The Indian cricket team need a win or at least a draw to keep their hopes of qualifying for the inaugural World Test Championships at Lord’s alive. A massive 227-run defeat in the first game of the four-Test series means India can’t afford another defeat in the second Test that gets underway in Chennai on Saturday (February 13).
The victory at the MA Chidambaram Stadium in Chennai on Tuesday lifted England to first place and 70.2 percentage points on the points table and they’ve improved their chances of securing one of the three series results in their favour that could see them through to the final — 3-1, 3-0 or 4-0.
India, who have slipped to the fourth position with 68.3 percentage points, cannot afford another loss in the four-match series and will be looking to win at least two of the remaining three matches to secure a 2-1 or 3-1 result and a place in the final.
The 22-yard strip at the MA Chidambaram stadium in Chennai will be in focus with vice-captain Ajinkya Rahane already starting the mind games claiming that the track will take spin from Day 1.
“Yeah, it looks completely different. I am sure it will turn from day 1 but again as I have said before the first Test match, you have to wait and see how it plays in the first session and take it from there on,” Rahane told the media at the pre-match virtual conference on Friday (February 12).
“…But yeah we have to forget what happened in the first Test. We know these conditions really well and we have to put our best foot forward tomorrow and yeah that’s it,” Virat Kohli’s deputy added.
India were given a boost in the lead-up to the second Test with left-arm spinning all-rounder Axar Patel available for selection after recovering from a knee injury. It will be interesting to see if Kohli will opt for an attacking option by blooding Kuldeep Yadav in place of Washington Sundar with Axar’s batting ability coming in handy.
“Everyone is in the mix and good thing is Axar is fit and I am not going to tell you who is going to play tomorrow. See all our spinners are really good and given a chance they will all do really well,” Rahane said about the playing XI.
England, meanwhile, made four changes to their final 12 with James Anderson, Jofra Archer, Dom Bess and Jos Buttler not taking part in the second Test. Stuart Broad, Chris Woakes and Ben Foakes will be stepping into the side for the second Test.
About the 27 no-balls since the epic Australia series win, Rahane said that the issues remain a work in progress.
“We are really working hard on what we can control. In India, close-in catches are really important and sometimes these things happen. No one does it intentionally, it’s all about how confident you are. Close in catches are really important.
“About, no balls, yes we all were disappointed about the no balls and they are working really hard,” he added.