India openers Rohit Sharma and KL Rahul negotiated a challenging opening spell against England’s seamers and reached 46-0 before more rain arrived to bring about an early lunch in the first day of the second Test at Lord’s on Thursday.
England won the toss and chose to bowl first on a morning of changing weather at the home of cricket.
India’s only change from the drawn first Test saw seamer Ishant Sharma replace Shardul Thakur, who is out with a hamstring injury. However, that meant R Ashwin had to sit out of the game.
Explaining the reason behind the mover, India captain Virat Kohli, at the toss, said,” Ishant replaces Shardul, that’s the only change. We announced 12 within the group and Ashwin definitely was part of that. But this makes the most sense for us as a team. Everyone wants to contribute, it’s about getting into the game as a batsman. We just need to get the job done, whoever it is, that’s our main focus.”
Kohli and the Indian team management’s thought process was probably based on the cloudy conditions and the tinge of grass on the surface.
However, in the pre-game pitch report, West Indian great Michael Holding said, “It looks a pretty good pitch. When you to come to Lord’s the pitch looks dry. And it looks dry today as well. There is an equal amount of covering of grass. This might not create divots. If you have a spinner in your team, he might come into play.”
Former England captain Michael Vaughan said that Ashwin should have played for India.
Feels like England have picked the right team & India haven’t … Ashwin should have played for India to give them more Batting plus his quality bowling … He bowls well in all conditions … Perfect bowling day … Feels like a wickets day … #ENGvIND
— Michael Vaughan (@MichaelVaughan) August 12, 2021
Former India seamer Zaheer Khan observed that if India leaves out Ashwin then the responsibility increases on the frontline batsmen.
“The template Kohli is talking about did reap benefits in the first Test, especially with Shardul picking up wickets. But in batting, it does look weak and that means more responsibility on the batsmen. If India crosses 350 in the first innings then it will be a correct decision,” said Zaheer on Cribuzz.
Meanwhile, Morning showers meant the start of play was delayed 30 minutes before a mix of sunny and cloudy conditions which proved extremely helpful for the seam bowlers.