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England vs India 2nd Test Preview

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Last Updated on 6 years by Charbel Coorey

England vs India 2nd Test Preview Cricket Preview CricBlog
Image credit: AP

Wow. A first Test worthy of the big build up to this series. It didn’t disappoint.

Like a wonderful movie, the Test ebbed and flowed, and was the cause of a rollercoaster of emotions. Yes, IPL, BBL, CPL, BPL, PSL and the like have their entertainment value, but Test cricket is something else. So much so that both Joe Root and Virat Kohli batted for Test cricket in the aftermath of the first Test, and now I simply can’t wait for the second.

Despite Dawid Malan’s best efforts, England got over the line to take an important 1-0 series lead heading to Lord’s. Sam Curran dominated like very few could have predicted, and it was a collective effort by the bowlers to keep the pressure on Virat Kohli to score as many runs as he could for the Indian cause. With Ben Stokes, another star for England at Edgbaston, missing from this Test, whoever replaces him also needs to ensure they maintain the pressure on the opposition.

For India, there were positives, but plenty of concerns, too. Virat Kohli has scored well over a quarter of his team’s runs across four Tests in South Africa and England this year, so the question is who else is going to step up? Question marks remain over the top order, with the top three underwhelming, thanks mostly to disappointing shot selection. Also, India could go in with two spinners given the conditions in London lately, which will probably mean the inconsistent Umesh Yadav misses out.

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Key to an England win

Apart from Virat Kohli at Edgbaston, the rest of India’s top seven batsmen combined for 172 runs at 14.33. If those numbers weren’t damning enough, Virat Kohli scored 200 runs on his own, and he wasn’t the only one dropped in the slips…
This represents significant opportunity for England. But, while the India skipper is the prize wicket, Joe Root and his men still need to focus adequately on who is in front of them, as India’s line up does have what it takes to perform well. Can England, led by Anderson, Broad and Curran, maintain the pressure like they did in the first Test? What role will the spinners play? Can they dismiss Kohli cheaply? 
It’s all set up nicely.
Also, like India, England are not without their own batting concerns. Alastair Cook, whilst he did receive two beauties from Ashwin, looks a shadow of the player he once was. Keaton Jennings needs to prove he can be England’s long term opening option, and Joe Root needs to convert his fifties. Had it not been for Sam Curran’s amazing second innings knock, England would have lost, so the batting simply must step up further at Lord’s.

Key to an India win

Despite the top seven batsmen other than Virat Kohli averaging a combined 14.33, India were so close to winning. Ishant Sharma and Ravichandran Ashwin, along with Virat Kohli, were absolutely superb for India.
However, cleaning up the tail has been a problem for them on the road over the years, and it came back to haunt them in the first Test, even though Sam Curran shouldn’t be called a tailender. India must be more clinical with the ball and in the slips in this Test, as England’s batting is there for the taking. The Poms had their troubles against Kuldeep in the limited overs matches, so he could be a welcome addition to the attack, if conditions stay relatively dry.
Also, India simply must get more out of their batsmen. Yes, Virat Kohli is well on the way to greatness, but there is only so much one man can do. If he is outscoring the top seven again, 2-0 awaits. I see India making changes in personnel for this Test, but there also needs to be a change in mindset to be able to tough it out for the long haul.

The teams I would pick

Usually, I try predict the XIs each side will put out on the field. Here, I will put forward the teams I think should take the field.
For India, Cheteshwar Pujara should come back into the side. Yes, he’s been struggling, but he has what it takes to hold up an end, which is something India need right now. I’d give Shikhar Dhawan one more chance, meaning KL Rahul, who was disappointing at three, misses out. Also, I would have Kuldeep Yadav slot in for Umesh, given the conditions could suit spin, as well as the fact Umesh is just too inconsistent.
My India XI: 1. Murali Vijay, 2. Shikhar Dhawan, 3. Cheteshwar Pujara, 4. Virat Kohli (c), 5. Ajinkya Rahana, 6. Dinesh Karthik (wk), 7. Hardik Pandya, 8. Ravichandran Ashwin, 9. Mohammed Shami, 10. Kuldeep Yadav, 11. Ishant Sharma
For England, Ollie Pope, who was playing for Campbelltown Camden in the Sydney Grade Competition in the Aussie summer, will slot in for Dawid Malan, who had a nightmare first Test. He is deserving of his selection, with his FC average of 63 testament to the talented player he is. Also, I believe Moeen Ali should come in for Stokes, giving England that extra spinning option. But, it could also be Chris Woakes to take Ben Stokes’ place.
My England XI: 1. Alastair Cook, 2. Keaton Jennings, 3. Joe Root (c), 4. Ollie Pope, 5. Jonny Bairstow (wk), 6. Jos Buttler, 7. Moeen Ali/Chris Woakes, 8. Sam Curran, 9. Adil Rashid, 10. Stuart Broad, 11. James Anderson

Stats and Facts

  • India’s last win in England came at Lord’s in 2014. They have lost all four Tests since.
  • Ajinkya Rahane hasn’t scored a 50 in his last 11 Test innings.
  • Virat Kohli scored 200 runs in the first Test. The rest of India’s line up scored 214.
  • Excluding his 58* in Sydney earlier this year where he retired ill, Joe Root has failed to convert any of his last ten fifties.
  • James Anderson is six away from 550 Test wickets.

Prediction

The first Test was so difficult to predict, and watching the match, it was easy to see why. The match changed hands various times, and it will be no surprise if the same happens at Lord’s.
However, this time, I back feeling India will bounce back and level the series 1-1. I believe they will enjoy conditions, which could very well benefit their spinners later in the Test, and their batsmen will be keen to bounce back after a tough outing first up.
Here’s to a good Test! Thanks for reading.

Charbel Coorey
Charbel Cooreyhttps://cricblog.net
Charbel is the owner & founder of cricblog.net, based in Sydney, Australia. He started the website to fulfill his love for the game of cricket. Charbel has also been featured on other publications including OP India, Times of India, and The Roar, among others. For any story tips or questions, you can contact Charbel at charbelcoorey@cricblog.net.

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