India captain Virat Kohli may have felt shortchanged by the weather gods with his team in a pretty solid position to win the series opening Test against England last week at Trent Bridge. Chasing 209, India were a solid 52/1 at the close of play on the penultimate day.
But rain washed out the entire fifth day as the play was abandoned without a single ball bowled. The contest thus ended in a draw with the tourists feeling a golden chance to take an early series lead was denied.
That is now in the past and there’s nothing either set of players could have done. What they can do is plan for the next Test which starts at the hallowed Lord’s from Thursday and Kohli will be pondering whether to take the field with the same playing XI or if it has to be tweaked a bit to give his team a better chance at winning at a venue where India haven’t beaten England in seven years.
Experts though have made their suggestions. Sanjay Manjrekar has advised India to drop Ravindra Jadeja a and Shardul Thakur and instead further bolster their batting order. He thinks adding Hanuma Vihari in the middle order and Ravichandran Ashwin as their bowling allrounder will be prudent for Lord’s.
On the other hand, Laxman also advocates for the inclusion of Ravichandran Ashwin but he also wants Ishant Sharma, provided he’s 100 per cent fit, to be in the side in place of Mohammed Siraj. “He can also contribute with the bat, we know that he’s got 5 Test hundreds. Ashwin will give Virat Kohli options irrespective of what type of conditions they play in,” Laxman said on ESPNcricinfo.
So what should India do?
Well, Siraj did nothing wrong at Trent Bridge and if the conditions at Lord’s favour swing bowling, he might still get the nod ahead of Ishant. While the bowlers have been quite good, it’s India’s middle-order that looks a bit wobbly at the moment.
Neither Cheteshwar Pujara nor Ajinkya Rahane scored runs in the first innings of the first Test. Add to that, Kohli is also undergoing a dry spell, recording yet another duck in Test cricket.
There are reports that Shardul has a niggle and if he’s unfit, that opens the door for Ashwin’s inclusion. However, that means India playing with two spinners and three pacers. Should they opt for a specialist batter, there will be a toss up between Jadeja and Ashwin then.
Here’s our probable team for Lord’s Test
India’s Predicted XI For 2nd Test: Rohit Sharma, KL Rahul, Cheteshwar Pujara, Virat Kohli (captain), Ajinkya Rahane, Rishabh Pant (wk), Ravindra Jadeja, Shardul Thakur/Ravichandran Ashwin, Mohammed Siraj/Ishant Sharma, Mohammed Shami, Jasprit bumrah
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