Virat Kohli has decisions to make in the second India vs England Test
The first Test of the ongoing India vs England series ended in a draw after rain prevented even one ball from being bowled on the final day. Both sides believed they could have won the match, but India would certainly rue that they are not 1-0 up in the series.
The action of the India vs England series now shifts to Lord’s and both sides have several selection conundrums to ponder upon. With sports, there are always the ‘coulda, shoulda’ and scenarios that prop up, but the series is still on level terms.
For starters, the weather at Lord’s is set fair and this could gladden both India and England and this second match promises to be an intriguing affair.
Here we discuss the main talking points for the second India vs England Test match:
#1 India’s R Ashwin question
Will R Ashwin play in the second India vs England Test?
Ahead of the second India vs England match, Shardul Thakur has been ruled out and this once again throws up the R Ashwin question. Ashwin in for Thakur should be a straight swap, but India would still be scarred with their performance in the World Test Championship final and hence it complicates matters.
If the sun shines on all five days, the track at Lord’s could offer turn and assistance to the spinners and hence, Ashwin could be a handy pick. However, reports suggested that ahead of the second Test, Ishant Sharma had a complete session in the nets, and if he is picked as the fourth seamer, it would leave India with a rather long and vulnerable tail.
So, will India be tempted to go in with two spinners at Lord’s – a venue that helped spin play a holding role for a long time, or will they leave their tail exposed and include an extra seamer?
#2 Moeen Ali is back in the mix
Moeen is back for the second India vs England Test
Moeen Ali has been drafted into the squad for the second India vs England match and he should walk straight back into the playing XI. The left-hander has been in fine form in the Hundred and could walk out to bat at number 7 as England could still be tempted to play Sam Curran at number 8 in order to retain their four-pronged pace attack.
Moeen’s record against India has been superb and he will add a lot of balance to the side – both as a spinner and as a lower-order batsman. He has picked up 31 wickets at an average of 22.22 in his last seven home Tests against India. However, it needs to be mentioned here that Moeen’s recall for this second India vs England match is not quite ideal – his last first-class match was the second Test against India in Chennai in February and it also remains his only first-class match since 2019.
#3 England potentially without James Anderson and Stuart Broad
James Anderson remains doubtful for the second India vs England Test match
Stuart Broad has been ruled out of the remainder of the India vs England Test series as reports revealed a tear to his right calf muscle. The pacer underwent an MRI scan in London on Wednesday and it revealed the tear he suffered during the warm-up session ahead of the second Test at Lord’s.
Saqib Mahmood has been drafted into the squad as a cover and we could see him make his Test debut as there are also injury concerns to their leader James Anderson.
According to reports, Anderson missed training on Wednesday morning with a tight quad. If both Stuard Broad and James Anderson do not feature in this match, it will be only England’s second home Test since 2007 where both their senior bowlers will not feature.
Craig Overton is already in the squad and he could replace Anderson. The England management is keeping a close eye on their star seamer.