The much-anticipated IND vs ENG 2nd Test is set to kick off on Friday, February 2, at the Y.S. Rajashekar Reddy ACA-VDCA Stadium in Visakhapatnam. The five-match Test series, led by India’s skipper Rohit Sharma and England’s captain Ben Stokes, has England holding a 1-0 advantage after their victory in the opening clash.
In the thrilling first Test, England emerged victorious by 28 runs, propelled by Ollie Pope’s outstanding 196-run knock in the second innings. Setting a target of 231 for India, England’s strategy put immense pressure on the hosts, eventually leading to India falling short by 28 runs, getting bowled out for 202. As the teams gear up for the 2nd Test, India is eager to make a comeback in the series.
The competition promises to be as entertaining as the previous game, with both sides showcasing their prowess in a battle for supremacy. Anticipating the playing conditions, the pitch is expected to favour spin, albeit not of the extreme kind. In contrast to the rank turners seen in the previous series against England, a more measured approach may be adopted this time due to the absence of key players.
The Y.S. Rajashekar Reddy ACA-VDCA Stadium features a black soil wicket with a smattering of dried grass, promising a slow-burn progression reminiscent of subcontinental pitches. The historical trend at this venue suggests a potential fifth-day jeopardy scenario, unless warmer temperatures expedite the pitch’s disintegration, adding an extra layer of unpredictability to the upcoming Test.
The Indian team faces the challenge of replacing KL Rahul and Ravindra Jadeja in the upcoming Test, with Rajat Patidar and Sarfaraz Khan emerging as potential debutants in the middle order. The team management has kept the debutant’s identity confidential, with both players participating in the optional net session on the eve of the game. Patidar, having been called up earlier to replace Virat Kohli, seems to be in the lead, given his experience.
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There’s a slim chance of India fielding both debutants, especially if they are concerned about their batting strength and willing to sacrifice a fifth bowler. Considering England’s approach with a lone seamer, India might opt for a similar strategy, including either Patidar or Sarfaraz alongside Washington Sundar, providing Rohit Sharma with five bowling options. Kuldeep Yadav appears set to make a Test XI comeback after his last appearance in Chattogram 2022, where he secured a five-wicket haul.
Probable XI: Rohit Sharma (c), Yashasvi Jaiswal, Shubman Gill, Shreyas Iyer, Rajat Patidar, Axar Patel, KS Bharat (wk), Ravichandran Ashwin, Kuldeep Yadav, Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Siraj/Washington Sundar
In England’s camp, Jack Leach’s absence due to a knee injury opens the door for Shoaib Bashir to make his debut, resolving visa issues. James Anderson, in formidable form during net sessions, is the sole seamer in the XI, replacing Mark Wood.
Playing XI: Zak Crawley, Ben Duckett, Ollie Pope, Joe Root, Jonny Bairstow, Ben Stokes (c), Ben Foakes (wk), Rehan Ahmed, Tom Hartley, Shoaib Bashir, James Anderson
Fantasy XI Suggestion 1:
KL Rahul, Jonny Bairstow, Ben Foakes, Rohit Sharma, Zack Crawley, Yashasvi Jaiswal, Joe Root (VC), R Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja (C), Jasprit Bumrah, Jack Leach
Fantasy XI Suggestion 2:
Jonny Bairstow, Rohit Sharma, Ollie Pope, Yashasvi Jaiswal, Shreyas Iyer, R Ashwin (c), Joe Root (vc), Axar Patel, Jasprit Bumrah, Kuldeep Yadav, Tom Hartley