The second Test between ‘Bazball’ and India spinners will begin in Visakhapatnam on Friday, with hosts finding themselves in a similar position as they did almost four years ago.
In 2021, India lost the first game but managed to bounce back and clinch the series. With already facing a similar situation, India will back themselves to take away the series once again.
After clinching a 28-run in the first Test, England have named three frontline spinners – Tom Hartley, Rehan Ahmed and Shoaib Bashir, who lack a bit of experience. Jack Leach who holds the highest experience is on the sidelines due to a knee injury.
In his absence, Joe Root would look to inspire the team and pick up wickets if the young spin trio fail to rise to the occasion.
While India lack experience in spin, India will also lack a mature batting line-up. Virat Kohli will miss the game due to personal reasons while KL Rahul and Ravindra Jadeja have been ruled out of the series due to injury.
With Jadeja on the sidelines, Kuldeep Yadav could get a chance to feature in the squad. He has missed 56 of India’s 64 Tests since making his debut in 2017. He has been patient to wait for his opportunity which are hard to come by. But the second Test could give him a window that he has been eagerly waiting for.
On the eve of the second clash, India wicketkeeper KS Bharat said that the squad has devised fresh tactics to thwart England’s aggressive approach, one of which is employing the sweep shot when necessary during the second Test in Visakhapatnam.
Bharat claimed the team had improved since the first game of the series when England staged an amazing comeback to win by a margin of 28 runs.
“In our team meetings, we spoke about the things we could have done better and yes, we certainly have few plans. (We are) looking at the way how they went about the first game, playing some reverse. That’s something we have worked on,” Bharat said in a pre-match press conference.
“After the game, the atmosphere is absolutely relaxed. They told us not to panic, which we are not. But then the instruction is very clear, it’s a long Test series and we have played a lot of series like this in the past,” he added.
On the other hand, England’s Test skipper Ben Stokes is expecting the pitch to be a “bit better” in comparison to the Hyderabad surface.
“It might be a good wicket for maybe a day or two. But out here in India and other parts of the subcontinent, you tend to see it start to spin more and more as the Test goes deeper and deeper. Even though it does look like there’s a little bit more moisture in there, with the heat – and today is very hot again – any foot holes and stuff like that might come into play the further the Test goes,” Stokes said in the pre-match press conference.
“It might play a little bit better initially than it did last week [in Hyderabad], but we don’t like to go in with too many preconceived ideas. We like to have some kind of idea because obviously that’s how we pick the team, then we just play what’s in front of us,” Stokes added. -ANI