5 Minor Changes to Improve England for 2nd Test vs. India
After five fairly dull days at Trent Bridge where the first Test ended in a draw, we start again on Thursday at Lord’s where England face India for the second game of the series.
Both teams may be relatively happy with their displays in Nottingham, but the hosts could make some tweaks here and there to try and force victory in the next match.
Read on for five possible adjustments they could make.
A More Competitive Pitch
The first thing that could—and arguably should—change is the type of pitch that is served up by the Lord’s groundstaff on Thursday morning.
The wicket in Nottingham was lifeless, leading some people to compare it to Nagpur in India for its slow, low bounce and lack of carry.
In general, Lord’s is known for being a favourite ground of batsmen around the world, with the ball coming on to the bat nicely and bouncing evenly for all five days.
Why not make the wicket more competitive and conducive to a positive result, as opposed to a slow, low one that brings about another attritional draw?
That would be quite a step forward from the last game.
Bring in Simon Kerrigan
Despite his traumatic Test debut last year, he has been brought back into the fold after impressing in the nets, and it would make a strong statement if he were to be selected.
While Lord’s is not known for being a spinner’s pitch necessarily, his inclusion in the team could help give the attack some variety.
Bring in Chris Jordan
In the last game, England’s fast bowlers bowled an enormous number of overs, something that is a worry given the workload ahead, as noted by ESPN Cricinfo's George Dobell.
To try and prevent anyone becoming burned out or—even worse—injured, the hosts could do worse than bring in Chris Jordan for the next game to take the pressure off.
A capable performer with bat and ball and an electric presence in the field, it would be the perfect opportunity to keep the bowlers fresh and introduce a new face.
Work on the Batting
While there seems to be little appetite for making wholesale changes to the batting order—and no one available in the squad to step in—things have to improve.
Bell needs to convert his good form and strong starts into big contributions, while the likes of Moeen and Stokes need to make good on the early promise they have shown.
Prior is a slightly different issue, as he got a poor decision and has struggled a little with his fitness in recent times.
The most pressing concern is Cook, who will be desperate for a century to quieten the critics and to reaffirm his position at the top of the order.
Cook also must look to be aggressive and innovative with his captaincy if England are to be successful in this series.
There were hints of that in the last game as he set some good fields to take wickets and looked like he was asserting himself well.
That needs to continue in the next match and for the rest of the series if England want to take a home win.