Chennai is right up there when it comes to producing rank turners. India would have expected the same and went in with three spinners in the 1st Test against England. However, contrary to its nature, the pitch offered nothing to the spinners on the first two days as Indian bowlers struggled to halt the run flow from the English batsmen. However, Ajinkya Rahane, the Indian vice-captain is of the opinion that the pitch in the second match will be completely different from the surface that we saw in the series opener. He said that he expects the pitch to start turning from day 1.
”I am sure it will turn from Day 1.” He added that the wicket will be different, so the game plan may change accordingly, but it won’t be that tricky,” said Rahane on the eve of the match.
He also gave an update on the fitness of Axar Patel and said that he’s happy that everyone is back to full fitness. With Axar fit, there are high chances that he’ll be selected in the playing XI for the second test with Shahbaz Nadeem making way. Also, India may look to bring in Kuldeep Yadav in place of Washinton Sundar. England looked pretty comfortable against the spinners in the 1st game which may force India to think about adding an extra pacer at the cost of a spinner.
“Everyone is in the mix (playing XI); the good thing is Axar is fit to play. All our spinners are really good,” said Rahane. On being asked about his personal form with the bat, Rahane shot back saying this is the first home tour for the team in nearly two years, and if you look at the numbers from the series, you will have your answer.
When asked about the performance of the Indian spinners in the 1st match, he defended them by saying that there was nothing on offer for the spinners. He said that Indian bowlers bowled exceptionally well, especially in the second inning.
“I thought our spinners bowled well in the 1st Test. If you see 2dn innings, especially Ashwin bowled really well, there is not much concern over their performance,” he said.
England have made four changes to their playing XI from the first Test. Jofra Archer has been ruled out due to injury while Jos Buttler has returned home due to the ECB’s rotation policy. James Anderson and Dom Bess have been rested from the game. Moeen Ali, Stuart Broad. Chris Woakes and Olly Stone are the most probable replacements.