England vs. India, 2nd Test, Preview

So after catching our breath after what was a truly enjoyable First Test, we now head over to Lords where being seen with the right people is generally more important than the cricket and forking out the best part of £120 for a ticket is never an issue, and pay well over the odds for champagne is the done thing. One of the major things that made the First Test so enjoyable was the pitch that was prepared for Edgbaston had a bit in it for the bowlers, certainly when there was some overhead cloud cover. Sure the batting on both sides (Kohli aside) was pretty flimsy but credit to the bowlers who made the most of the conditions. This unfortunately is where Lords will differ to Edgbaston as Mick Hunt has never prioritised the entertainment of the crowd compared to ensuring that the game lasts well into the final day, after all this is the cash cow Test Match, so you may as well milk it whilst you can. I would expect there to be a little movement early on, but then the pitch should flatten out and make batting relatively serene for both sides certainly compared to Edgbaston. Whether either side has the batting quality (again aside from Kohli and Root) to take such advantage is still to be believed.

England have made two changes to their Test side with a certain balding, ginger all-rounder occupied elsewhere (that’s all you’re getting from me on that subject) and Dawid Malan being dropped after suffering a difficult time with the bat at home and an even worse time in the slips. I would have liked to see Malan succeed as a Test Player but as every innings rolled by, it looked more and more that the 100 he scored in Perth was going to be the exception rather than the norm. I was slightly surprised that Ed Smith stated he felt Malan would suit away conditions rather than home conditions, as this now pretty much rules him out of any home Test series in future. In his place, the exciting Ollie Pope has been called up on the weight of runs that he has scored this season and due to England’s new focus on youth. Would it maybe preferable to have called up a certain Ian Ronald Bell, who is scoring bucket loads of runs and hence let Pope consolidate his game in Division 1? Maybe so, but I can’t fault Smith’s focus on getting a young talent into the Test team. From the little I have seen of Pope live, he does seem to be more comfortable on the back foot rather than the front foot, so it will be interesting to see how his technique goes to the fuller ball, especially if it is swinging. That being said, he has looked supremely comfortable against county attacks this season and whilst Joe Clarke can feel a little unlucky at not being the next cab off the rank, I personally feel that Pope looks the better talent. One must hope that he can take his county form into the Test arena. I would expect Mr. Mediocre, Chris Woakes, to come in for said absent all-rounder unless the dry nature of the recent weather makes Lords a bit of a Bunsen burner, which I would highly doubt (one must have 4 full days of play at least one must remember).

As for India, Bumrah is still not fit so I would presume that they will stick with the same bowling attack that caused England all sorts of problems at Edgbaston. The main call for India is whether they decide to recall Cheteshwar Pujara to the starting line up after their own batting suffered the yips in the First Test. I believe Pujara hasn’t been in the best form this season, but it still surprised me that he was dropped for the First Test as his record against England in our country is miles higher than any of his counterparts. Dhawan looks like a walking wicket to me, so India really do need someone to soak up strike with the new ball to prevent Kohli being exposed too early to a new ball. Much has been written about Kohli in the First Test, quite rightly so as his performance with the bat was heroic; however he is going to need some support from his other batsmen as no matter how talented he his, he really can’t do it all on his own.

As ever thoughts and comments on the game are welcome below:


59 thoughts on “England vs. India, 2nd Test, Preview

  1. quebecer Aug 8, 2018 / 3:06 pm

    I think losing the first test was a real blow to India. As difficult as it is for any away tem to win the first test of a series, India really had a great chance there on a pitch that helped as much as they could have hoped. However, the hoopla over winning from England fans BTL, for example, is silly, as we scraped it, played as badly as we did well, and still have huge problems in our line up.

    Lords might be the venue that offers India an even nicer wicket for them, being slower and lower, so there’s every chance that Virat’s batting might be enough for them this time, given the general rubbishness of ours, but this in my opinion this test will hinge on the same factors as the first test: England’s 3rd/4th seamers, and India’s top order batting.


