Ajinkya Rahane Virat Kohli India
Ajinkya Rahane and Virat Kohli will be the two most important batsmen for India in the Test series against EnglandReuters

In a series where the spinners are expected to rule, it will be the batsmen who make or break the outcome of the five Test matches between India and England. Play spin well, and you will invariably end up on the winning side.

India have the advantage of playing at home, under the conditions they are familiar in and are more comfortable at, but their batsmen, quite often, have been found wanting against the spinners. If England have the quality slow bowlers to worry the India batsmen or not is another matter, but there is susceptibility there against spin bowling.

England showed their own issues against the turn in the series against Bangladesh, and it will only get more difficult for them, considering R Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja and Amit Mishra now lie in wait.

Here is a look at the batting lineups of both India and England and which of the two is better equipped to master the conditions.

India: Openers: Murali Vijay (42 matches, 2823 runs, 14 hundreds, 46.52 average): Is the established batsman, and has been one of India's best players over the past 18 months. Consistent and capable of making the big scores, Vijay has the capability to defend and attack in equal measure.

Gautam Gambhir (57 matches, 4125 runs, 9 hundreds, 42.52 average): The comeback man, and after a decent outing in the final Test against Kolkata, injuries to KL Rahul and Shikhar Dhawan have given the left-hander another opportunity. Has the ability to play great innings and was India's best player of spin for a long time, but age might have caught up with him. He will want to show that is not the case.

England: Openers: Alastair Cook (135 matches, 10688 runs, 29 hundreds, 46.87 average): Undoubtedly still one of England's best batsmen, the captain will want to lead from the front. Was outstanding when England won the series here in 2012 and has scored a lot of runs in the sub-continent. England will need him at his best to stand a chance in this series.

Ben Duckett (2 matches, 92 runs, 0 hundreds, 23 average): Too early to judge his career. Showed some real quality in the second innings of the second Test against Bangladesh when he played an aggressive 56. Needs to learn to make big scores, though, and also to be patient, one of the key qualities required in India.

India top/middle order: Cheteshwar Pujara (38 matches, 2855 runs, 8 hundreds, 49.22 average): Came back into form against New Zealand. Has pretty much locked that No.3 position for now. Had quite a few starts and decent scores against New Zealand, now needs to convert them into big hundreds against England.

Virat Kohli (48 matches, 3554 runs, 13 hundreds, 45.56 average): India's captain and star batsman. Hit one big knock against New Zealand. Needs to be a little more consistent in Test cricket, because when Kohli scores big, India, more often than not, win.

Ajinkya Rahane (29 matches, 2209 runs, 8 hundreds, 51.37 average): Best average of the lot, consistent and the man for a crisis. Rahane's technique can sometimes let him down, particularly against the spinners, when he hangs his bat out a little too in front of his pads, but he is the reliable run-scorer for India.

Joe Root England
England batsman Joe Root has the opportunity to really make a mark in his career in this series against IndiaReuters

England top/middle order: Joe Root (48 matches, 4103 runs, 10 hundreds, 53.28 average): England's best batsman and the contender to the "best batsman in the world" throne along with Kohli. This series could be the one where the right-hander from Yorkshire really comes to life. Has the capability to take the game away from any opposition in any conditions.

Gary Ballance (21 matches, 1413 runs, 4 hundreds, 39.25 average): The batsman whose place is most at risk. Disappointed against Pakistan and Bangladesh. If he gets selected for the first Test, will be playing for his future – so a lot of pressure.

The other two options are Haseeb Hameed (yet to make his debut) and Jos Buttler (15 matches, 630 runs, 0 hundreds, 30 average): Buttler might not be such a bad option, while Hameed should get a chance at some point in this series.

Moeen Ali (32 matches, 1546 runs, 3 hundreds, 33.60 average): Might be a little too high up in the batting order for him. A dogged batsman, who puts a price on his wicket, but one who is also capable of moving the scoreboard along. Could be a thorn in India's side.

India lower middle order and lower order: Karun Nair/Hardik Pandya (yet to play a Test): Neither has played Test cricket before. Nair is the pure batsman and the natural replacement for the injured Rohit Sharma. Has been in a couple of squads without getting a game, so he will be itching for an opportunity. Pandya will be the riskier option, but his selection could also pay dividends. Has improved his bowling considerably, while he has the batting talent to take the game away from the opposition in one session, something Kohli likes.

Wriddhiman Saha (18 matches, 684 runs, 1 hundred, 31.09 average): Has proven to be a really effective lower order batsman. Immaculate wicketkeeper and someone who can bat with the tail and the top order batsmen. Might not be a Dhoni, but quite effective.

R Ashwin India
The bating ability of R Ashwin could prove to be vital for India against EnglandReuters

R Ashwin (39 matches, 1510 runs, 4 hundreds, 33.55 average): Deserves to be called an all-rounder in Test cricket, as his batting record proves. Bats well in Indian conditions and his runs in the lower order could prove to be really crucial.

Ravindra Jadeja (20 matches, 624 runs, 0 hundreds, 24 average): Much better batsman than the numbers suggest. Played a couple of crucial knocks against the Kiwis and has shown signs that his batting is coming back to where it should be.

Umesh Yadav, Ishant Sharma, Mohammed Shami, Amit Mishra and Jayant Yadav: Can hold their end up and capable of striking a few as well. Mishra is an accomplished lower order bat, and, if he plays, he could score a few vital runs.

England lower middle order and lower order: Ben Stokes (27 matches, 1557 runs, 3 hundreds, 33.12 average): The real game-changer for England. Has the talent to smash the Indian bowling to smithereens, but has also shown his patient side. A really important player for England, with bat and ball.

Jonny Bairstow (33 matches, 2083 runs, 3 hundreds, 40.84 average): Another brilliant batsman on his day. The only question is can he do it against the India spinners? If he can, England will be in contention.

Chris Woakes, Adil Rashid, Zafar Ansari, Steven Finn, Stuart Broad, Gareth Batty and Jake Ball: Most of them are really competent bats. Woakes, Ansari and Rashid, in particular, can forge partnerships and really frustrate the opposition.

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