India vs England Test Match: What could be India's weakness?

By Vipin - 2024-02-02 13:39:16
India vs England Test Match: What could be India's weakness?

After the defeat in the first Test, the problems of the Indian team have increased for the second Test, because all-rounder Ravindra Jadeja and in-form batsman Lokesh Rahul are out of the team due to injury. During the first Test, Rahul complained of pain in the thigh muscles while Jadeja is troubled by a hamstring injury.

Sarfaraz Khan and Washington Sundar, who were part of India A team against England Lions, have been included in the Test team, apart from these two, 30 year old left arm spinner Saurabh Kumar has also got a place in the team. Whereas Virat Kohli is not available even for this test. At the same time, the England team which won the first test will also have to make changes.

The most experienced spinner Jack Leach will hardly be able to play in the second test due to a knee injury. Leach was injured while trying to save a boundary in the Hyderabad Test and after this he was able to bowl only ten overs in the fourth innings.

India's difficulty in batting


The problems for India have increased due to the absence of Lokesh Rahul after Virat Kohli. Lokesh Rahul was one of the three batsmen who scored more than 80 runs in India's first innings in the Hyderabad Test. In the last Test, he played in place of Kohli as the number four batsman.

Now the problem before the Indian team is that they will have to rely on inexperienced players at number four. Rajat Patidar was included in the team in place of Kohli, he is a contender for this place.

Rajat Patidar scored good runs in the first and second unofficial test matches against England Lions but he had to face the challenge of Sarfaraz Khan very well. Sarfaraz, who scored a century for India A last week, also wants to make his debut. But the difficulty is that you will get only one chance among these two.

Ben Stokes and his team will certainly want to play according to their baseball strategy, even if there is less desire to dominate the host team. Tom Hartley, making his debut in the Hyderabad Test, bowled the match-winner in the second innings, while before that Ollie Pope batted brilliantly. Pope may have scored one run in 11 balls in the first innings but in the second innings he scored a record innings of 196 runs.

Before the Hyderabad Test, Pope had scored only 153 runs in four Test matches played on Indian soil, in which 34 was his highest score.

With his inning, Pope left behind Alastair Cook's inning of 176 runs played in Ahmedabad in 2012. He has become the batsman who scored the most runs in the second innings against India. Whereas in India, he has reached the fourth position among the English batsmen who have scored the most runs in any innings against India. Graeme Flower (1985, 201 runs), Mike Ganting (1985, 207 runs) and Joe Root (2021, 218 runs) have performed better than him.

How the English batsmen adopted the baseball strategy in Hyderabad can be gauged from the fact that the English batsmen scored a total of 72 runs through reverse sweep. English batsmen played 50 reverse sweep shots against Indian spinners and hit 14 boundaries. On the other hand, Indian batsmen did not even play sweep shots.

Question on Shubman Gill


After scoring a century in the Ahmedabad Test against Australia in March 2023, Shubman Gill has not been able to reach 50 runs even once. In the first innings of the Hyderabad Test, he was out for 23 runs after playing a bad shot, while in the second innings he was out without opening the account on his second ball.

Gill has been playing the role of opening batsman in test matches for the last two years. His batting average after 21 Test matches is 29.52 and because of this questions are being raised on him. His performance in the two World Test Championship final matches played in England was also poor, under such pressure the questions about his performance are deepening.

Gill is being successful in limited overs cricket, he has won the Orange Cap in IPL and has also scored a double century in ODI cricket, but his performance in Test cricket has not been very good. But there is still hope that he may get a chance to play a Test to prove himself.

If the Indian team decides to drop him, it will mean that Rajat Patidar and Sarfaraz Khan will get a chance to play a Test match together and the pressure on both of them while making their debut will be very high.

In such a situation, it is very possible that Gill may get another chance. But it is certain that if they do not succeed on this occasion, then after Kohli and Rahul become fit for the third test, they may be dropped from the team.

The onus is on the spinners


The biggest challenge before the Indian team management will be to overcome the absence of Ravinder Jadeja. Kuldeep Yadav is present as a back up spinner and can be useful as an option.

Mohammad Siraj and Jasprit will play at the tenth and eleventh positions of Bumrah. In such a situation, if Kuldeep Yadav gets a chance in place of Ravindra Jadeja, its impact will be visible on Indian batting. However, it is possible that wicketkeeper KS Bharat may get a chance to play at number six, Ashwin at number seven and Axar Patel at number eight.

In such a situation, one option could be that Kuldeep Yadav gets a chance in place of Jadeja and Washington Sundar gets a chance in place of Mohammad Siraj, who bowled 11 overs without a wicket in the Hyderabad Test. Apart from being an off-spin bowler, Washington is also a specialist batsman.

Sundar was included in the Indian team in the Ahmedabad Test against England in 2021. He played an unbeaten inning of 96 runs in India's victory, although he got only one wicket. There is also a possibility that India will enter this match with four spin bowlers. In such a situation, 30 year old left arm spinner Saurabh Kumar may also get a chance to debut in place of Siraj.

Saurabh Kumar took five wickets and scored 77 runs as the number eight batsman against England Lions last week. But here it has to be kept in mind that England's batsmen had scored 413 runs in Hyderabad on the balls of India's top two spinners R Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja. Both the bowlers have played 50 Test matches for India so far and this is their second worst performance. In 2017, against Sri Lanka in Colombo, both of them gave away 437 runs for taking 14 wickets.

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