India warn England of spin onslaught - GulfToday

India warn England of spin onslaught


India vice-captain Ajinkya Rahane during net practice ahead of their second Test match against England beginning in Chennai on Saturday. Courtesy: BCCI

Indian skipper Virat Kohli’s captaincy will be under the scanner again as the hosts will be seeking to level the ongoing four-match series against England in the second Test beginning on Saturday at Chennai’s MA Chidambaram Stadium -- albeit on a pitch different from the one used in the first Test -- to keep alive their chances of qualifying for the World Test Championship (WTC) final.

India need to win two Test matches and also the series in order to face New Zealand in the WTC final to be held at Lord’s, London in June.

If England win the second Test, India will be out and the fight for the place in the final will be between Australia and England.

India meanwhile warned England on Friday to expect a spin onslaught in the second Test as they bid to hit back after a crushing first Test defeat.

The hosts are looking to bounce back on Saturday after their 227-run loss in the opening match, a rare Test match win for England on Indian soil.

India vice-captain Ajinkya Rahane backed his spinners to cause the visitors problems.

“(The pitch) looks completely different, I am sure it will turn from day number one,” Rahane told reporters.

“We have to forget what happened in the last match, focus on this and play a good game. We know these conditions really, so we have to put our best foot forward.”

Senior spinner Ravichandran Ashwin claimed nine wickets in the first Test, but got little support from the other end as Shahbaz Nadeem and Washington Sundar leaked too many runs in England’s first innings total of 578, which was helped by a monstrous haul of 218 by England skipper Joe Root.

Left-arm spinner Axar Patel is back in the team after missing the opener with a knee injury while Nadeem is out of the squad.

“Everyone’s in the mix,” Rahane said without revealing the XI.

“All our spinners are really good,” he said.

“If in India the ball is turning then the opposition is under pressure. I am not too concerned about how our spinners are bowling. I am sure they will come up with a plan and bowl well.”

Wicketkeeper-batsman Rishabh Pant has been in fine form with the bat, emerging as hero in India’s historic series win in Australia and making a crucial 91 in India’s first innings in Chennai.

But his glovework has put under the microscope after he missed a few chances behind the stumps.

Rahane said the up-and-coming player is a work in progress.

ENGLAND LEAVE OUT ANDERSON, BESS: England have left out James Anderson and Dom Bess for the second Test against India, with the visitors naming Stuart Broad, Moeen Ali, Chris Woakes and paceman Olly Stone in their 12.

With speedster Jofra Archer ruled out due an elbow injury, Olly, who played his only Test in July 2019, or Woakes are expected to partner Broad in the Test starting Saturday in Chennai.

The England skipper said they can have either Stone or Woakes making the starting line-up which will be decided after looking at the pitch.

Ali, who missed England’s 2-0 sweep in Sri Lanka after being infected with coronavirus, has been chosen ahead of fellow spinner Dom Bess, who claimed five wickets in the opening win.

“Wasn’t an easy decision, Dom’s contributed fantastically well in these three games (two in Sri Lanka), he has made a real impact,” said Root.

“It gives Moeen a great opportunity to come back into things with all of his experience and someone whose bowling extremely well in and around practice.”

Root said resting Anderson -- also a key figure in the opening Test -- gives them the opportunity to get the veteran paceman back for the final two Tests in Ahmedabad.

England’s 12: Joe Root (capt), Rory Burns, Dominic Sibley, Daniel Lawrence, Ben Stokes, Ben Foakes, Ollie Pope, Moeen Ali, Chris Woakes, Jack Leach, Olly Stone, Stuart Broad

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