India and England sweat it out during training ahead of Nottingham Test- in pictures

Five-match series begins in Nottingham on Wednesday

Hosts England and India hit the ground running as they prepared for the first match of the five-Test series, which begins in Nottingham on Wednesday.

Both teams have a lot of ground to cover as they kickstart the new World Test Championship cycle. Joe Root's England lost the home Test series to New Zealand in June and now have to contend with the absence of all-rounder Ben Stokes, who has taken a break to focus on his mental well-being.

Also, star speedster Jofra Archer remains unavailable. The Barbados-born quick underwent elbow surgery in May and has since made a low-key return for Sussex, but is not yet ready for Test cricket.

While those are setbacks, memories from their 4-1 win over Virat Kohli's India in 2018 should fill them with confidence as the visitors have a particularly poor record in English conditions.

The Indians have an equally major task. They lost the World Test Championship final to New Zealand in June, handing them another defeat in a world title match. They will be without key batting options like Shubman Gill and Mayank Agarwal, the later just for the first Test, and that will only give the tourists more problems to solve in batting - their weaker department.

The pitch for the opening Test as an even covering of grass, which means veteran seamer James Anderson could well be the biggest factor in the series.

Updated: August 3rd 2021, 12:05 PM