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Gary Ballance need to get big runs to his name Getty Images

As England are all set to lock horns with India in the five-match Test series in their own den, the threat of spin is certainly looming over their mind. England are coming fresh from a Test match defeat in Bangladesh as the latter squared the two-match series with an emphatic win. English batsmen struggled big time against Bangladeshi spinners, a factor which will certainly benefit Indian spinners massively. India undoubtedly have the best spin attack in contemporary cricket and England s vulnerability against spin will surely be a huge bonus for them when they start the five-match series from Rajkot on November 9. Full Cricket Scorecard: India vs England 1st Test at Rajkot

India s ace spinner Ravichandran Ashwin has been their primary weapon and with England having quite a few left-handers in their batting order, the wily off-spinner will make merry. Gary Ballance, after a promising start to his Test career, has been fading away with time. The southpaw highly resembles Alastair Cook s style of play. He looks disciplined and has shown sound technique while batting in the middle-order. At the same time, he has been vulnerable against the short pitched deliveries too, and makes batting look difficult whenever deliveries are pitched short. In fact, his recent run in the whites has been awful and the bare run column has affected the team massively. In last six games, Ballance has averaged just over 19 with his only moment of glory being the 70-run knock against Pakistan at Birmingham.

Since Ballance will be batting in the middle-order, he will have a big responsibility to shoulder. The onus of balancing the batting order will also rely on him as he will have to come out fighting especially against Ashwin, who will get the ball away from him. Virat Kohli keeping it simple remains biggest asset for Indian run-machine

Ballance first made it to the national side against Australia at Sydney in January 2014 after a prolific run for Yorkshire in 2013-14 English Country season. But he came in to spotlight after the loss of Jonathon Trott. In Ballance, England found a reliable middle-order batsman as he had a magnificent run against Sri Lanka and also brought up his maiden Test ton against the island team at the home of cricket, Lord s. He continued his dream run in the Test series against India and scored plenty of runs throughout the series. In fact, he also scored a ton at Lord s against India and became the third cricketer to have smashed tons in their first two Tests at Lord s with the other two being Andrew Strauss and Trott. Driven: The Virat Kohli Story Review

Ballance was reckoned as one of the best in the business and got one of the optimum starts to his Test career in the history of English cricket. He had 590 runs in first 10 Tests and looked good for making it big in the Test arena. He also hogged all the headlines when he went topless in a night club in Nottingham after a Test victory at Trent Bridge. He did well on the West Indies tour as well but his down fall began in New Zealand where his weaknesses were exploited. He failed to get going against the New Zealand side after which he had a torrid time in the Ashes Down Under. After a series of dismal performances, Ballance was also dropped from the third Test.

The southpaw got a chance in the Test series against Pakistan at home, where he made some impact with couple of good knocks but was expected to do more. Ballance then had a terrible time in Bangladesh, where he managed to get hardly any runs in four innings. He looked bereft of oomph when the red cherry was turning and ended up throwing his wicket away early every time. He kept getting out at crucial junctures, which affected his side big time. In the first Test at Chittagong, Ballance missed a round-arm delivery from Mehedi Hasan Miraz and was caught leg before just for a solitary run. In the second innings, he had swept Shakib Al Hasan in the previous over for a boundary but fell to Taijul Islam s persistence in the very next over while sweeping as he landed into the safe hands of leg slip. He did not look comfortable against spin at all and finally floundered for 9. Ballance did not make much of a difference in the second game as well; he edged one into the hands of the wicketkeeper for 9 while the mode of dismissal in the second innings was awful. He got a nasty leading edge, which went straight into the hands of mid-off while attempting to nudge the ball for a single. Ballance squandered four opportunities to make an impact in this series.

The batsman was dismissed three out of four times by Mehedi in the Test series against Bangladesh. This could well be an indication for Ballance to get technically equipped to tackle Ashwin. The crafty Indian off-spinner will be waiting to pounce on the English line up and it is also a golden opportunity for Ballance to silent his harshest critics and seek revival of fortunes.

England have a massive task in hand in confronting the Indian spinners and their middle order will have to come out fighting as the ball will be worn out by the time their turn to bat comes and it will further assist the spinners. Ballance is also lucky enough to make it to the England side for the India tour as his recent performances have not inspired enough confidence. He needs to make his chances count and get some runs to his name or else an ouster is on the cards. He has the potential and hunger to succeed and this series would serve as an ideal platform for him to do so.

(Suraj Choudhari is a reporter with CricketCountry. He is an avid follower of the game, and plays the sport at club level. He has a radical understanding about the subtle nuances and intricacies of cricket, and tries to express it through paper and pen.)