After the opening game of the 5-match Test series between India and Englan ended in a draw owing to a rain-washed final day, both the teams are now locking horns with each other at the Lord’s in London. As expected, the Indian skipper, Virat Kohli maintained his record of losing the toss in England, and his counterpart Joe Root had no hesitation to bowl first at Lord’s. The rain delayed the toss for 20 minutes and the overhead conditions along with the pitch also must have played the part in his decision.
Once it was confirmed that Shardul Thakur was ruled out of the second Test, all eyes were on India’s playing XI, which isn’t a surprise now, and many thought the premier off-spinner Ravi Ashwin will be featuring in the playing XI after missing the first Test.
However, the Indian team management stunned everyone once again. They included the lanky pacer Ishant Sharma as their fourth fast bowling option to replace Thakur. While speaking to the media before the match, Kohli had said that they have the strongest batting line-up and he had no issue with the team having a long tail in the last Test.
Virat Kohli even stated that the team doesn’t feel that they are a batsman short. The forecast 24 hours before was all sunny in London but the unexpected weather in England hit the Test match just before the toss. Many reckoned that spin will play a role and for the first time in the summer, the hosts also decided to include the spin-all-rounder, Moeen Ali. Not that the visitors have gone with the all-pace attack, but Ravindra Jadeja isn’t a wicket-taking option according to the experts and Ravi Ashwin should’ve played.
Interestingly, R Ashwin has been in the form of his life even in overseas conditions as well. But somehow at the moment, Ashwin is not fitting into the template of four-seamers and a lone spinner. Jadeja can bat at six or seven and being the better batsman is giving him an edge in the current scenario. But it will be interesting if India will miss their best spinner in the latter part of the Test match. Meanwhile, the Fans and cricket experts were surprised again to not see Ashwin in the playing XI.
Here’s how Twitter reacted:
Ashwin Anna not today too 💔.
Supporting England in this match.
— Wake Up Circuit 🏏 (@Being_circuit) August 12, 2021
Too much tailenders feel bad for Ashwin
— Amit Thakur (@Amit___493) August 12, 2021
Ridiculous decision not to play ashwin….Kohli needs to step down from captain asap…
— Vedic Metalhead (@rockermedic) August 12, 2021
No Ashwin in Lord's…🤔🤔
Ball starts to spin from 3rd day…Ashwin was crucial if game goes to 4th and 5th Day…
— Ashwin Ash (@Ashi737) August 12, 2021
— Darshan (@Darshan1389) August 12, 2021
Feels like England have picked the right team & India haven’t … Ashwin should have played for India to give them more Batting plus his quality bowling … He bowls well in all conditions … Perfect bowling day … Feels like a wickets day … #ENGvIND
— Michael Vaughan (@MichaelVaughan) August 12, 2021