  2. Mark Aug 8, 2018 / 3:52 pm

    I would have probably given Malan one more go seeing as it is on his home ground. Perhaps a little sentimental, but other certain players seem to get endless chances. After all, he does play at Lords, so he will have a better chance than most, perhaps that is what Smith means about being a better overseas player. A lack of excessive sideway movement.

    Don’t know much about Pope but it’s nice to see some younger players given a go.We have tended to think players need to mature into their mid 20s before picking them. Yet some of our most successful all time players like Botham, Gower, and Cook were picked when they were young. There is a danger players stagnate in County cricket. I always felt it was a pity Hick didn’t play Test cricket at 20/21 rather than having to wait until he was qualified at 27.

    The good news for India is Lords will have less sideways movement and England seem to be unable to post big scores no matter what the conditions are. 250/350 how ever good or bad the pitch. You know England are quite capable of being 100/5 on any surface.

    Stokes is also a big miss on the bowling front if not the batting lately. He does seem to have a golden arm. England need a good third seamer because Boad and Anderson need resting. The big problem for India is so far they seem to be a one batsman outfit. Of course that is not true, but Kohli can’t do it all on his own. If England get him out for under 20 it could be a breeze for the home side.


    • Mark Aug 8, 2018 / 3:54 pm

      I seem to have gone into pre moderation. Is that because I named a certain player beginning with the letter S?


      • Sean Aug 8, 2018 / 4:18 pm

        Yes, just for the duration of the case!! None of us need to be sued!


        • Mark Aug 8, 2018 / 4:24 pm

          Don’t worry I had no intention of mentioning the trial. But I can understand why it is better to be safe than sorry.


          • Sean Aug 8, 2018 / 4:40 pm

            Yep it’s not aimed at our regulars, more for anyone new who doesn’t know our stance on the subject.


        • jomesy Aug 8, 2018 / 5:18 pm

          Given there is premoderstion for comments regarding Stokes I hope you’re ok with me sending this and I’ll let you decide whether this is allowable (no problem if not)….but the Sky live coverage is quite (deliciously) ironic given the debate re FTA coverage.

          i.e. ALL of the witnesses so far have confirmed they didn’t know who Stokes (or indeed Hales) was.


          • Sean Aug 8, 2018 / 5:33 pm

            Indeed, only England’s best all-rounder and face of the new 100 ball lark, yet Johnny Public has no idea who he is!

            I would love to send that the the ECB and having it played on a loop to counter any argument that removing the game from FTA hasn’t done any damage!


  3. metatone Aug 8, 2018 / 7:33 pm

    So, contra Quebecer I think this match resolves quite neatly down to one question: “How much swing?” If it’s a “swinging bunsen” like Edgbaston, England will again have all the cards in their hands. If not, we’ll have a proper match on our hands as India’s bowlers have more experience on flatter pitches.

    Malan? Thought the home pitches statement was unnecessary – how does it help to undermine a player’s confidence that way? Just say “he needs to go back to domestic cricket and find some form” – who could argue with that?

    I’m in two minds about Bell, I can see how it could be a masterstroke, as he would bring not only form, but also experience and calm to a batting line up that looks nervy. Yet, it’s hardly a pick for the future. (Arguably, pick Bell and drop Cook might have made sense.)

    As for Pope, I haven’t seen enough of him to judge, but if you believe in County Cricket then he’s the right pick as his average this season is nearly double that of Clarke. (Besides, I’m suspicious of any player who Flower likes… which may be unfair to Clarke, but there you go.)

    I personally would have given Pujara a go, yes he struggled in early season CC, but he got going in the Royal London and Test pitches are better than early season CC, even if Edgbaston was still challenging. I just don’t think Dhawan has it together and opening against Broad and Anderson is crucial. I’d be tempted to bring in Nair for Rahul too, but on the other hand two changes in the batting may be too much as they will consider bringing a 2nd spinner in…

    Liked by 1 person

    • oreston Aug 8, 2018 / 9:06 pm

      To be fair to Ed Smith (can’t believe I’ve just used that form of words…) he’s hardly the first to make the comment about Malan perhaps being better suited to playing at Test match level in overseas conditions. I think it may have been said here, in fact. At least it gives the player some clarity about where he stands while leaving open the possibility at least of a future winter tour if his county form merits it. Acknowledging that someone does in fact have areas in which they have shown some capability, and in which they may yet be able to make a future contribution, is not I think the very worst way to frame a conversation about letting them go. He may well go back to county cricket and prove the selectors wrong, and good luck to him.


