India aim to draw level at Lord’s

After a closely fought first battle at Edgbaston, the Test bandwagon moves to the Home of Cricket — Lord’s for the second Test. England won the first Test by 31 runs despite Virat Kohli’s sizzling 149 and a gritty 51 thanks to Sam Curran who picked wickets with the ball and scored a breezy 63 to take the game away from the Indians, late on Day 3.

Before both the sides meet in London, here is an in-depth analysis of what the squads look like.

From the Indian dressing room:

India’s bowling coach Bharat Arun mentioned about Jasprit Bumrah bowling in the nets but said that the right-arm quick won’t be in contention for a spot in the playing XI until his plaster comes off. He was also content with the bowling unit and fancied no change unless the conditions force a tweak in the side.

India’s bowlers stood tall by taking all 20 wickets in the match. Ashwin impressed in the first innings and Ishant Sharma snared an impressive five-wicket haul in the second. Mohammed Shami was back at his best, making the old English Duke ball talk. Umesh Yadav was good too, clocking speeds in excess of 140 kmph consistently.

The team management might be tempted to play an extra spinner if the there is no tinge of green on the wicket, which is unlikely citing the cool conditions in London currently.

If this happens at all — India has two options in slow-left arm Ravindra Jadeja and chinaman Kuldeep Yadav.

There have been questions surrounding India’s batting line-up and if they need to field an extra batsman, which according to Bharat Arun is a “conservative approach.”

Cheteshwar Pujara, India’s regular number three, found himself sitting on the bench but the Saurashtra batsman could see his return in place of an out-of-form Shikhar Dhawan.

Murali Vijay stuck around for 62 balls, managing only 26 runs apart from being dismissed twice. India’s vice-captain, Ajinkya Rahane could garner only 17 runs from his two outings which hurt India.

The visitors will need both their senior pros to step up and apply themselves at Lord’s. India’s all-rounder Hardik Pandya was the only batsman apart from Virat Kohli to aggregate more than 50 runs in the Test but did not have a memorable outing with the ball. He will want to emulate what Stokes did for the hosts in the second innings with the ball.

Skipper Virat Kohli has got an advice from Sachin Tendulkar. The master blaster wants the Indian captain to continue to remain hungry no-matter-what. To flourish in England was on Virat Kohli’s to-do-lists ahead of this tour and he will only want to get better when he takes his guard in the second Test.

From the English dressing room:

Joe Root’s English side will want to continue with their winning momentum when they walk out to face the number one Test team on Thursday in the second Test.

England will be without the services of all-rounder Ben Stokes, who changed the course of the match by removing a well-settled Virat Kohli during India’s chase. Stokes has been excluded from the squad due to his ongoing court case.

The hosts have also dropped Dawid Malan after a long-string of low scores and possibly poor fielding in the slips. They have brought in the 20-year-old Sussex ‘keeper-batsman Ollie Pope to bat at number four. Pope, who has just 15 first-class appearances under his belt, is not the only youngster in their side.

The other 20-year-old in their ranks, Sam Curran, was the difference between the two sides at Edgbaston. England’s two senior stars — James Anderson and Stuart Broad combined for just 6 out of the 20 wickets that fell in the first Test so the hosts will be hoping for more from them in addition to Curran’s left-arm swing.

Adil Rashid was used effectively by Root, to clean up the Indian tail and the wrist spinner should keep his place for the second essay. England have called up Chris Woakes to replace Stokes and there will be a tussle between him and Moeen Ali for a spot in the playing XI. The rest of the English side is expected to remain the same.

The second Test gets underway at Lord’s on Thursday at 3.30 PM IST.