After the final day of the Nottingham Test washed out, the players and fans would pray for a clear sky on Thursday when England and India will lock horns at Lord’s in the second game of 5-match Test series.
Both teams have experienced massive injury blows. India’s Shardul Thakur has been ruled out of the second Test due to a hamstring injury while England will take the field in the absence of senior pacer Stuart Broad as he had injured his right calf muscle during a training session which possibly rules him out of the game.
However, England added Lancashire seamer Saqib Mahmood in the squad and if the pitch offers some assistance then the world’s fastest bowler Mark Wood, whose average speed is 90 clicks per hour could get a chance.
As far as team combination is concerned, Thakur’s injury does again tilt the lower-order batting balance. Indian right-arm off spinner Ravichandran Ashwin would expected to get chance after Shardul Thakur’s hamstring injury which ruled him out of the game.
Indian skipper Virat Kohli could pick Ishant Sharma or Umesh Yadav if the pitch does not have much for the spinners. On the other hand, Joe Root could give chance to middle order batsman Moeen Ali to provide more balance to the side replacing injured Stuart Broad.
Ashwin, who was dropped from the playing XI in the drawn opening game in Nottingham because of Ravindra Jadeja’s superior skills. In case the pitch is on the drier side, there could possibly be no harm in playing both Ashwin and Jadeja, who can trouble England batting line-up with their different variations.
There is a possibility to replace Rory Burns by Haseeb Hameed, who scored a hundred opening the innings for the Combined Counties against Indians in the tour game last month.
India’s spirited and tireless bowling attack, the lower order’s ability to score runs have marked a crucial deficiency in the team but the batting has been underperforming over the last 20 months.
For India, KL Rahul is in good touch, Mayank Agarwal being back in the nets is a welcome sign for India. While both Pujara and Rahane are not in the best of their form.