      • jomesy Aug 8, 2018 / 9:44 pm

        I agree it may be true oreston but I also have to agree with metatone that there is no need to say it publicly.

        It’s like my superiors saying, very publicly, jomesy can’t do bread and butter (what we expect of him), but we hope we can do a nice side dish in the future.


        • oreston Aug 9, 2018 / 12:48 am

          I’ll agree that there was no actual requirement to say it publicly and make an already fairly widely shared view “offical”, but consider… If Smith hadn’t included such a caveat it’s inevitable that some commentators would’ve reacted thus: “Is that it then? Are they discarding him forever – a player who made a century at Perth only six Tests ago? Wouldn’t his experience be useful on future tours, if perhaps not in English conditions?”
          You see it’s the new paradigm: just as nature abhors a vacuum, so the internet abhors a lack of blame. If it doesn’t (for example) declare you a “victim” for one reason, it’ll sure as Hell find another (potentially completely opposite and contrary) route by which to do it; for somebody is always at fault no matter what the circumstances.
          Which I think suggests that you probably can’t win as a selector in this day and age. If you don’t elucidate your selection decisions publicly, you’re guilty of a lack of transparency, not engaging and living in an ivory tower. If you do share the full rationale behind them, you risk standing accused of insensitivity and upsetting somebody by calling it how you see it. However if you take the middle path, no one trusts anything you say because your “explanations” will just sound like mealy-mouthed corporate spin – and haven’t we had more than enough of that?


        • thelegglance Aug 9, 2018 / 11:14 am

          To be fair, we do complain when all we get is meaningless platitudes, so I can’t be too upset when instead someone in the hierarchy comes out and says exactly what he thinks instead.

          Liked by 1 person

  4. Mark Aug 8, 2018 / 9:25 pm

    As we are about to start the second Test match of the summer (of the series that matters) a week into August, I don’t think I have ever looked forward less to the start of a new football season. And I speak as someone who has loved football for fifty years. But really the absolute total bollocks spoken in the media about transfers, players and the pretence of the whole thing just pushes me away from the game.

    I’m amazed that the fans of about 75% of Premiership clubs are prepared to pay for their season tickets in the numbers they do, and the prices they pay. Their clubs have zero chance of winning anything, while their players will be earning shed loads to finish between 8th and 12th . really?

    The modern version of Tulip mania!


  5. Nicholas Aug 8, 2018 / 10:50 pm

    It’s the same as ever for me – if the pitch (/overhead) gives something then England are contenders. But if it’s flat then India all the way. This has been the case since 2014 – we’ve been stuck in the same rut since then to be quite honest. It’s all about conditions and scoreboard pressure these days – sigh!!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Rooto Aug 9, 2018 / 7:46 am

      An article (by Marks?) at the Guardian said that the pitch was still under cover yesterday, probably to prevent excessive drying out. Perhaps the soaking which Edgbaston got from the ground staff will not be enough to stop a dry turner at Lord’s. Good news for India and Jadeja’s chances of being selected?


  6. Mark Aug 9, 2018 / 10:04 am

    You do have to laugh. We have sat here for the last two months basking in the best summer we have had for years, while our governing body says the driest months of the cricket season are to be given over to hit and giggle. Now, as the football season is about to start we begin the major Test cricket of the summer. and what happens?

    It pisses down with rain.

    I fear this is going to be repeated many times over the coming years. Oh well, maybe it’s the only way we can guarantee a full five days. I wish I wasnt cynical, but I can’t help thinking England want to play in overcast conditions. Well done ECB, they are now trying to abolish the English cricket summer.


    • nonoxcol Aug 9, 2018 / 10:51 am

      Different ways of looking at the same fact…

      Glass half-empty:

      Glass half-full*:

      *and used to work for Sky.


