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Test Cricket: India to take on England in second test match at Visakhapatnam tomorrow

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Indian Men’s Cricket team will take on England in the second test match at Visakhapatnam tomorrow. England has already gained a lead of 1-0 in the five-match series defeating hosts India by 28 runs in the first match played at Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium in Hyderabad. England’s Ollie Pope played a magnificent innings of 196 runs, destroying the Indian bowling attack. 

It might seem incredulous considering how often their home record is brought up but India have been here before: down on the scoreline going into a second Test. Five times in fact since 2000. But only the great Australian team of 2004 had the legs to see an early lead to a series win. That’s how hard it is to keep throwing punches in these conditions without copping them back with interest.

Even in this decade of impregnability, India have found ways to overturn early deficits. In Bengaluru, they produced a clinic in attritional bowling. Four years later in Chennai, they went the other way and raged on a raging turner. And so, on to Vizag 2024, where the hosts will be out to convince the rest of the world that their facade is not in fact fraying and that they simply don’t lose consecutive home Tests, well not since 2012 anyway.

But time is what it is and Rohit Sharma and Rahul Dravid now have to protect a proud record with a squad that has fewer Test runs than Joe Root and where Ravichandran Ashwin is both the highest wicket-taker and second-highest run and century maker. The captain-coach pair seek quick solutions while colliding head-on with a team that has spent the last 18 months running on an irresistible quantum of jeopardy and the last few weeks, sweeping any rotating red spherical object out of sight.

Lest it is lost in the afterglow, it is worth remembering that India were still India in Hyderabad, just a little less super-sharp. They led by 190 and had chances that they didn’t take. In the end, they were done for by what was, in many ways, a knock for the ages. It’ll be interesting to see how they play in the follow up. Imitation, however subtle, will both be a hat-tip and an acknowledgement of shedding inhibitions.

However, should they lose the toss again and find the pitch to be similar, India will ask for better control from their bowlers and more enterprise from their batters as well as the captain. For the second time in two years, Rohit has been properly challenged at home with the marker for the series, this time, laid down very early. What happens next is a tantalising prospect.

Squads:

England Squad: Zak Crawley, Ben Duckett, Ollie Pope, Joe Root, Jonny Bairstow, Ben Stokes(c), Ben Foakes(w), Rehan Ahmed, Tom Hartley, Shoaib Bashir, James Anderson, Mark Wood, Ollie Robinson, Daniel Lawrence, Gus Atkinson

India Squad: Yashasvi Jaiswal, Rohit Sharma(c), Shubman Gill, Shreyas Iyer, Srikar Bharat(w), Ravichandran Ashwin, Axar Patel, Mohammed Siraj, Jasprit Bumrah, Rajat Patidar, Washington Sundar, Kuldeep Yadav, Sarfaraz Khan, Avesh Khan, Saurabh Kumar, Mukesh Kumar, Dhruv Jurel

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