In­dia spin­ners in fir­ing line against con­fi­dent Eng­land

Kuwait Times - - SPORTS -

VISAKHA­P­AT­NAM: In­dia’s much-hyped spin at­tack are un­der pres­sure to de­liver in the sec­ond Test at Visakha­p­at­nam start­ing to­day against an Eng­land side high on con­fi­dence and boast­ing new teenage sen­sa­tion Haseeb Hameed.

Nine­teen-year-old Hameed, dubbed “Baby Boy­cott” for his un­flap­pable style akin to bat­ting great Ge­of­frey Boy­cott, scored 31 and 82 on de­but dur­ing last week’s drawn first Test, the lat­ter the high­est by a teenager for Eng­land.

He shared a 180-run sec­ond in­nings open­ing stand-a record for Eng­land in In­dia-with cap­tain Alas­tair Cook, who made 130, as the homes side’s spin­ners en­dured a tor­rid start to the five-Test se­ries.

In­dia’s spin trio of Ravichan­dran Ash­win, the world’s top-ranked bowler, Ravin­dra Jadeja and Amit Mishra had been ex­pected to rip through Eng­land’s bat­ting line-up but wilted in the Ra­jkot heat.

The tourists sparkled with four cen­turies-from Cook, Joe Root, Moeen Ali and Ben Stokes-as the hosts clung on for a tense draw, los­ing six wick­ets on the fi­nal af­ter­noon after be­ing set a no­tional 310 to win. There had been ques­tions marks over the qual­ity of Eng­land’s slow bowlers be­fore the game but they out­per­formed their In­dian coun­ter­parts with leg-spin­ner Adil Rashid tak­ing seven wick­ets.

“Our bat­ters played well against their spin­ners, and our spin­ners and seam­ers all bowled well. The way the guys played in this Test should give us plenty of con­fi­dence,” said Eng­land coach Trevor Bayliss after the first match fin­ished on Sun­day.

Eng­land’s strong show­ing against the top-ranked In­di­ans ban­ished mem­o­ries of last month’s de­feat to min­nows Bangladesh when they were un­done by rookie spin­ner Me­hedi Hasan.

Ash­win recorded just 2-167 in the first in­nings and 1-63 in the sec­ond. Mishra fin­ished on 1-98 and 2-60 while Jadeja’s solid 3-86 was fol­lowed by 0-47 in the sec­ond in­nings. How­ever, the pitch at the Visakha­p­at­nam ground in Andhra Pradesh state is ex­pected to be more favourable to In­dia’s spin­ners than Ra­jkot’s flat and grassy track. “We’re un­der no il­lu­sions that these next four Tests could be even tougher,” said Bayliss. Eng­land could in­clude lead­ing wicket-taker James An­der­son, who has re­cov­ered from a shoul­der in­jury, while In­dia are also set to make changes.

Opener Lokesh Rahul was added to the squad on Tues­day after prov­ing his re­cov­ery from a ham­string in­jury sus­tained bat­ting against New Zealand last month by scor­ing a cen­tury in a do­mes­tic fix­ture on Mon­day.

He looks cer­tain to re­turn at the top of the or­der to re­place Gau­tam Gamb­hir who strug­gled in Ra­jkot with scores of 29 and 0.

All-rounder Hardik Pandya could make his de­but and add pace to In­dia’s at­tack.

“We can still play an ex­tra bowl­ing op­tion and keep putting pres­sure on the op­po­si­tion,” said cap­tain Vi­rat Kohli.

In­dia (from): Vi­rat Kohli (capt), Ravichan­dran Ash­win, Gau­tam Gamb­hir, Ravin­dra Jadeja, Ramit Mishra, Karun Nair, Hardik Pandya, Chetesh­war Pu­jara, Ajinkya Ra­hane, Lokesh Rahul, Wrid­dhi­man Saha, Mo­hammed Shami, Ishant Sharma, Umesh Ya­dav, Jayant Ya­dav, Mu­rali Vi­jay. Eng­land (from): Alas­tair Cook (capt), Moeen Ali, James An­der­son, Za­far An­sari, Jonny Bairstow, Jake Ball, Gary Bal­lance, Gareth Batty, Stu­art Broad, Jos But­tler, Ben Duck­ett, Steven Finn, Haseeb Hameed, Adil Rashid, Joe Root, Ben Stokes, Chris Woakes.

VISAKHA­P­AT­NAM: Mem­bers of Eng­land cricket team play a friendly game of soc­cer dur­ing a train­ing ses­sion ahead of their sec­ond test cricket match against In­dia in Visakha­p­at­nam, In­dia, yes­ter­day.

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