2nd Test: 4 Key Battles That Could Impact the Outcome in Chennai

England are without James Anderson and Jofra Archer for the second Test. 

3 min read
R Ashwin celebrates the wicket of Rory Burns on Day 1 in Chennai.

Heading into the second Test match against England in Chennai, India have their task cut out once again after a humbling defeat in first game. While England have made four changes to their final 12, India is yet to name their line-up but are also expected to make a few changes, possibly two.

The absence of James Anderson and Jofra Archer are bound to make India feel a tad bit better, but the hosts will need their senior players to stand up in what is a crucial game.

England’s key men won a few important individual contests that helped pave the way for the win in the series opener, and similarly will look to continue the trend. The likes of Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli, R Ashwin, Rishabh Pant among others will all need to play their part if India are to mount a fight back in the series.

Here’s a look at some of the key battles that are likely to set the tone for the second Test in Chennai. England are 1-0 up and in the box seat to take an unassailable lead.

Stuart Broad vs Virat Kohli

As always Virat Kohli’s presence in the middle is crucial to India’s overall performance. He tried his best in the second innings in the first Test but ran out of partners quite quickly. At the other end a well rested Stuart Broad will be looking to use all his experience to dislodge the Indian captain.

Kohli staying in the middle will only mean bad news for England, and Joe Root is likely to turn to his most experienced bowler in Broad to do the needful.

Like Kohli, a confident Broad can cause havoc, not something India would want to face.

R Ashwin vs Joe Root

The England captain started off the series brilliantly with a sensational double hundred in the first innings while Ashwin too had a good outing with the ball, especially in the second innings.

Root will of course be looking to repeat the act while Ashwin, the most prolific bowler for India will be looking to get his man.

The ace spinner had a similar target in Steve Smith in the Australia and got the better of him quite a few times. If Ashwin can stop Root from getting away, it would help India’s cause quite a bit. After all Ashwin and co do not want to be on the field for more than 2 days like in the first innings of the first Test.

Rishabh Pant vs Moeen Ali and Jack Leach

The Indian wicket-keeper batsman did quite a bit of damage to Leach in the first innings of the first Test match, and one expects the approach against England’s spinners to remain the same.

A similar showing against Ali and Leach will push England either well back in the context of the game or release the pressure on India, either way it is beneficial for the hosts. However, if Leach or Ali can work in tandem and stop Pant, which will be very difficult given the kind of form he is in, it will go a long way in working in England’s favour.

Ben Stokes vs Jasprit Bumrah

The talismanic all-rounder was looking set for a big knock in the first innings alongside Joe Root but just fell short of his century and in the second innings picked the important wicket of Virat Kohli, who was nearing his century as well.

Bumrah on the other hand will not be mighty pleased about his first Test at home and will look to strike a few telling blows in the second Test. And what better a scalp than one of the most dangerous all-rounders.

Of course it won’t be just Stokes on Bumrah’s mind as he will look to knock over as many wickets as possible, and quickly as India look to mount the fight back.

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