Spotlight on Indian batsmen in second Test vs England (Preview)
London : After a poor show in the opening Test match against England, the Indian batsmen would like to rectify their mistakes and apply themselves diligently when India will face the hosts in the second match of the five-match series, starting here on Thursday.
In both the innings of the first Test which the tourists lost by 31 runs, all the batsmen, apart from skipper Virat Kohli failed. No other batters supported Kohli, who at the other hand fought valiantly.
Kohli scored 149 in the first innings while the other batsmen could only score 107 runs combined. The story of the second innings was more or less the same as Kohli top-scored with 51 runs in 93 balls.
So, in the second test, the Indian team management may make a few changes in the batting department, bringing in experienced batsman Cheteshwar Pujara in place of Lokesh Rahul, who scored 4 and 13 runs respectively in both the innings.
The management could also replace underperforming opening batsman Shikhar Dhawan with Pujara and ask Rahul to open the innings with Murali Vijay.
In order to win the second Test, the batsmen -- Ajinkya Rahane, Hardik Pandya, Vijay, Dinesh Karthik -- need to click in unison because the bowlers are doing their job handsomely.
Talking about the bowling, in both the innings off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin scalped four and three wickets respectively. He was well supported by pacers Ishant Sharma and Mohammad Shami. Umesh Yadav was also impactful.
Pacer Jasprit Bumrah has been ruled out of the second Test as he has not fully recovered from a left thumb injury, bowling coach Bharat Arun confirmed on Tuesday.
Despite that the team management could make a few changes, bringing in a second spinner to add more firepower, depending on the nature of the wicket at Lord's.
England, on the other hand, will be without their star all-rounder Ben Stokes and batsman Dawid Malan. Stokes, who picked up four wickets during India's second innings, is trying to clear his name in court after being charged with affray following a brawl in September 2017, while Malan has been dropped due to poor performance. Malan was replaced by 20-year-old Ollie Pope, who is set to make his debut.
England would also like to see an improved batting performance. They were reduced to 80 for seven in the second innings before young all-rounder Sam Curran's attacking 63 rescued them as they reached 180.
Joe Root made 80 in the first innings and looked slightly more comfortable against Ashwin in comparison to his teammates. Jonny Bairstow (70) and Keaton Jennings (42) did well in their first innings but the likes of Alastair Cook and Jos Buttler failed miserably in both the innings.
It will be interesting to see who England will turn to in the absence of Stokes. They may go in for a like-for-like replacement with the inclusion of pace-bowling all-rounder Chris Woakes, who has recovered from an injury. If they feel the need to go for an extra spin-bowling option, Moeen Ali might get a look in.
Apart from this decision, England's bowling line-up looks set with James Anderson, Stuart Broad, Sam Curran and Adil Rashid.
There was a lot of talk about the inclusion of seamer Jamie Porter ahead of the first Test but Captain Root preferred Sam Curran and the player delivered a Man-of-the-Match performance. He picked up five wickets and scored 97 runs to be decisive in the low-scoring contest at Birmingham.
But in the upcoming match, England would like to improve in a few areas along with the catching in the slips to pressurise the Indian batsmen.
India: Virat Kohli (captain), Shikhar Dhawan, Murali Vijay, KL Rahul, Cheteshwar Pujara, Ajinkya Rahane, Dinesh Karthik (wk), Rishabh Pant, Karun Nair, Hardik Pandya, R Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja, Kuldeep Yadav, Ishant Sharma, Umesh Yadav, Shardul Thakur, Mohammed Shami, Jasprit Bumrah.
England: Joe Root (captain), Alastair Cook, Keaton Jennings, Jonny Bairstow, Jos Buttler, Oliver Pope, Moeen Ali, Adil Rashid, Jamie Porter, Sam Curran, James Anderson, Stuart Broad, Chris Woakes.