England vs India, 2nd Test, Preview: Virat Kohli's men keen to exploit the home team's recent vulnerability at Lord's

England vs India, 2nd Test, Preview: Virat Kohli’s men keen to exploit the home team’s recent vulnerability at Lord’s

Both the teams will be thinking to field the second spinner.

Joe Root
Joe Root of England looks on during a training session. (Photo by Philip Brown/Getty Images)

Very few must have forgotten the way India had spiritedly played on a green top at Lord’s four years ago. Ajinkya Rahane and Ishant Sharma had emerged the best players for the visitors and both of them are part of the touring squad this time around. They will be expected to perform the same way when the two teams stack up against each other on Thursday at the Home of Cricket.

The pitch will surely not be as green as it was in 2014 which gives a direct advantage to the Virat Kohli led Indian team. However, they will have to make sure though that they bat well whether they do it first or second. The bowlers are doing their job and there is no doubt that they will up for the challenge yet again. It is the batsmen who have to give them a good enough score to bowl at.

England, on the other hand, have other issues to deal with. If not for Sam Curran‘s blistering knock in the second innings, they would’ve been lagging in the series with a lot more questions to ponder over. Ben Stokes isn’t playing this Test which leaves a big hole in their bowling department especially. But he is also a game changer with the bat on his day. Also, they haven’t been at their best at Lord’s recently and have lost their recent encounter against Pakistan.

Toss: England won the toss and elected to field first

England (Playing XI): Alastair Cook, Keaton Jennings, Joe Root(c), Ollie Pope, Jonny Bairstow(w), Jos Buttler, Chris Woakes, Sam Curran, Adil Rashid, Stuart Broad, James Anderson

Changes: IN – Ollie Pope, Chris Woakes, OUT – Dawid Malan, Ben Stokes

India (Playing XI): Murali Vijay, Lokesh Rahul, Cheteshwar Pujara, Virat Kohli(c), Ajinkya Rahane, Dinesh Karthik(w), Hardik Pandya, Ravichandran Ashwin, Kuldeep Yadav, Mohammed Shami, Ishant Sharma

Changes: IN – Cheteshwar Pujara, Kuldeep Yadav, OUT – Shikhar Dhawan, Umesh Yadav

Team Combination

England

England have named their 12-man squad 24 hours before the game. Ollie Pope will make his debut at the age of 20 and will bat at number 4 where Dawid Malan endured a tough outing at Edgbaston. Either of Chris Woakes and Moeen Ali will make it to the final XI as Jamie Porter has once again missed out. The rest of the line-up is the same and the batsmen especially will have to make amends in this game.

Sam Curran will be once again in focus after the Man of the Match performance in Birmingham. Even Alastair Cook will be under pressure after being foxed by Ravi Ashwin in the opening game of the series.

India

Unlike their opponents, the visitors have kept their cards close to their hearts. There’s always been a sense of excitement around the playing XI of India ever since Virat Kohli has taken over the reins. Shikhar Dhawan is likely to be replaced by Cheteshwar Pujara after a poor show in the first Test. There might be a temptation of playing two spinners and much will depend on conditions on offer on the day of the match.

Kuldeep Yadav might play in that case and Umesh Yadav looks the likeliest to make way. Mohammed Shami, Ishant Sharma and Ravi Ashwin all have done well and are expected to continue in the same vein. However, the batsmen should take up more responsibility and score runs which is most important at Lord’s.

Focus will be on

Alastair Cook (England)

For the umpteenth time in his illustrious career, he will be under pressure. But this time it is different. Cook hasn’t been scoring runs on a consistent basis for his side at the top of the order which is putting the middle-order under pressure as well. Everyone is aware of his abilities and if Cook gets in, no one can deny him a big score. But the veteran is going through an extended rough patch and he will have to come out of it as soon as possible.

Ajinkya Rahane (India)

Wind back the clock to 2014. Rahane is one of the best overseas batsmen for Team India. But at present, he is struggling to even score runs and is unsure of his position in the team. Lord’s can be the perfect venue for him to redeem his mojo as the vice-captain of India had smashed one of the best centuries of his career. The time has once again come for him to prove himself and if he starts scoring with confidence, a completely different Indian team will be on the park for the rest of the series.

Stat Attack

399 – Ishant Sharma is just one wicket away from completing 400 wickets in first-class cricket while Adil Rashid needs seven more for the milestone of 500 wickets in this format.

2910 – Rahane is 90 runs away from completing 3000 runs in Test cricket. He also needs 82 more runs to accomplish 9000 runs in his first-class career.

Head to Head

Matches – 118 | England Won – 44; India Won – 25 | Draw – 49

Broadcast details

TV – Sony SIX, Sony SIX HD, Sony TEN 3

Live streaming– Sony LIV

Match Timings – 3:30 PM IST

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