      • LordCanisLupus Aug 9, 2018 / 11:09 am

        Why is the embodiment of a sport that seeks to attract back the people it lost, why is the exemplar of what you should aspire to as the top echelon of sport attendee when you need to get women and kids back, and why is it great to see jackets and ties when you complain there are no women and kids coming, the fucking MCC member? A private club runs our largest ground, and it is genuflected to every fucking year. Sickening.

        Yeah, I had a whinge.

        Also, how nice that a token four students get to live the life of a journo for a day at Lord’s. How gracious. Chances of a non-mainstream seeking blogger ever getting that offer, even for a county game? Do me a favour.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Mark Aug 9, 2018 / 11:35 am

          This is who they are. It’s like a Safari show. Watching them in their natural habitat in full plumes.

          These are the only people who count. The woman and children only get the lifeboats after these creatures have been catered for.


        • LordCanisLupus Aug 9, 2018 / 11:41 am

          Exhibit B. It’s Lord’s. It’s fancy. It’s a fucking private members club who if they had their way would still have amateur players.


          • Mark Aug 9, 2018 / 12:05 pm

            Yup, with separate dressing rooms, and separate gates onto the field of play. And a special dinning area for the “ professional” players with a standard lunch of a ploughman’s and a pint, while the ameateurs are stuffing their faces with Peach and Peacock.


    • LordCanisLupus Aug 9, 2018 / 11:14 am

      The English summer is the English summer and it occurs whenever it wants, however it wants. London weather charts show July, August and September average the same amount of rainy days, while June is drier!

      Your reminder that the 5th Ashes test next year commences on 12th September.


      • Mark Aug 9, 2018 / 11:31 am

        I have been watching Test cricket for nearly 50 years, and the English summer is as you say…what it is. Rain and washouts are just part and parcel of the whole package. It was a part of life.

        But that was before the governing body decided to abolish the longest days of summer for money making enterprises like hit a giggle. Suddenly, it’s not just changeable weather, but outright incompetence.


      • nonoxcol Aug 9, 2018 / 12:15 pm

        A lot of people* are going to respond to that by saying that the 2005 Ashes finished on the same date “and no-one complained then”.

        *ECB lackeys


        • thelegglance Aug 9, 2018 / 12:17 pm

          Ironically enough, that 5th Test in 2005 was quite badly affected by poor weather.


        • LordCanisLupus Aug 9, 2018 / 12:24 pm

          Each of those tests having a minimum 9 clear days so players were rested and refreshed. All tests started on Thursday too so we had an “appointment to view”. All on FTA and a nation was captured.

          Yep. Let’s say the 12th September start date in 2019 is just the same as this time around. If they can keep themselves away from their crossword.


          • nonoxcol Aug 9, 2018 / 12:32 pm

            Edgbaston started on 4th August and Old Trafford 11th August.

            I don’t like playing devil’s advocate but the 2005 Ashes dates are burned into my soul, and we’d best be well prepared for next year’s arguments about scheduling…


          • LordCanisLupus Aug 9, 2018 / 12:36 pm

            Stand corrected. There was one back-to-back (I checked Lord’s to Edgbaston but not the other one).


          • Mark Aug 9, 2018 / 12:42 pm

            Why do you need passes if you have bought a ticket? Or are you getting in for free again?


  7. thelegglance Aug 9, 2018 / 11:06 am

    As the rain falls, I was thinking how we always beat up sporting bodies for being craven, manipulative rogues, and how at the present time we’ve got the European Championships with combined sports to try and make it like a mini-Olympics.

    What a brilliant, brilliant idea. They’ve managed to make each component far more interesting and exciting than it otherwise would be in isolation. If only we had that kind of creative approach from the ECB.


    • LordCanisLupus Aug 9, 2018 / 11:16 am

      Have they?

      Marketed that well. Didn’t have the first clue. And I’m a sport follower.


      • thelegglance Aug 9, 2018 / 11:17 am

        It’s a test to see how well it works. So the marketing was deliberately low key apparently, and hence no overall medal table.


        • Mark Aug 9, 2018 / 11:37 am

          Premiership football season starts tomorrow night. You can forget all sports after that. Wall to wall coverage will be back on the greatest circus in town.

          And it doesn’t matter if it rains!


