After the loss in Edgbaston and Lord’s, the Indian Test team looks eager for its first victory in the Test series against England in Nottingham starting August 18. India lost the first Test in Edgbaston by 31 runs, and the second one by an innings and 159 runs (shame, shame). The Lord’s Test was a cornucopia of perfect conditions — there was swing, blistering cover drives and rain. The downpour washed away Day 1. The next day, the English were firing all cylinders with the conditions suiting them to the T. India skipper Virat Kohli scored a century in the first Test, but failed in the second. All the batsmen, from openers Murli Vijay and KL Rahul to the middle order Ajinkya Rahane and Virat Kohli himself, flunked.
The Indian batsmen were demolished by English bowlers. James Anderson became the only bowler for England to bag more than 100 wickets at Lord’s and tot up 553 wickets.
Anderson took 9 wickets at Lord’s. England all-rounder Chris Woakes, who scored 137 in the first innings, secured the match for the home side. Woakes also took 3 wickets in the match. Apart from James Anderson and Chris Woakes, England saw a stellar turn from wicket-keeper batsman Jonny Bairstow. He accompanied Woakes with a steady inning but failed to score a century as he got out at 93 runs to Hardik Pandya.
The Indian squad was skewed. With Cheteshwar Pujara, a non-Kohli camp player, replacing Delhi bat Shikhar Dhawan and Kuldeep Yadav substituting Umesh Yadav, the team was left with four bowlers – spinners Ravichandran Ashwin and Kuldeep Yadav and quicks Mohammed Shami and Ishant Sharma. Then there was all-rounder Hardik Pandya. Not one could bowl to save their lives.
The deployment of Pujara, after Virat Kohli and co failed in the first Test, didn’t work. Pujara was run out in an apparent miscommunication between him and his skipper. Likewise, in the second innings, he was scalped by Stuart Broad thanks to a disastrous shot. India might have to make a lot of changes ahead of the third Test match at Nottingham. Rishabh Panth, who was named in the squad after his performance against England Lions, can get a look in as he was seen practising.
If Panth gets in, then Dinesh Karthik may have to sit it out. Also, this time India might go with only one spinner as this Test match is a decider. From this point on, India has to win all 3 Tests to pocket the Test series. The weather conditions are looking fine right now, but there could be rain on Day 3.
Virat Kohli has to work on his patience to craft calm and plentiful innings at the crease. On the other side, England has announced their playing XI. In-form bowler Sam Curran has been replaced by the all-rounder Ben Stokes, who was earlier facing the court.
England: After the A-class batting by Chris Woakes and Jonny Bairstow, both of them are going to be the impact players, as Woakes can swing the bowl. Along with them, James Anderson can’t be neglected if it is about the impact players. Anderson has bagged a lot of wickets and is still greedy for more. He has been the only bowler, who can swing the ball both sides. Hence, he is the player to watch out for.
India: Virat Kohli can be dangerous for England as he has the potential to change his form within the span of a few overs. Cheteshwar Pujara is a difficult player to beat when it comes to defence. Among bowlers, Ravichandran Ashwin is a difficult player to deal with as he knows how to confuse the batsmen with the variations. But for Ashwin to work his magic, the batsmen have to put up a half-decent total.
India vs England Test matches: Head to Head in Nottingham
Test matches – 6, India Won – 01, England Won – 02, Drawn – 03
India: Virat Kohli(c), Cheteshwar Pujara, Murali Vijay, Lokesh Rahul, Ajinkya Rahane, Dinesh Karthik/Rishabh Panth (wk), Hardik Pandya, Ravichandran Ashwin, Ishant Sharma, Mohammed Shami, Umesh Yadav/Jasprit Bumrah
England Playing XI (as announced): Keaton Jennings, Alastair Cook, Joe Root (c), Ollie Pope, Jonny Bairstow (wk), Jos Buttler, Ben Stokes, Chris Woakes, Adil Rashid, Stuart Broad, James Anderson.
India: Virat Kohli(c), Shikhar Dhawan, Lokesh Rahul, Dinesh Karthik, Kuldeep Yadav, Hardik Pandya, Umesh Yadav, Shardul Thakur, Murali Vijay, Cheteshwar Pujara, Ajinkya Rahane, Karun Nair, Rishabh Pant, Ravichandran Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja, Jasprit Bumrah, Ishant Sharma, Mohammed Shami
England: Joe Root(c), Moeen Ali, James Anderson, Jonny Bairstow, Stuart Broad, Jos Buttler, Alastair Cook, Sam Curran, Keaton Jennings, Ollie Pope, James Porter, Adil Rashid, Chris Woakes, Ben Stokes