MUMBAI: Buoyed by the comprehensive nine-wicket win in the series opener, a confident India will look to maintain their stranglehold over England when the second Test begins on Friday in conditions which is expected to suit the home team spinners.
Already 1-0 up in what has been touted as the ‘revenge series’, another victory for Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s men will ensure that England’s quest for their first series win on Indian soil in 27 years will continue.
It will also keep Indian on track for a whitewash and avenge the 4-0 defeat they suffered during their last tour to England.
India totally outplayed England in the opening game of the four-match series on a dusty bowl at Motera Stadium in Ahmedabad except for a fightback by captain Alastair Cook and wicketkeeper Matt Prior.
The match at Wankhede Stadium on Friday would also be significant with Virender Sehwag set to become the only ninth Indian player to feature in 100 Tests.
The form of the dashing opener would be crucial again in the outcome of the second match and, in fact, in the whole series.
India, however, may miss the services of pacer Umesh Yadav who picked up a lower back injury while trying to get some extra pace and bounce on unresponsive Motera track during the first match.
Yadav’s injury has brought Ishant Sharma into the picture as a possible replacement. Zaheer Khan will spearhead the attack.
The gangling Sharma would be his likely new ball support if Yadav is ruled out, leaving the latter’s cover Ashok Dinda in the reserves.
India are also likely to retain R Ashwin and keep his off-spin rival Harbhajan Singh again in the reserves.
The Indian batting clicked in telling fashion with Sehwag rattling the England attack with a run-a-ball 117, his first in more than two years.
Cheteshwar Pujara would also look to continue from where he left in Ahmedabad where he hit an unbeaten 206.
Meanwhile, the visitors would be handicapped by the absence of Ian Bell, though he was a flop in Ahmedabad. The middle order mainstay has flown home to be at the side of his wife who is expecting their child.
The 26-year-old left-handed batsman Eoin Morgan is talked about as Bell’s replacement in the eleven.
Press Trust of India