricinfo, and he should move up at least two places by the end of the series, per Opta:
57 - Alastair Cook needs 57 runs to pass Kevin Pietersen as England’s 4th highest Test run-scorer. He's 106 runs behind David Gower. Target.— OptaJim (@OptaJim) July 8, 2014
Thus, there is no doubt that he is a great batsman. However, the last year has seen him hit some terrible form, per OptaPro:
"When he edged Shaminda Eranga behind in the second innings of the opening Test of the summer at Lord’s, his average over a 12-month period stood at 25.8, 20.4 runs below his career average of 46.2."
Failure to perform against India could see him genuinely considered as a candidate for the drop, and thus a process would have to begin of finding a new captain for England and further disrupt the side after a torrid winter.
Conversely, however, a return to form for Cook could both seal his place in the side and as captain, as it could be the key to an England series victory.
Cook's recent failures have gone hand in hand with England's demise, and his revival could be the boost they need to get back to winning form in Test matches.
What will be the result of the Test series between England and India?
In the 2010-11 Ashes series, he scored 766 runs in just seven innings at an average of 127.66, per Opta via The Guardian, and England trounced Australia 3-1—all of their victories coming by an innings and runs.
Equally, when England took their first series victory in India since 1985—a 2-1 win in 2013—Cook was the top run-scorer in the series.
When Cook performs at the top of the order, England score big, and when England score big, they win.
A series victory over India would assure Cook's place as captain, and a return to form for him could be the key factor.
A big score in the first Test at Trent Bridge could set him—and his team—up for a fine summer. Another failure, and the pressure will mount even more.