England vs India: No love lost at Lord's
Here's a preview of the second Investec Test match between England and India at Lord's:
The Lord's Cricket Ground will host the 2nd Test between England and India. The 1st Test between the two, played at Trent Bridge in Nottingham was drawn after spectacular batting rearguards from both sides in all the three innings played.
Alastair Cook will hope for a pitch more likely to provide a result at Lord's after his seamers were run into the ground bowling a total of 242 overs for just 13 wickets between them. So will MS Dhoni who had to watch his 250 run lead slowly crumble during a record 198 run stand for the 10th wicket in which James Anderson threatened to hit a hundred.
England's pacers outdid India's in using reverse swing at Trent Bridge so Ishant and co will hope to do better with the old ball in the second Test. Ishant, Shami and Bhuvneshwar were rewarded with wickets for their tighter lines so there is hope if they fix the indiscipline with their length in time for Lord's.
Anderson, Broad, Plunkett and Stokes will want to go back to pitching it up, a simple mantra that has fetched them so much success earlier. Moeen Ali barely made a dent as the lone spinner so he would welcome it if left arm spinner Simon Kerrigan gets a game while Plunkett would have to make way.
Shikhar Dhawan, Virat Kohli and Ajinkya Rahane will be eager to get runs on the board in London's helpful conditions after watching their tailenders score fifties.
Stuart Binny vindicated his selection with a fine knock to save India the blushes on the last day but was under-utilized with the ball given the pitch. Pictures of the Lord's pitch released so far show it to be green so Binny should feel he get another game and more chances to bowl. Instead of Rohit Sharma, his closest competitor for a spot in the playing XI is R Ashwin who too has a 90 against England in Tests and is a legitimate bowling threat considering the number of left handers in the English line up. Jadeja compliments him well and it would be a burden off India's pacers if the spin duo were to find rhythm bowling in tandem.
Joe Root's hundred at Nottingham was a treat while Sam Robson and Gary Ballance were solid in their knocks. They will hope that Cook, Bell and Ali too join the party to keep England's recent winning run at Lord's going.
The mysterious Ravindra Jadeja - James Anderson spat is another thing that will spur the two teams on to try harder to force a result. The teams will need more attacking tactics from skippers Dhoni and Cook after their reluctance to attack at Trent Bridge saw the game drift into a batting marathon.
India's young batsmen have proved themselves well equipped to get runs abroad since the tour of South Africa. India's bowlers will have to pull their weight and take the elusive 20 wickets in a Test which they have not been able to do at all since that same tour.