        • Glenn Aug 9, 2018 / 11:41 am

          I’ve noticed the European Championship as I don’t have pay sports tv and the European Championships have been live on BBC1/BBC2 and the red button all day!

          Liked by 1 person

          • thelegglance Aug 9, 2018 / 11:42 am

            You can guarantee that there have been the kind of viewing figures cricket would die for too.


          • Mark Aug 9, 2018 / 12:01 pm

            I don’t think cricket would die for large viewing figures. They don’t care. As long as they can sponge off footballs pay per view audience , and fill out Lords. (See above with fine dinning) they are happy.

            It’s not a sport, but a private members club. Jeez even the journalists covering it don’t seem to care. In fact the actively encourage exclusivity, and sneer at a large TV audience.


  8. Miami Dad's Six Aug 9, 2018 / 11:42 am

    Whilst it’s raining and nothing happening, I thought I’d point out this article from the Graun;


    “Counties Should Revolt Against The Hundred And Reverse The ECB Coup” – Matthew Engel.

    Engel’s been pretty good recently, and the Graun has noticeably improved for utter self serving dribble since Selvey stopped writing for them.

    Likelihood of a coup? Ways to create a coup? Support for a coup?


  9. metatone Aug 9, 2018 / 12:12 pm

    I’ll wheel out my usual complaints when it is raining – you just know they’ll do their damndest to get a few overs in to reduce the refund – but it’s too miserable to stay without cover, so for any normal person it’s a washout.


    • LordCanisLupus Aug 9, 2018 / 12:18 pm

      Looking at the rain it is pulsing up from Northern France and the base point is now moving east having appeared to be stuck all morning. I am guessing that we might see the rain stop in around 3-4 hours time.

      So you might be right. Let’s have some more tweets about the lovely food in the pavilion. Can’t you just taste it…..mmmmm mmmmm lovely.


      • LordCanisLupus Aug 9, 2018 / 12:26 pm

        In case you are wondering, it’s not long to wait to become an “Ordinary” member:

        Ordinary Members
        Ordinary Members of MCC start as Candidates and are placed on the Waiting List. However, this is a particularly long one, as the number of people wanting to join MCC always exceeds the number of vacancies that become available.

        Therefore an Ordinary Candidate currently has to wait approximately twenty seven years before becoming a Full Member of MCC (although he or she should be given an opportunity to become an Associate Member long before then).

        But it’s also who you know:

        All Candidates for MCC membership must be aged at least sixteen before being nominated.

        They must be proposed, seconded and sponsored by Full (or Senior) Members of MCC and each application needs to be endorsed by either: a current member of the MCC Committee; a current member of an MCC sub-committee; or a current Area Representative appointed by the MCC Committee to assist in the organisation of its out-match playing programme.

        In total, therefore, four MCC Members need to support a person’s nomination for Membership of the Club. In the case of Playing and Out-Match one of these four people – or, if preferred, another Full Member – must support the Candidate’s ability as a cricketer on his/her proposal form.

        All Ordinary and Playing Candidates need to pay a Registration Fee before their names are entered into the Club’s books.

        This Registration Fee is deducted from the Entrance Fee which is payable if the Candidate is elected as a Full Member of the Club.

        Proposals for membership are available only to Full or Senior Members of the Club.

        For more information please contact MCC’s Membership office.


        • mdpayne87 Aug 9, 2018 / 12:39 pm

          MCG is similar. When I lived in Melbourne the guys I knew would get their kids on the waiting list as soon as they were born, in the hope that by the time they were 18 they would have qualified for full membership.


          • thelegglance Aug 9, 2018 / 12:44 pm

            You get reciprocal rights between the two MCCs. A friend of mine is (I think) a Restricted Member of the Melbourne one, as he enquired about access to Lords for this Test, and was told he has a couple more years to wait.


          • mdpayne87 Aug 9, 2018 / 12:48 pm

            Right, didn’t know that. Think even getting Restricted membership was a decades wait at least.


          • LordCanisLupus Aug 9, 2018 / 12:54 pm

            We nearly got into the Members area at the MCG back in 2006. For one of those 50 over matches. Got to the door to take you out to the seating area before we were stopped. No idea we came that close. You’d have thought we were trying to escape from Colditz / steal the crown jewels. There were about 5 people in those seats.

