“Yeah, it looks completely different. I’m sure that will change from day 1, but again like I said before the first test match you have to wait and see how it goes in the first session and go from there ”, a Ajinkya Rahane said at the pre-match press conference.
Will Chepauk’s field for the second Test be up to the expectations of the management of the Indian team? You have to wait and see, but hosts no longer take the surface off the equation. Under pressure, they apparently fall back on their age-old formula of turning their opponents on turners.
There is nothing wrong with maximizing the house edge. Again, this Indian team has often boasted of never being bothered by conditions, at home or away. “Our philosophy has been bhaad mein gaya pitch (to hell with the pitch),” head coach Ravi Shastri said a few seasons ago, after winning a series of home tests against South Africa. A brilliantly prepared England seems to have shaken confidence.
Previous in history
Another survey would reveal that over the past few years in the home playoffs India has adopted the spin-punch model on square turners whenever they are under pressure. In 2016, after England finished the first Test at Rajkot stronger on very good ground, India played on a turner at Vizag, winning the second by 246 points. Not that the Indian batsmen scored en masse in this game. Centuries of Cheteshwar Pujara and Virat Kohli, and a cameo from Ravichandran Ashwin in the opening rounds made the difference. The Indian spinners surpassed their skills and beat their English counterparts in a 4-0 series victory. Rajkot had unleashed “spin aggression”.
Something similar happened a year later when Australia won the first test in Pune. In fact, it was the case with a rank turner who turned on him and little-known Steve O’Keefe beating the Indian spinners. Normalcy later returned with India’s 2-1 series victory.
– BCCI (@BCCI) February 11, 2021
Feel the absence of Jadeja
Joe Root’s England are brilliantly prepared this quarter. In addition, they found a loophole in the armor of India. Usually at home, India stifles their opponents with relentless rotation from both sides. But Ravindra Jadeja’s injury created a hole, prompting Ashwin to carry the team’s rotation attack on his own. This made England’s job a lot easier in the first test, especially the first two days when the pitch was asleep. Root and Co has exhausted Ashwin and capitalized on the debauchery of Shahbaz Nadeem and Washington Sundar. Axar Patel is in good shape and will replace Nadeem for the second test. Style wise, Axar is the closest Indian cricket Jadeja can offer yet. But the 27-year-old has yet to play Test cricket and its effectiveness at this level remains unknown.
Kuldeep Yadav for Washington would be an offensive option, provided the Chinese bowler gets the ball out of the box. Change, however, comes with many risks. For seven tests on the rebound now, India has failed to post a total of over 400 in one round. Time and time again they’ve been bailed out by the lower-middle order, whether it’s the partnership between Washington and Shardul Thakur in Brisbane or the old-fashioned 85-step in the opening rounds of the first Test here. Kohli has made it clear that the team wants bowlers who can also contribute with the bat. It would be difficult to replace Washington without upsetting the team’s balance.
Make it more difficult for themselves
The regression of the field and the lack of discipline in bowling made matters worse. A total of 31 captures were made in Australia in all formats. The fact that India has always fought to get the upper hand over the Australians in their backyard speaks volumes about the determination and strength of character of the team under Rahane’s captaincy. What happened in Australia, however, was a deviation from normal. In addition, Australia was also loose on the pitch. In the first test, a tight opportunity very early in Root’s innings on day one, followed by a few lives for Ben Stokes, proved costly. England, on the other hand, staged an exhibition of amazing catches; from Root to Stokes and James Anderson. In the two innings of the first test, India also played 27 without balls.
Rahane admitted that in Indian conditions, close catches are crucial. “We’re working really hard on what we can control. In India, close-ups are really important and sometimes these things happen. No one does it intentionally, it all depends on your self-confidence. Close-up holds are really important, ”he said.
On no-balls, India’s vice-captain stayed away from public criticism from bowlers. “We’ve all been disappointed with the no-balls and they work really hard.”
England showed in the first test that they were ready to turn any opportunity to their advantage. Regardless of the conditions on the ground, India will need to be at its peak. This Indian team is good enough to come back from setbacks, but based on the performance of the Tourists in the series opener, this time they’ve probably met their match.
– BCCI (@BCCI) February 12, 2021
Meanwhile, as Root said, England would make four changes – Jos Buttler, Dom Bess, Anderson and the injured Jofra Archer to be replaced by Stuart Broad, Ben Foakes, Moeen Ali and Olly Stone or Chris Woakes. A row turner can turn Moeen on. The non-spinner’s record against India – 41 wickets in 12 tests, including two to five against – is a good indicator.