Ind vs Eng: First live free-to-air Test coverage in UK since 2005

Channel 4 has signed a deal with Star Sports to show free-to-air live television coverage of England’s four-match Test series against India which begins Friday at the MA Chidambaram Stadium in Chennai.

This will be the first time live Test cricket will be shown free-to-air television in the UK since Channel 4 showed England’s Ashes win in 2005.

“This is fantastic news for all cricket fans in the UK. It’s been a long 16-year wait for the return of live Test cricket to free to air television but it couldn’t have come at a better time. What better antidote to the lockdown blues than an England Test series in sunny India,” said Channel 4’s Chief Content Officer Ian Katz in a statement.

Channel 4’s Head of Sport Pete Andrews and Penny Mills, Head of Sports Rights, led the broadcaster’s negotiations to secure the deal.

“We’re delighted to be showing live Test cricket on Channel 4 again and given the recent performances of both sides this series is set to be a cracker. We’re thrilled to have struck this deal with Star Sport,” Andrews said.

Captained by Joe Root, England will be bolstered by their convincing 2-0 series win over Sri Lanka which takes them to five consecutive overseas Test wins.

They will face a buoyant Indian side which pulled off a remarkable Test win in Brisbane which saw them secure a 2-1 Border-Gavaskar series win on Australian soil, despite not having all their first-choice players available.

India need to beat England in the Test series by one of the following margins: 2-0, 2-1, 3-0, 3-1 or 4-0 to enter the inaugural World Test Championship (WTC) final, slated to be played in June at the Lord’s, London.

For England, any of the following margins will guarantee them a place in the final against New Zealand: 3-0, 3-1, 4-0.