England and India shared the spoils at Trent Bridge leaving the series all-square with four Tests to play as the teams arrive at Lord’s for the second Test starting on Thursday.
England arrives in London with injury problems galore and their batting under the microscope after a sorry 1st innings in Nottingham that saw them rolled for 183. The final day was a complete washout with India 52 for one overnight chasing 209 for the win. Despite only three sides successfully chasing 200-plus in Nottingham, India was the side that left the East Midlands feeling like it was a win that got away. But the visitors will be in a confident mood.
The Venue: Previous England v India Tests at Lord’s
There have been 18 Tests played between the two sides at Lord’s with England winning 12 matches, 4 draws, and 2 successes for the tourists. The teams first met at the Home of Cricket in 1932, but India had to wait until June 1986 to win for the first time, by a five-wicket margin. There only other success came in 2014.
The last time the two teams met at Lord’s was on India’s last tour and was a win for England as they took the series 4-1.
Last Match: 2nd Test at Lord’s – 9-13 August 2018
India 107 (J Anderson 5/20)
England 396-7d (C Woakes 137* J Bairstow 93, H Pandya 3/66, M Shami 3/96)
India 130 (J Anderson 4/23, S Broad 4/44)
England won by an innings and 159 runs.
ENGLAND INJURIES AND NEED TO KEEP ROOT COMPANY
England had lost Ben Stokes before the series after he withdrew to take care of his mental wellbeing. Ollie Stone, Jofra Archer, and Chris Woakes were also missing with injury. Now, between Tests, Stuart Broad has been ruled out with a calf injury and Jimmy Anderson is a major doubt (tight quad).
If Broad and Anderson don’t play at Lord’s it will be the first time since the Edgbaston Test in 2012 that neither strike bowler has featured in a home Test. Stating the obvious. Even away from home, the Dhaka Test of 2016 was the only time at least one of the dynamic duo has not played.
It was always going to be a series where the pace bowlers were rested, but strategically rather than through injury. England potentially enters the second Test without Anderson, Broad, Stokes, Woakes, and Archer which is their strongest attack. It leaves England in a bit of a pickle.
The backdrop is not healthy for the Test side either. With the domestic priority showcasing the new tournament, The Hundred, the last round of County Championship matches ended on 11 July and the next matches do not start until 30 August. Consequently, the county players are not able to stake a claim for selection in the red-ball format.
Moeen Ali has been called away from the Birmingham Phoenix to add balance in the middle-order and Saqib Mahmood has bolstered the pace ranks after being called in from the Oval Invincibles. Dom Bess has left the squad to return to Yorkshire.
ROOT A CLASS ABOVE
In 2021 Joe Root has scored more Test runs than any other player. His 64 and 109 at Trent Bridge made him look like he was playing a different attack on a different pitch than any other England batsman. He was several classes above anyone else and has been all of this calendar year.
Those runs took Root to 1064 runs in 2021 at an average of 59.11 across 18 innings. The next best England player on the list is Dan Lawrence with 354 runs at 27.23 in 15 innings.
Root is currently the strongest player in world cricket as he is lugging England’s top-order batting around on his back. This has been the host’s Achilles heel for some time and Root needs company at the crease. He cannot always carry them.
A lot of debate has followed England’s first innings capitulation in Nottingham with Rory Burns, Dom Sibley, Zak Crawley, Dan Lawrence, and Jos Buttler under the microscope. Jonny Bairstow escapes immediate scrutiny as he has only just returned to the team at no.5 and deserves a run.
Crawley is the most vulnerable after averaging only 11.54 since his breakthrough 267 against Pakistan last August. He is likely to be removed from the firing line with Haseeb Hameed making his home Test debut and Ollie Pope looks set to replace Dan Lawrence.
Where do England turn? Ollie Robinson will play only his third Test at Lord’s but has rapidly become one of England’s leading lights with 12 wickets at 17.25 in two Tests to date. Moeen Ali looks set to play his first red-ball match since the Chennai Test in February. With Mark Wood and Sam Curran making up the attack, it still has potency but is certainly not the one envisaged by head coach Chris Silverwood.
Virat Kohli will have been delighted with his team’s showing at Trent Bridge and disappointed the weather robbed them of the opportunity to take a 1-0 lead to London. It was certainly an opportunity missed, but there was also no guarantee they would have completed the chase of 209. But the moral victory was the tourists.
India is undoubtedly a well-rounded and powerful Test side and proved in Nottingham that their pace attack can match England’s in English conditions. This was always going to be a tightly contested series and it remains to be seen how important for the series the missed chance of a win at Trent Bridge will be.
India will have been delighted that third-choice opener KL Rahul showed his class, in the absence of Shubman Gill and Mayank Agarwal, to stroke 84 in the first innings in Nottingham. But India is not devoid of problems of their own and with Virat Kohli, Chesteshwar Pujara, and Ajinkta Rahane without any form with the bat, the middle-order looks susceptible.
The weather forecast for Lord’s looks far better than experienced in Nottingham and could provide the three with an opportunity to find their mojo.
Mohammad Shami and Jasprit Bumrah were superb in the first Test. Bumrah claimed match figured of 9/110 and Shami’s four wickets were not a fair reflection of his consistently high standards. Shardul Thakur was also impressive, but a hamstring injury has ruled him out of contention, and it looks likely that R Ashwin will replace him and Ishant Sharma could come in for Mohammad Siraj.
Ashwin will link up with Ravindra Jadeja on the spin department and despite Lord’s not knowing recently as a spinner’s paradise, they have the guile to threaten regardless. They also add important depth to the Indian batting.
ENGLAND’S LIKELY XI
Rory Burns, Haseen Hameed, Jonny Bairstow, Joe Root, Ollie Pope, Jos Buttler, Moeen Ali, Sam Curran, Ollie Robinson, Mark Wood, Saqib Mahmood.
INDIA’S LIKELY XI
Rohit Sharma, KL Rahul, Cheteshwar Pujara, Virat Kohli (c), Ajinkya Rahane, Rishabh Pant (wk), Ravindra Jadeja, R Ashwin, Ishant Sharma, Mohammad Shami, and Jasprit Bumrah.
THE TWO BEST BETS FOR THE FIRST TEST
- India to win the Second Test @ 23/18 with SBK
India arrives at Lord’s with confidence high and a beleaguered England without its first-choice bowling attack. It should be time for India to take the ascendancy in the series.
- Joe Root to be Top England Batsman @ 9/5 with MansionBet
Root is so far ahead in terms of pedigree, performance, and confidence in this market it is worth taking the short price.