“They (England) were relentless and they made us work very hard for our runs,” said India captain Virat Kohli during the post-match presentation at Edgbaston. India had failed to chase a target of 194. Well, Kohli might have the perception that England bowlers made his batsmen work hard in getting runs but if spectators and pundits are to be believed, it was the lack of temperament that made the visitors lose the first Test.
The teams have now moved to Lord’s for the second Test and the Indian captain Kohli in the pre-match press conference has hinted that India might field two spinners looking at the conditions so far. Two spinners in playing XI means Kohli will have to make one of his quick bowlers sit in the dugout. Looking at the recent performances, Umesh Yadav should be the one to miss the bus. Ishant had been in great touch and has picked wickets on this tour while Mohammed Shami who missed the limited overs fixtures after failing the Yo-yo test has also been impressive. The bowling department though doesn’t really need a lot of changes as the only spinner in the Edgbaston game, R Ashwin too impressed with his bowling.
The Indian team needs to tweak the batting order and needs to show exit gate to Shikhar Dhawan from the playing XI who has not only been out of touch with the bat but has been dropping catches in the slip too. He put down as many as three catches in two innings in the last match and only scored 26 and 13. Moreover, he didn’t have a great time at the crease in the only warm-up match that India played against Essex where the left-hander scored 0 and 0 in two innings. India made a surprise call in Edgbaston Test when they asked Cheteshwar Pujara to warm the bench.
Pujara’s exclusion from the XI in the last match produced a result that didn’t go in India’s favour. He could have been that one batsman whom Kohli was scouting for to stay with him at the crease for a long time. Pujara might get his first game of the tour when India lock horns with England at Lord’s from Thursday. Murali Vijay can have KL Rahul as his opening partner followed by Pujara at three and captain at four. The Indian team management would also want Ajinkya Rahane to get his form back. He has a hundred at Lord’s and the visiting team would expect him to repeat the feat.
England on the other side will be making at least two changes in their playing XI as all-rounder Ben Stokes won’t be available for this match because of the court proceedings this week on a criminal charge of affray. Stokes played an important role in England’s win against India in the first match after he scalped an important wicket of Kohli in the second innings. While Stokes is out of this game, Dawid Malan too has been dropped and has been replaced by youngster Ollie Pope.
The hosts though will bank upon their new find Sam Curran who bagged a four-for in the first innings of the first match and also chipped in with a quick half-century to help his side set India a target of 194.
England: Alastair Cook, Keaton Jennings, Joe Root(c), Ollie Pope, Jonny Bairstow(w), Jos Buttler, Chris Woakes, Sam Curran, Adil Rashid, Stuart Broad, James Anderson, Moeen Ali
India: Murali Vijay, Shikhar Dhawan, Lokesh Rahul, Virat Kohli(c), Ajinkya Rahane, Dinesh Karthik(w), Hardik Pandya, Ravichandran Ashwin, Mohammed Shami, Ishant Sharma, Umesh Yadav, Kuldeep Yadav, Rishabh Pant, Ravindra Jadeja, Cheteshwar Pujara, Karun Nair, Shardul Thakur