In the postponed fifth Test, which begins in Birmingham on Friday, veteran England off-spinner Graeme Swann said that the home team will have a minor advantage over the Indian cricket squad. Prior to the cancellation of the final Test due to a COVID-19 outbreak in the visiting team’s camp last year, India had a 2-1 series advantage.
For both sides, the overall situation will be somewhat different from the last match. Ben Stokes and Rohit Sharma, as well as Rahul Dravid and Brendon McCullum, are the new leaders for both sides.
After winning the third and final Test against New Zealand by seven wickets on Monday, England clinched a 3-0 series victory under their new management by playing courageous Test cricket.
India Would Suffer Against England: Graeme Swann
Swann believes India would suffer from having only one warm-up game prior to the series finale since England will be the favourites following their series victory against New Zealand.
“England are in a very good position and I would say they are slight favourites because of that series (against New Zealand),” Swann said in a virtual interaction, facilitated by Sony Sports, official broadcasters of the India-England series.
“And the fact that India just had one (warm-up) game in England, so they are coming in cold (for) the Test match, which is a bit of disadvantage. They (England) have got the three-Test matches under their belt, so that makes them pre-game favourites.”
Real Bad Time To Play Against England
Swann praised England’s aggressive style of cricket under the leadership of new captain Ben Stokes and new head coach Brandon McCullum, saying it was a “terrible moment” to play them.
“It is a real bad time to play England because they just played these three games against New Zealand.
“You are going to face an England team where Joe Root is back to his absolute best, where Ollie Pope is playing his best-ever for England. Ben Stokes has amalgamated the team and got playing in an ultra-positive and rock and roll fashion,” he added.
Swann emphasized the weaknesses of the England team, even more, believing that the opening combination is still a source of worry for the hosts.
“There are chinks in the armour – the opening batting slot is still very weak. But nearly all the other spots had excellent (returns). Even the spinner Jack Leach, who is under a lot of pressure, has got 10 wickets in a match,” explained Swann.