The Indian team will take lessons from their mistakes in the second cricket Test against England on a spinner-assisted pitch starting on Saturday as skipper Virat Kohli is well aware that being left out here would mean losing a place in the World Test Championship final. The historic victory on the tour of Australia came down with a 227-run defeat in the first Test to England. Now there will be no scope for fault or complacency for India in the upcoming three matches.
Normally, Kohli, who has done his best under pressure, will also have to win the iron as a captain. The match will bring the spectators back to the ground and it can act as a ‘tonic’ for the Indian team. India have to win two matches to enter the World Test Championship final and not lose a single. The England team has a new wicketkeeper in the form of Ben Fox and James Anderson will be replaced by Stuart Broad. Moin Ali has also been included in the team in place of Dom Bess.
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Jofra Archer is out of the squad due to an elbow injury, replacing all-rounder Chris Woakes. England’s number one batsman and captain Joe Root had said, “It is a shock for Jofra not to play but hopefully he will be fit by the third Test”. Chepak’s new darker pitch is different from the first Test pitch and is expected to turn around. Ravichandran Ashwin will need support from the other end. The fit Akshar Patel is almost certain to play, although the possibility of Kuldeep Yadav’s selection is unlikely.
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On the turning pitch, he is a better option than Wavashington Sundar but all-rounder Hardik Pandya can be fielded if the batting is preferred. Sundar can become an all-rounder in the coming times, but he is not yet capable of playing as a third specialist spinner. Kuldeep is a good option but the team management has been ignoring him constantly. On the other hand, Hardik also specializes in fast runs with ten overs to spare.
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After the defeat of the first Test, the team management had two options. The grass should be left on the first pitch and the second grass should be removed and add some water so that the pitch dries in the sun. In such a situation it will start breaking down prematurely but in the past such experiments have been reversed. The first day on the Turnig pitch in Pune in 2017, Steve Smith put pressure. The hosts were not aware that the ball would take such a turn.
Kevin Pietersen scored 186 on a similar pitch in 2012 in Mumbai. In both the matches, the opposing spinners took full advantage of the situation and chased India into his lair. The toss will also play an important role and Kohli will be eyeing the bat first. Rohit Sharma will be expecting a big innings which he is not able to play. With Kohli at the other end Cheteshwar Pujara, Ajinkya Rahane or Rishabh Pant will have to play big innings.
India: Virat Kohli (captain), Ajinkya Rahane, Rohit Sharma, Shubman Gill, Cheteshwar Pujara, Rishabh Pant, Ravichandran Ashwin, Jaspreet Bumrah, Ishant Sharma, Mohammad Siraj, Washington Sundar, Kuldeep Yadav, Akshar Patel, Hardik Pandya, Mayank Agarwal, KL Rahul , Riridhiman Saha, Shardul Thakur.
England: Joe Root (captain), Dominic Sibley, Rory Burns, Ollie Pope, Dan Laurence, Ben Stokes, Ben Fox, Moeen Ali, Chris Woakes, Stuart Broad, Jack Leach, Olly Stone.