            Once blagged my way into a Navy club in Jason Day’s home town by claiming I worked logistics in the Falklands. I would have been 12 when I did that, but the doorman was suitably impressed. 12 at the time of the Falklands, not blagging a drink, you understand.


        • Mark Aug 9, 2018 / 12:46 pm

          Funny how there is no mention of simplistic mothers, and their kids with counting difficulties.

          The want a Feudal system of Lords and paupers. They can go f themselves.


  10. LordCanisLupus Aug 9, 2018 / 12:45 pm

    So which Jonah has been to the most rained out days at a test match.

    I’ve not had a full rainout. Closest I came would have been Day 5 at Adelaide in 2002, but of course, we’d lost by then.

    The worst days for me were England v South Africa in 2008 – 17.5 overs, ironically on 9 August! Also ironically, it was the last test match of the summer.

    England v Australia in 2005 had a badly affected Friday but I don’t recall getting any money back for that one.

    Rain stories. We’re desperate. Any really nice lunches?


    • thelegglance Aug 9, 2018 / 12:47 pm

      I’ve not bothered to go when it was due to rain all day, but that’s all. No way am I one of those who will sit there under an umbrella for five hours – bollocks to that.

      I have been to Wimbledon and didn’t see a single ball hit all day – something far rarer than you’d think – pre-roof days of course.


    • Mark Aug 9, 2018 / 12:47 pm

      This whole season hasn’t been rained out . We have been Sunned out instead.


    • nonoxcol Aug 9, 2018 / 12:54 pm

      Total washout for all bar half an hour at Trent Bridge v New Zealand 1990 (Saturday).

      With the wry aside that I did get to see Gooch lbw to Hadlee first ball at the start of a summer in which he went on to break all sorts of batting records.

      Headingley 1995 v WI (Thursday) was also very wet, and guess what: there was barely a drop of rain in Yorkshire from the end of that week until the end of August.

      That’s about it for me.


      • LordCanisLupus Aug 9, 2018 / 12:59 pm

        My one day at tennis, a sport I care little about, was rain ruined.

        Get the smallest violin out. It was the US Open the year Andy Murray won it. I got to see an hour and a half of Gasquet v Ferrer and half an hour of meldonium enhanced Sharapova against John Inverdale’s love quest.


      • mdpayne87 Aug 9, 2018 / 1:17 pm

        Was at Day 1 of England vs India at the Oval in 2011 (Bell’s 235 match). Cook and Strauss batted until lunch, rest of the day rained off. From memory we were two overs beyond the refund threshold.


    • Sean Aug 9, 2018 / 12:57 pm

      Remember having 2 tickets to different Tests in 2008 and both were rained off, including the one on FA Cup Final Day.

      Gave them both until 2pm and then buggered off to the pub..


      • LordCanisLupus Aug 9, 2018 / 1:00 pm

        With South Africa I got to London Bridge station just as Millwall, on opening day, were contriving to chuck away a lead and lose 4-3 at Oldham.


    • quebecer Aug 9, 2018 / 2:27 pm

      I think all of my test days at Lords have had rain, going back to back when I was a nipper watching Imran and his Pakistan team win their first ever test at Lords. I was there on the day it rained. When Dominic Cork scored the winning runs verses the West Indies? I was there a few on one of the days before where it was a total rain out. Verses Aus, saw a few overs between rain, where the mighty John Crawley hit a cover drive off McGrath and that was about it.

      My first real memory of Lords was when the day I was at was very much Gordon Greenidge affected.


    • dannycricket Aug 9, 2018 / 5:26 pm

      I thought this might be a windup, but it’s genuine. It might be tense in the dressing room, assuming someone with social media tells Cook about it…


      • LordCanisLupus Aug 9, 2018 / 5:35 pm

        It’s during the ODI tour to Sri Lanka and presumably Downton was listening.


        • Zephirine Aug 10, 2018 / 2:41 am

          2014, so he’d have been what, 12? Oh no, sorry, all of 16. Bless.


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