Get your runs early - Gatting

India England

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Former England captain Mike Gatting says scoring heavily is key to beating India

Following the old maxim of scoring heavily in the first innings will be crucial for England as they look to secure Test success in India, according to former captain Mike Gatting.

Gatting, now the ECB’s managing director - cricket partnerships, was part of the last England team to win a Test series on Indian soil, back in 1984-85.

In assessing the challenges facing Alastair Cook’s side, who begin their mission at Ahmedabad on Thursday, the 55-year-old pinpointed hefty first-innings totals as key.

Syed Kirmani & Mike Gatting

Mike Gatting, right, has underlined the value of first-innings runs this winter. "It's so important in India that you do get runs on the board," the former England captain told ecb.co.uk

“It is a very basic, very simple thing whenever you do bat first, but it’s so important in India that you do get runs on the board in the first innings,” Gatting told ecb.co.uk.

“The wickets do deteriorate. They get slower and lower, and the more runs you can get in the first innings the less you obviously have to get (at the end).

“It’s a proven thing through time and if you do get chance to bat first generally there’s no reason not to in India, so if you win the toss - whether you’ve even thought about bowling - you will have a bat.

“You won’t see too many green wickets over there. I suspect they’re going to turn from ball one and they (India) will put some pressure on with people around the bat, so it’s very important to make use of the first innings.”

Although Gatting expects spinners to prosper across the four-Test series, he also feels England’s pacemen could play a pivotal role.

“They must realise the new ball is quite important, and I’m sure they will do,” he continued.

“Even if the seamers are getting just one or two apiece per innings, they’re making inroads into the Indian batting line-up. If you can get the first three wickets with the new ball that’s hugely important.

“If you can get into the middle order by the time the new ball is spent, which is around about 20 overs, then the guys with the new ball have done their job and it’s a question of being patient, applying the pressure with the spinners, using your other bowlers intelligently, and the guys bowling well together in pairs.

“It’s important you bowl with your partner at the other end when you’re bowling a spell together. (You have to) try and keep it tight and put some pressure on.”

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