England vs India, 2nd Test: India Predicted XI

Will Dhawan be dropped from the team finally?

Virat Kohli and his team
India captain Virat Kohli and his team leave the field. (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)

Only 31 runs separated England and India at Edgbaston as the hosts took a 1-0 lead in the five-match Test series. The batsmen of the visiting side failed to come to the terms with the conditions apart from Virat Kohli which cost them the game eventually. Both the teams will lock horns at the iconic Lord’s from Thursday and no wonder Team India will be itching to level the series and make a comeback.

England doesn’t boast of a memorable record at the venue recently and lost their previous game against Pakistan as well. India had also won famously in 2014 when a green top was dished out by the curator and they are once again expected to trump the home side who are looking a bit brittle in the absence on Ben Stokes. Though they also have their fair share of problems and have to counter them first before even thinking of winning the encounter.

Here we bring you the predicted XI of India for the second Test match:

Openers (KL Rahul, Murali Vijay)

A change is expected right at the top of the order. Shikhar Dhawan disappointed with his batting and fielding in the series opener and KL Rahul should open the innings with Murali Vijay. Rahul also didn’t have a great game but deserves another chance. It is important for him to prove his mettle and play out the new ball which does a lot in England.

Vijay has looked a pale shadow of himself so far and should concentrate on leaving the balls outside the off-stump instead of poking at those. He has the ability to dig in after surviving the new ball and the scenes at Lord’s could be completely different if he manages to do it.

Middle-Order (Cheteshwar Pujara, Virat Kohli (c), Ajinkya Rahane, Dinesh Karthik (wk))

Leaving Cheteshwar Pujara out was a shocking decision from the visitors which probably cost them the game as well. His County experience should come in handy for India and his prowess with the willow cannot be undermined looking at his recent records. On his day, Pujara will play a stubborn knock which frustrates the bowler which is what Team India exactly wants from him.

Virat Kohli remains key to this line-up as always. By no means, he can lose his touch at any stage of this series. He played out of his skin at Edgbaston and will have to do the same time and again over the next few weeks. Lord’s wicket will challenge him even more and he is tipped to come out on top yet again.

Ajinkya Rahane should be remembering the wonderful ton he scored at the same venue four years ago on a green top which made him ‘overseas specialist’. He strangely looked out of touch in the series opener and needs to hold this line-up together at any cost. Rahane’s form is the key to India’s success in this series let alone this game.

Dinesh Karthik‘s chances in Tests are running out fast. He was castled by Stokes in the first innings and then lost his wicket after getting a start in the chase. With Rishabh Pant waiting in the wings, he should deliver almost immediately and what better than doing it at the Home of Cricket.

All-Rounders (Hardik Pandya, Ravichandran Ashwin)

Hardik Pandya was the second highest run-scorer in the second innings of Edgbaston Test. But his all-round abilities are not coming to the fore. He has to bat much better than he’s done so far in his career and should look penetrative with the ball. His 10 harmless overs must not have given any confidence to his captain which led to him not bowling in the next innings.

Ravichandran Ashwin was the best bowler when all eyes were on the fast bowlers. He bowled a couple of dream deliveries to Alastair Cook which got him and kept the opposition on the tenterhooks all the time. With the heat in London, his role could become even more crucial in this Test. He might have to bowl long spells and pick wickets at regular intervals.

Bowlers (Umesh Yadav, Mohammed Shami, Ishant Sharma)

The team management might ponder to bring in Kuldeep Yadav for Umesh Yadav but the latter bowled well in the second innings. But if the second spinner has to play, Umesh might be the bowler to make way. His pace is his strength and if he plays, he should concentrate on his line and length. He wasted the new ball in the first Test and is expected to fare much better.

It was one of those Test matches when Mohammed Shami didn’t need the second innings to come into his groove. He looked settled from the word go and picked wickets at crucial junctures. He and Ishant Sharma were incisive throughout and the duo will have to do the job again with the new cherry. If they fire together from both the ends, there is no reason why the visitors can’t level the series with a memorable victory.

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