VISAKHAPATNAM: When the second Test starts in Visakhapatnam on Friday, Ben Stokes’ England team may opt for an all-spin bowling approach against an inexperienced Indian batting lineup. England overcame a 190-run deficit in the first innings to win by a surprising 28 runs last week in Hyderabad, causing Rohit Sharma’s team to endure only their fourth home defeat in 47 Tests since 2013.
On a pitch that is predicted to turn quickly from the outset, India will try to even the five-match series without veteran Test players Virat Kohli, KL Rahul, and Ravindra Jadeja. They have replaced the injured Rahul and Kohli, who withdrew from the first two Tests for personal reasons, with uncapped batters Rajat Patidar and Sarfaraz Khan.
Washington Sundar, a spinner, joins the team in place of Jadeja. After a delay in obtaining a visa, England’s uncapped spinner Shoaib Bashir finally joined his colleagues on Sunday. Bashir might start if England goes “quids-in” with a four-pronged spin attack, according to coach Brendon McCullum.
As England looks to increase their series lead to 2-0, McCullum, a New Zealander, told SEN Radio, “We won’t be afraid to play all our spinners.” Bashir “comes into the calculations,” McCullum added, after left-arm spinner Tom Hartley claimed nine wickets in his Hyderabad debut while lone pace spearhead Mark Wood struggled for 25 wicketless overs.
“We’ll assess the situation and give you a call. You’re not going to answer every call correctly, particularly this one,” he continued. In the first Test, slow bowlers took 18 of India’s 20 wickets; the remaining two came via run-outs. England will select their lineup after evaluating the conditions in the southern metropolis. “Some of the wickets are difficult to read, but we’ll decide and try our best to stick with that.” Then, we’ll assess our position,” McCullum remarked.
“The lineup seems weak.”
With 14 victories in 19 Test matches thanks to a daring style of play known as “Bazball,” England’s fortunes have drastically improved under the leadership of “Baz” McCullum and captain Stokes. Former spinner Harbhajan Singh issued a warning, citing India’s inexperience as Test batting leaders as a cause for concern. On his YouTube commentary channel, he stated, “Yes, there is Rohit Sharma, but (Ravichandran) Ashwin is the next best run-scorer.”
He continued, “The line-up looks weak in terms of batting,” adding that the hosts could be hurt by a challenging spinning pitch. He remarked, “This batting unit is young, they need time, and they might even perform well if they get a good track.”
Ollie Pope of England turned the tide of the match in Hyderabad by scoring an incredible 196 in the second innings, demonstrating how to handle the conditions. Sweep strokes on both sides of the wicket hindered the Indian spin attack during Pope’s 112-run sixth-wicket stand with wicketkeeper-batsman Ben Foakes, who made 34.
According to Foakes, “quite a few of the lads have a game plan that will do well on those pitches.” “It’s more of a mental adjustment in how to approach it, as the bowler is a huge favorite to win the match under those circumstances.
“We used to be afraid to leave our shells because of this fear.”Acknowledging the likelihood of your departure on certain types of terrain allows you to occasionally dominate as well. Since England, led by Alastair Cook, triumphed in a home Test series in 2012, India has never lost. India won the four-match series 3-1 on their previous tour to England, three years ago, despite losing the opening Test. -AFP