London: After England faced trouble due to the severe heatwave in recent times, the raingods have made their presence felt and while it is a huge relief, it has delayed the toss and the subsequent proceedings at the second England versus India Test, starting here on Thursday, at the Lord’s.
India came close to winning the first Test but squandered a great opportunity to take the 1-0 lead in the five-match series, courtesy the mediocre batting, apart from Virat Kohli’s super show with the bat. Hence, the work will be cut out for Team India – to win the second Test and level the series – as the match kicks off at Lord’s here on Thursday.
The possible chopping and changing in the batting line-up and temptation of playing two spinners have been the talking points ahead in the build-up of the Test, with the calls of picking Cheteshwar Pujara and dropping Shikhar Dhawan and fielding either of Kuldeep Yadav or Ravindra Jadeja in place of either Umesh Yadav or Hardik Pandya doing the rounds. While Kohli will have a few things to sort out in terms of selection, no matter who takes field, India will have to make sure not to dismantle England when they are on the mat like in Birmingham in the first Test.
Joe Root and co, meanwhile, will be out to up their game and take 2-0 lead in the series. While the hosts are going to miss Ben Stokes, who won’t feature in the Test due to the hearing of his court case, the replacement – either Chris Woakes and Moeen Ali – has to put up his hand up and deliver the goods.
The other area which England, like India, will have to improve is their batting and slip fielding. Barring Joe Root, Sam Curran and Jonny Bairstow, England struggled with the bat in the opening Test and if taking 2-0 lead is their aim, the others must score big.
However, it won’t be a walk in the park as the recent heatwave in England may turn Lord’s into spinners’ best friend – a situation which is likely to benefit India more than England even as the Indian pacers – Ishant Sharma and Mohammed Shami – putting in some fine performances in the first Test.
England: Joe Root (Captain), Moen Ali, James Anderson, Jonny Bairstow, Stuart Broad, Jos Buttler (wicketkeeper), Alastair Cook, Sam Curran, Keaton Jennings, Ollie Pope, Jamie Porter, Adil Rashid, Chris Woakes.
India: Virat Kohli (Captain), Ravichandran Ashwin, Jasprit Bumrah, Shikhar Dhawan Ravindra Jadeja, Dinesh Karthik (wicketkeeper), Kuldeep Yadav, Mohammed Shami, Karun Nair, Hardik Pandya, Rishabh Pant, Cheteshwar Pujara, Ajinkya Rahane, Lokesh Rahul, Ishant Sharma, Shardul Thakur, Murali Vijay, Umesh Yadav