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Firstpost Spodcast Episode 8: Previewing 1st India-England Test, Women’s Hockey World Cup and more on our daily sports podcast

Welcome to Spodcast, the daily sports update on Firstpost where we discuss briefly the big sports headlines of the day.

Today, we preview the first Test between England and India at Birmingham with inputs from the experts, analyse the Indian contingent's progress in the ongoing BWF World Championships in China as well as the Indian team's progress into the quarter-finals of the Women's Hockey World Cup.

The India-England Test series begins today. As part of the preview leading up to the game, Firstpost spoke to South Africa’s star bowler Dale Steyn about the Indian team. We asked him why, in his opinion, Indian batsmen struggle against pace when playing overseas. As well as English bowlers' plans against Virat Kohli.

Gaurav Kalra, Group Sports Editor, Network 18, weighed in on what fans can expect from the first test, especially the all-important subject on everyone’s mind - India’s bowling. He also puts the onus on middle order player Hardik Pandya.

As for what’s happening off the field - England have named spinner Adil rashid as part of the playing XI for the Birmingham Test. The player from Yorkshire is the only spinner in their lineup. England’s other spin bowling option, Moeen Ali, has been left out of the 13-man squad.

Dawid Malan retains his sport as top-order batsman, as does all-rounder Ben Stokes. Left-arm fast bowler Sam Curran will take on the responsibility of supporting opening bowlers Anderson and Stuart Broad. Not to forget a certain Alastair Cook, who has always had a great time at Edgbaston.

The Indian players have tried to be assertive in their preparation for the Test series. All-rounder Ravindra Jadeja claimed India is the only current side that can beat England at home.

Kohli, the confident Indian captain insisted that his team has skills, character and mental fortitude to excel in overseas conditions. India coach Ravi Shastri, on the other hand, has been open about his goal — he wants to see this Indian team become the best travelling side in world cricket.

In badminton, the BWF World Championship is on right now in China, and India has been having a good time of it. All but two players made it past the first round. Popular players Saina Nehwal and Kidambi Srikanth noteched up comfortable victories to kick off their respective campaigns.

Saina, who had bagged a silver and a bronze in two earlier editions of the same championship, beat Aliye Demirbag of Turkey 21-17, 21-8 in the second round. She will meet Ratchanok Inthanon of Thailand, the 2013 champion, in a pre-quarterfinal clash.

Srikanth, seeded fifth in the men’s draw, beat Nhat Nguyen of Ireland in his opening match, and will now face Spain's Pablo Abian in the next round. Meanwhile, Sai Praneeth received a walkover after his opponent, Son Wan Ho of South Korea, pulled out due to injury.

The Indian women’s hockey team has qualified for the quarterfinals of the World Cup being held in England. They beat Italy 3-0 in the playoff and will face Ireland in the quarterfinal on 2nd August.

Three goals were scored - by Lalremsiami, Neha Goyal and Vandana Katariya - as India beat Italy in the crossover match. India will be looking to avenge their group-stage loss to Ireland when they take them on in the quarter-final.

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Updated Date: Aug 01, 2018 14:06:21 IST