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Kevin Pietersen explains why Team India poses a big challenge to England in Birmingham Test

London, June 29: Hosts England will take on India in the highly-anticipated remaining fifth Test in Birmingham, starting Friday (July 1). Team India - who left the series unfinished following a COVID-19 outbreak in their camp last year - is leading the five-Test series 2-1.

Under the leadership of Ben Stokes, England recently whitewashed New Zealand 3-0 and surprised all with their aggressive performance. Joe Root and Jonny Bairstow - who are in the form of their life - will look to continue their momentum against the Indians - who look a better side than New Zealand.

The Indians have been playing a positive brand of cricket in the last few years in the red-ball format, and former England captain Kevin Pietersen believes the Rohit Sharma-led side will pose a tougher test to the English.

Team India has a fantastic bowling line-up, it possesses an attack for all conditions: Dawid MalanTeam India has a fantastic bowling line-up, it possesses an attack for all conditions: Dawid Malan

Eoin Morgan had a lasting impact on English cricket, will go down as the greatest captain: Dawid MalanEoin Morgan had a lasting impact on English cricket, will go down as the greatest captain: Dawid Malan

In his review for the upcoming contest between the two sides, Pietersen wrote for Betway, "I certainly expect England to face a tougher test against India, who are packed full of the best players on the planet."

Highlighting the strength in India's bowling arsenal, the former English swashbuckler pointed out that the visitors wouldn't be perturbed by the swinging conditions. The explosive right-handed batsman - who has won England several matches with his dominant performances - also cautioned the English batters to be wary of India's all-rounder Ravindra Jadeja and pace spearhead Jasprit Bumrah.

"India's bowlers might not mind so much that England are going to come out swinging at them. Ravi Jadeja is an excellent spinner when people start getting after him and you can be sure that Jasprit Bumrah will see it as an opportunity, too."

The 42-year-old cricketer-turned-commentator even had a word of praise for India's batting line-up which comprises big names like Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli, and Cheteshwar Pujara claiming the Indians are going to be a different kettle of fish for the hosts.

"England bowled well against New Zealand, but a batting order featuring Rohit Sharma (who will hopefully be available), Che Pujara, Virat Kohli, and so on is a different kettle of fish."

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Story first published: Wednesday, June 29, 2022, 18:14 [IST]
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