India keen to fightback

The third essay moves to Trent Bridge and India trail 2-0 in the five-match Test series, with all to play for in testing conditions. India were competitive in the first Test but conditions and good swing bowling combined to hurt them in Lord’s where they collapsed to a massive defeat.

Before both the teams meet in what promises to be another gripping affair, we take a look at both the squads.

From the Indian dressing room:

Good news is that Jasprit Bumrah is fit and raring to go. The right-arm quick’s return will bolster the side’s confidence especially after being cornered by media and critics. India is likely to tinker with their combinations too.

Shikhar and Vijay opened at Edgbaston. Rahul and Vijay took guard in Lord’s and the combination still doesn’t look set. With Vijay unable to score in two innings at Lord’s and Rahul being ineffective too, it will be interesting to see what the team management does at Trent Bridge.

Cheteshwar Pujara was unlucky to be run-out in the first innings and fought for 87 balls in the second innings before being cleaned up by Stuart Broad on 17. India will want their number three to be solid up front and score runs to ease out the pressure on the rest.

Virat Kohli has recovered from his stiff back and India will be hoping to see him back among runs at Trent Bridge. Ajinkya Rahane has had a rough patch and now a tendency to poke at deliveries outside off which lead to his dismissals. He will also aim to play with a steady mind and get back to scoring ways.

Karthik has managed only 21 runs from 4 outings including two ducks. India might be looking at a potential replacement in an attacking Rishabh Pant who averaged 63 in the two unofficial Tests in England.

Hardik Pandya, India’s second highest run-getter in the series has a lot to prove and the all-rounder will be hoping to put all the criticism to rest by performing in both the departments.

Ravichandran Ashwin might find himself as the lone spinner with Jasprit Bumrah most likely playing in place of Kuldeep Yadav. Ishant Sharma and Mohammed Shami both will find some respite with Bumrah back in the mix.

From the English dressing room:

England have surprisingly dropped their hero from the first Test, Sam Curran to accommodate a returning Ben Stokes. Adil Rashid who didn’t get a single over at Lord’s continues to keep his place which could be a signal for a slow pitch in Nottingham or rather – a bluff.

Alastair Cook looked comfortable during his stay at Lord’s but a lapse in concentration caused his downfall. Cook has established a reputation to either fall cheaply or score daddy tons. India will be hoping for the former to happen in Trent Bridge.

Keaton Jennings will feel the heat too but the young southpaw has enough hours of rigid training behind him to make an impact. Joe Root has led England fantastically both with bat and on the field.

Ollie Pope barely displayed any nerves on debut but England will be hoping big from him at number four. What follows after this is a formidable set of batsmen that any attack will be afraid of.

Jonny Bairstow is in a rich vein of form. Jos Buttler hasn’t been among runs but is a constant threat and can score runs at a brisk pace to turn games around. Ben Stokes will be hungry to score too after a game-turning spell at Edgbaston while Chris Woakes, after hitting a match-winning 137* at Lord’s will be feeling confident to contribute too.

India’s main test again will be against England’s senior pros – James Anderson and Stuart Broad who can shoot oppositions cheaply if the pitch and conditions aid swing bowling.

How England use Adil Rashid will all depend on how India’s top four play against seam bowling.

Overall, India will have to come out and play out of their skins to first beat the conditions and then the home side in Trent Bridge.