India vs England, First Test, Match Preview

After facing a big defeat in the opening Test, Team India will face England in the second Test of the series. One more loss will eliminate India from the World Test Championship final. 

Match Timings: Feb 13, 9:30 AM IST 

Team Preview 

India and England stay in Chennai for the second Test of the series. England surprised hosts by 227 runs in the opening Test with a collective team effort. India suffered a defeat in home-Test after 2017 when Australia emerged victorious in Pune. Virat Kohli suffered a fourth consecutive defeat as captain, and Root maintained his unbeaten run as captain in Asia. England took an early advantage on a pure batting track by posting 578 runs in the first innings. Root scored his third century of this year, and he is in the form of his life. India provided the chance in the first innings by conceding a 241-run lead. They can find positives from the 2nd innings when the bowling unit bowled out the English side to 178, courtesy of Ashwin’s 6-wickets haul. Bumrah and Ashwin were exceptionally great in bowling. Ishant also had a decent outing. 

India lacked most in fourth and fifth bowling option. Sundar bowled just 26 overs throughout the match, and Nadeem was off the colors, conceding runs more than 4 runs per over. Changes are likely to happen in India, and Nadeem will be dropped to see Axar Patel there. Kuldeep Yadav might be recalled considering his record on spinning tracks. India would expect runs from Rohit and Rahane, who were not in good touch in the first Test. India needs to bounce back in this Test, and the pitch will be different after hosting the first Test. Spin will be in command from the first day, reducing the advantage of the toss. India cannot afford a loss here, considering the WTC Final. To book their place in the final at Lord’s, Kohli’s troops require to win at least two matches with one draw from the remaining three matches. 2-1 or 3-1 would be the better result for India to qualify for the finals. 

Meanwhile, England are highly boosted. It was not just Root’s contribution, but the whole team gave their best shot. Sibley played a gritty knock in the first innings, and Stokes played sheet-anchor in the middle. Jack Leach and Dom Bess read the pitch smartly and troubled the Indian batting lineup. Visitors would avoid any comeback from the hosts. Jos Buttler will not be available, and Foakes will replace him for this Test. Stuart Broad will replace Anderson to follow the rotation in subcontinent pitches. The last-minute injury of Archer allowed to see both Broad and Anderson together in pace-attack but England will go with Chris Woakes and Broad. Moeen Ali will be back in the squad in place of Dom Bess. 2nd innings collapse in batting has given India a slight hope to trouble the English unit with an extra spin. Chennai’s surface can offer a surprise package. India looks favorites as they have bounced back in Australia similarly after losing the first Test. Toss will play an important role, but spinners will decide the outcome from the first day. 

Pitch Report 

Chepauk’s surface is good for batting. The surface will provide more help to batsmen on the first two days, but spinners will be in a commanding position throughout the match. Batting in the fourth innings would be a challenging task. 

Possible XI 

India 

Virat Kohli (C), Rohit Sharma, Shubman Gill, Cheteshwar Pujara, Ajinkya Rahane, Rishabh Pant (wk), R Ashwin, Kuldeep Yadav/Axar Patel, Washington Sundar, Ishant Sharma, Jasprit Bumrah 

England 

Rory Burns, Dominic Sibley, Daniel Lawrence, Joe Root (c), Ben Stokes, Ollie Pope, Ben Foakes (wk), Moeen Ali, Jack Leach, Stuart Broad

Key Players 

India 

Rohit Sharma

Home Tests – Innings: 22, Runs: 1343, Avg: 79 

R Ashwin 

WTC 2019-21 – M: 10, Wickets: 44, Avg: 25.79 

England 

Joe Root 

WTC 2019-21 – M: 16, Runs: 1550, Avg: 53.44 

Jack Leach 

WTC 2019-21 – M: 7, Wickets: 28, Avg: 30.21