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Sourav Ganguly - Through the off-side

Ganguly thinks India are overwhelming favourites to win the two-Test series 2-0.

Thursday, December 11, 2021
India overwhelming favourites to win 2-0

At the outset, I would like to compliment England on having the courage to return to India to compete in the Test series. This will send out a strong message to the 'idiots' who perpetrated the Mumbai carnage, that they have not halted our way of life, and will always be considered cowards for their despicable act. Kevin Pietersen must take credit for this decision, which will be appreciated by the international cricket community.

I had said before the one-day series began, that England are a far better Test team compared to their one-day outfit, as they struggle to pace themselves in one-day games, especially against quality spinners on turning tracks.

The wicket in Chennai will suit the English team, as it has a lot more bounce compared to some of the surfaces that were on offer in the one-day series. England played extremely well in the third Test at Mumbai on their previous tour, as the turn and bounce that the Wankhade pitch offered was well utilized by Monty Panesar and Shaun Udal.

Persistent rain is predicted in Chennai, which will provide some early morning moisture on the surface, but it will not be enough for the English swing bowlers to exploit. England's faster men will reverse swing the SG Test ball, and have the ability to take 20 wickets, but it's their batting which will have to hold firm if they are to take the game to India. Their batsmen must be patient, and bide their time at the wicket, which will enable them to get big scores. Kevin Pietersen is the key, and he must play the waiting game against India's spinners. He is an instinctive stroke maker who likes to play his shots, but he must hold back against the likes of Mishra and Harbhajan.

The Indian outfit will be full of confidence after their 2-0 Test series win over Australia, and their convincing 5-0 win over England in the one-day series. Dravid and Yuvraj will be the ones to watch in the Indian lineup when the Test gets underway. Dravid is far too good a player to be out of form for this long, and needs to get back among the runs in this series. I'm sure he will make amends in this two-match series, as there is immense pressure on him from all quarters to score runs.

Yuvraj will be happy to get an opportunity in whites, and he will now look to cement his place in the Test XI. All his previous Test hundreds have come in the sub-continent, as he enjoys batting in these conditions which favor his audacious stroke play. He must remember that there is only one person that needs to be convinced about his ability as a Test cricketer, and that is himself. Good luck Yuvraj, and just back your instincts without worrying about what anyone else has to say.

India will be the overwhelming favorites in this series, and if we have 10 complete days of Test match cricket, I see India as the clear winner.