Lord’s Test: Batting key as India eye turnaround

Following the end of India’s 31-run defeat to England at Edgbaston, a glaring number flashed on the screen. It said: Virat Kohli: 200 runs, the other 10 batsmen: 214, highlighting the alarming gap between where the Indian captain and the rest of his batmen stand. A Test match that was to pit two competitive Test sides, ended up being a contest between England and Kohli.

READ: Kohli tempted to play two spinners at Lord’s

India lost, fair and square. And while many believe that it was Sam Curran’s counter attacking knock with the tail in the second innings that turned the match on its head, fact is that India’s batting lacks depth. The constant failures of Shikhar Dhawan on testing surfaces is alarming and the omission of Cheteshwar Pujara and Kuldeep Yadav has led to debates. But if there is one venue where India can pick up the pieces, it remains Lord’s, the only positive from their otherwise forgettable Test series from 2014.

READ: Lord’s Test, Statistical preview

Then again, their brittle batting order will need to step forward if India are to bounce back in the series. On the contrary, another failure shall lead to another setback, and make things extremely tough for Kohli and his men to even things up.

Date: August 9 to 13, 2018
Venue: Lord’s Cricket Ground
Time: 1530 IST
Weather: Mostly overcast with short spells of shower expected

Plenty depends on Indian batting if they are are stage a comeback at Lord’s

Team News

India

This remains the hot topic for all discussions. At Edgbaston, Dhawan was included as opening partner to Murali Vijay. He made 26 and 13, both times guilty of driving at wide deliveries and edging to second slip and the wicketkeeper. His constant failures abroad put Dhawan on thin ice. Ideally, KL Rahul, who has opened in 22 Tests for India, should be the one partnering Vijay at the top. This gives India a chance to bring back Pujara at No. 3. Despite managing 172 runs at 14.33 from six games Yorkshire in the County Championship, his ability to see off the shine allows the other batsmen respite in seaming conditions.

India may also change their four-pacers policy, leaving out either Hardik Pandya or Umesh Yadav, and replacing him with a spinner, ideally Kuldeep Yadav. With nine wickets in two Tests, Kuldeep has shown tremendous promise to carry his limited-overs exploits into the Test format and the presence of a quality wristspinner in the side shall likely prevent the England tail from wagging.

Probable XI: 1 Murali Vijay, 2 KL Rahul, 3 Cheteshwar Pujara, 4 Virat Kohli, 5 Ajinkya Rahane, 6 Dinesh Karthik, 7 Hardik Pandya, 8 R Ashwin, 9 Kuldeep Yadav, 10 Mohammed Shami, 11 Ishant Sharma

England

Ollie Pope, 20, will replace out-of-form Dawid Malan. England will miss their premier allrounder Ben Stokes owing to a trial on criminal charges, but they’ll have that base covered in the form of Chris Woakes. Other than assisting the three frontline seamers, Woakes can prove to be a vital option for England at No.8.

Probable XI: 1 Alastair Cook, 2 Keaton Jennings, 3 Joe Root, 4 Ollie Pope, 5 Jos Buttler, 6 Jonny Bairstow, 7 Sam Curran, 8 Chris Woakes, 9 Adil Rashid, 10 Stuart Broad, 11 James Anderson

Statistics

- Kohli is one win away from overtaking Sourav Ganguly’s tally of 21 victories and becoming the captain with the second-most Test wins for India. MS Dhoni (27) has won more wins as captain.

- James Anderson is just six scalps away from bagging 100 Test wickets at Lord’s.

Quotes

“Seamers obviously are going to come in to play with the Dukes ball in overcast conditions, and as in when the wicket wears off spinners can also come into play, so yes, it is a tempting thought to field two spinners.” – Virat Kohli, on the possibility of going ahead with two spinners

“One of the most exciting things about last week is that we weren’t at our best, certainly areas we can improve, but we found a way to win under pressure, and wrestle momentum back in our favour.” – Joe Root, on England’s resilience during the Edgbaston Test.