After a huge upset in the first Test, England will be keen to keep the momentum rolling as they face an Indian side who need to lift when the 2nd Test match between India and England commences on Saturday.
Off the back of a massive 227-run victory, England will be riding a wave of momentum as they come into this 2nd Test in search of another crucial win in the scheme of this series. Joe Root continued his stellar run of form while the Indian batsmen had no answers for the quality bowling display from the touring side. India were extremely disappointing with both bat and ball and were behind the eight ball from start to finish. Their bowlers were unable to make any solid inroads in the first innings as England, led by Root, posted a massive 578 runs to set up the match.
Playing in his 100th Test match, the English skipper put together another masterclass innings which saw him post a double century - his second in his last three matches. His 218 was the highest score ever by an English player in India. There were some solid contributions throughout the order but still some question marks hang over the England XI. Jasprit Bumrah and Ravi Ashwin were the pick of the Indian bowlers, as Ashwin collected 9 wickets for the match. Virat Kohli was unable to make his mark on the match, falling cheaply in the first innings for 11 before being undone in the second innings for a well-made 72. You can guarantee Kohli won’t be kept down for long and will be absolutely desperate to get his side back in the winners circle.
All eyes will be on the England side coming into this 2nd Test with a lot of discussion around resting James Anderson or not, after the experienced quick produced some of the best swing bowling we’ve seen. Stuart Broad is a chance to play after being left out of the first Test with Jofra Archer being ruled out of this one with an elbow injury.
India Squad: Virat Kohli (c), Ajinkya Rahane, Rohit Sharma, Cheteshwar Pujara, Shubman Gill, Mayank Agarwal, Hardik Pandya, Washington Sundar, Ravi Ashwin, Axar Patel, Rishabh Pant, Wriddhiman Saha, KL Rahul, Kuldeep Yadav, Jasprit Bumrah, Ishant Shama, Mohammed Siraj, Shardul Thakur
England Squad: Joe Root (c), Zak Crawley, Dan Lawrence, Dom Sibley, Moeen Ali, Ben Stokes, Chris Woakes, Rory Burns, Jos Buttler, Ben Foakes, Ollie Pope, Jofra Archer, James Anderson, Dominic Bess, Stuart Broad, Jack Leach, Olly Stone
MA Chindabaram Stadium, Chennai - Saturday 13th February, 3:00pm AEDT
After heading into the first Test, I was confident that India would be the ones producing a big win, but England certainly showed that they can’t be underestimated in these conditions as their spin bowlers actually outperformed the home team. I think there will be one or two changes made by India with Shahbaz Nadeem performing poorly in the first Test. I am expecting India to stick with their three spinners theory and I wouldn't be surprised to see Nadeem make way for Axar Patel.
The pitch was a massive talking point coming out of the first Test after looking extremely flat for the first few days. With the 2nd Test being played at the same ground, the toss will be a crucial factor in the outcome of this game. Batting first was a massive advantage in the first Test and I think this may be telling again in this one.
With that being said, I am expecting India to bounce back after an extremely disappointing display in the first Test. They very rarely lose two matches in a row on home soil and the injury to Jofra Archer is a massive blow to the tourists. Without Archer and the talks of resting James Anderson, the English bowlers will have their work cut out for them in this one. India showed some good signs in patches throughout the match with Rishabh Pant, Ravi Ashwin, Washington Sundar and Jasprit Bumrah all performing well for their side. Throw in the fact that Kohli struggled with the bat, the Indian skipper will be keen to prove why he is the number one batsmen in world cricket.
With Virat missing out in the first innings and throwing away a good chance at a century in the second innings, I am expeting the Indian skipper to bounce back in a big way in this match. Very rarely can you keep a player like Kohli out of the runs for long and with the added pain of losing at home in the first Test, he will be as fired up as ever to produce for his side.
Rishabh Pant has been the best performing Indian player with the bat recently and that tells you all you need to know about the rest of the side. Kohli is a crucial piece to the batting lineup and will need to be at his brilliant best to level this series at 1-1. Pretty keen to back him in the first innings (and second innings for that matter) as he looks primed to post a big score and match motors with his opposing captain.
Joe Root provided us with a nice return in the first innings of the last Test with a massive double century and while he is the obvious choice again here, I am going to look elsewhere for a bit of value in the English team. With the captain playing so well at the moment, Ben Stokes has flown under the radar a little with Root taking so much of the focus. Stokes is arguably the best all-rounder in the world at the moment and showed glimpses of that in the first Test with a well made 82 in the first innings.
With a fired up Indian bowling lineup and the expectation that the wicket may do a bit more than the first Test, it could open up a big opportunity for Stokes in the middle order. I am hoping we can see a few early wickets tumble at the top of the order and Stokes come in and steady the innings and spend some time in the middle. At the price he is worth a bet and I am keen to roll with him here.
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