London: The series opener between India and England at Lord's on Thursday marked the 2000th match in the 134-year history of Test cricket and also the 100th between the two countries.

The four-match series is being touted as the fight between the two best teams of the world.

England, who need to win the four-Test series by a margin of 2-1 or 3-1 to become the top-ranked Test side, have not won two Tests in a home series against India since the 3-0 win in 1974.

If India win or draw, they will hold on to the number one spot. If England win 1-0, they will replace South Africa from number two in the rankings while India will stay on top.

But equations could change if England win the historic series 4-0. They will then become the No.1 Test side and India will slip to third position behind South Africa.

India have not lost a single series under Mahendra Singh Dhoni''s captaincy and have won six of their last nine assignments.

England, on the other hand, lost 1-0 to West Indies before holding on for a 1-1 draw in South Africa in 2009-10.

But after that, they registered emphatic series wins against Pakistan at home and Australia away.

Out of the 99 Tests played between the two teams so far, India have won 19 Tests and lost 34. But the vistors'' display in England since 2000 has been encouraging, winning five Tests and losing two.

They registered a come-from-behind victory to level the series 1-1 in 2002, and went on to win 1-0 in 2007 after winning the second Test at Trent Bridge.

A cause for concern in the Indian dressing room is their poor record at Lord's, the venue for the first Test. Apart from their sole win in 1986, they haven't had much success, losing ten Tests at the venue.

In contrast, England have won 12 and lost three matches at the venue since 2000.

At Lord's, India have played 15 Tests -- won one, lost 10 while four resulted in a draw.

The match assumes significance for India's batting champion Sachin Tendulkar who is just one short of an incredible milestone of 100 international centuries.

As far as another individual record is concerned, if Dhoni takes one more catch, he will set the record for most catches by an Indian wicket-keeper in Tests. Both Dhoni (57 Tests) and Kirmani (88 Tests) have 160 catches to their credit.

(Agencies)