Date: 13-17 February, 2021
Time: 9:30 AM IST
Venue: M.A Chidambaram Stadium, Chennai
Live ball-by-ball commentary: SportsTiger App
The hostilities are set to resume between India and England on Saturday, when the sides contest the second Test of the four-match series. In the wake of their demoralising defeat to England in the first Test, India will be hoping that a change in playing surface at the Chepauk will work in their favour.
Since the touring party have taken the lead in the series, India must ensure they win by a margin of either 2-1 or 3-1 to secure their berth in the final of the inaugural ICC World Test Championship. The pressure is on Virat Kohli and his men to bounce back and deliver a result as spectators return to a stadium in India for the first time since the pandemic starting with Saturday.
Axar Patel is expected to undergo a late fitness assessment and the off-spinner will almost definitely feature if he is fit. Any opportunity for Kuldeep Yadav would only come to fruition if Axar is deemed unavailable.
The likes of Mohammed Siraj, Mayank Agarwal and KL Rahul are eagerly waiting for their opportunity, but it remains to be seen whether India take a gamble by roping them in for the second Test.
Jos Buttler will take no further part in the Test series since he is set to return to England as part of his workload management. Ben Foakes should replace him behind the stumps for the second Test.
It is highly unlikely that England would ring in wholesale changes, especially after their comprehensive win in the opening game.
Team India are under the pump yet again. Perhaps, it is not a bad thing after all. With their exploits in Australia, this team has proved that it is when the going gets tough that they actually get going. The 227-run defeat in the opening game was as good a kick up the backside as any for the hosts.
Despite being touted as favourites to win, Virat Kohli and company were second-best throughout the game. The defeat has not only put them on the back foot in the four-match series, but also pulled them down to fourth in the ICC World Test Championship table. If they need to earn their place in the final at Lord’s against New Zealand, India must turn this around quickly. Undoubtedly, captain Kohli finding some runs and Ravichandran Ashwin impressing with the ball in the second innings are encouraging signs. However, India will know they cannot leave it that late to show intent and desire to win.
Understandably, England will be riding high on confidence. The visitors have plenty of positives to count on ahead of the second Test. Joe Root is in the form of his life and has been leading from the front, while the likes of Dom Bess and Jack Leach will be relishing the opportunity to go out there and bowl on these tracks again. James Anderson also proved age is just a number with his remarkable spell in the second innings, whereas Jofra Archer is always a threat. England have areas they would want to improve, but the momentum is with them and they will be hoping to make the most of it come Saturday.
Probable Playing XI
Rohit Sharma, Shubman Gill, Cheteshwar Pujara, Virat Kohli (C), Ajinkya Rahane, Rishabh Pant (WK), Washington Sundar, Ravichandran Ashwin, Axar Patel/Mohammed Siraj, Jasprit Bumrah, Ishant Sharma
Rory Burns, Dom Sibley, Dan Lawrence, Joe Root (C), Ben Stokes, Ollie Pope, Ben Foakes (WK), Jofra Archer, Dom Bess, Jack Leach, James Anderson
Vice – Captain: Pujara
Wicketkeepers: Pant, Foakes
Batsmen: Kohli, Root, Pujara, Gill, Sibley
All-Rounders: Ashwin, Stokes, Sundar
Bowlers: Leach, Bess, Bumrah, Archer
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