By News Team
10th February 2021
England proved a mighty force in the first Test against India in Chennai with captain Joe Root celebrating his 100th Test with a double hundred, becoming the first player ever to record such a feat.
His subcontinent form shows no signs of stopping as he prepares for the second Test against India on Saturday. The big question looking ahead to the second Test is how England will face their selection worries and how India will look to bounce back.
How to solve a problem like rotation?
England were led to victory in the first Test by Joe Root’s continued form with the bat, making an inspired double century in the first innings to put the tourists in a winning position on day two. Root’s impact didn’t stop with the bat – while he took an early contender for catch of the series, diving left-handed at cover, he also had a great game as captain. Many pundits criticised the Sheffield-born skipper for not declaring sooner on day four but it appears he got the call exactly right. The captain is unsurprisingly the 13/8 favourite to again lead his side’s first innings run charge.
Jimmy Anderson was the talking point of day five – after bowling with customary control in the first innings, it was one over in the second innings that will live long in the memory. Immediately hailed by some as one of the greatest ever overs for England, he sent both Shubman Gill and Ajinkya Rahane’s off stumps cartwheeling using the reverse swing on offer. Anderson is only improving with age and experience, but the England selectors have a rotational policy to contend with now that the nation’s leading wicket taker is at this stage of his career.
It could have been safely assumed that Stuart Broad would replace Anderson in the second Test, however, with Jimmy in such good form he might retain his place and they are 7/2 and 3/1 respectively to lead England’s first innings wicket column. It won’t be a decision taken light heartedly, particularly with Jos Buttler flying home for a rotational break, leaving Ben Foakes with the gloves. This will be tough for the tourists as Buttler has taken his keeping to new heights this year, and he will naturally be missed as a gifted batsman.
A further selection issue to worry about remains with England’s spin bowlers. Dom Bess and Jack Leach didn’t exactly have bad games in the first Test but it’s clear that they are not consistent enough to build the pressure required, leading England’s pace men to take that role. With Moeen Ali available for selection it would be no surprise to see one of those make way for the Warwickshire all-rounder. Ali is a 7/2 shot to spin his way to the top of the wicket-takers list in the first innings.
Pressure is on for Kohli but if anyone can…
Virat Kohli will be feeling the full weight that captaining his country can bring. India have now lost four consecutive Tests under his captaincy and he will be trying all he can to not make that a fifth. Although the Indian skipper top-scored for his side in the second innings against England, before being out-bowled for the first time in three years, he had a remarkably quiet Test match by his standards. This is something he will be determined to change in the next game, and he is 2/1 to lead the Indian first innings score while also 4/1 to do so in an Indian victory.
Rishabh Pant’s blistering knock of 91 in the first innings was enough to remind the visitors what a danger he can be as he dispatched Leach around Chennai. With that in mind he is 7/1 to once again lead India’s first innings total. It is no surprise that while England dominated the first Test, India are still the 7/10 favourites for the second Test, with the tourists 5/2, and it will take another inspired performance to beat the hosts in their backyard.