England face India in the second Test at Lord’s starting on Thursday, with both sides having played out a hard-fought draw in the opening contest of their five-match series in Nottingham last week.
However, expect some increased tension between the two countries at the home of cricket—if that were possible—after the tourists’ surprising decision to ask the International Cricket Council to bring a misconduct charge against opposition bowler James Anderson following an alleged altercation with all-rounder Ravindra Jadeja at Trent Bridge.
What: England vs. India
When: Thursday, July 17, 11 a.m. BST
Live Stream/TV info: Sky Sports 2, Live: 10 a.m.–7 p.m. BST; Highlights: 8 p.m. and 11 p.m. BST; Channel 5 highlights: 7 p.m. BST
England: AN Cook*, MM Ali, JM Anderson, GS Ballance, IR Bell, SCJ Broad, CJ Jordan, SC Kerrigan, LE Plunkett, MJ Prior†, SD Robson, JE Root, BA Stokes, CR Woakes
India: MS Dhoni*†, VR Aaron, R Ashwin, STR Binny, S Dhawan, G Gambhir, RA Jadeja, V Kohli, B Kumar, Mohammed Shami, IC Pandey, Pankaj Singh, CA Pujara, AM Rahane, WP Saha†, I Sharma, RG Sharma, M Vijay
England: Alastair Cook’s men have not won any of their previous nine Test matches—with six of those ending in defeat—a hugely worrying run that stretches all the way back to last August’s Ashes-clinching win against Australia at Durham.
India: The tourists lost both of their two most recent overseas series against New Zealand and South Africa without winning a Test, while Mahendra Singh Dhoni and Co.’s last victory came in a 2-0 win at home to West Indies in November.
England: Ian Bell
Boy could England do with the middle-order batsman recapturing some of his eye-catching form from last summer’s Ashes triumph, when the 32-year-old was Player of the Series after registering three hundreds in just five Tests against Australia.
However, the odd half-century here and there apart, it has been a relative struggle for the experienced Warwickshire man ever since and now his team—especially with their captain struggling so badly for runs at the top of the order—need their star No. 4 to stand up and be counted, starting at Lord’s this week.
India: Cheteshwar Pujara
England would have been delighted that the tourists’ No. 3 only managed just the 93 runs in his two knocks at Trent Bridge in the opening Test of the series, although they did need a stunning catch from Ian Bell to end the run machine’s first innings on 38 (see above video).
However, with a daunting current average of 58 after his first 20 Tests, including six centuries, the home side know just how important it will be to dismiss the 26-year-old—who tends to start series well with the bat—early at Lord’s, or otherwise they could be chasing leather for quite some time at the home of cricket.
Weather: According to the BBC, it is going to be hot with bright sunshine throughout the five days in St John’s Wood, with temperatures ranging between 24 and 30 degrees Celsius, although Saturday may see some heavy and thundery showers developing at times.
Pitch: Lord’s being Lord’s, expect nothing other than a belter of a surface for batsmen, as was also the case in the most recent Test to be played there against Sri Lanka that ended in a nail-biting draw last month.
However, what may be different from that particular contest this time is the weather, with the heatwave in the capital this week likely to create more spin-friendly conditions, which should in turn suit the tourists’ bowling lineup far more than the home team’s.