After being dominated by England in the first Test of the four-match series at Chennai, Indian vice-captain Ajinkya Rahane reckons that the pitch for the second Test, to be played at the same venue, but on a different strip, will bear a completely different complexion and could start turning from the first day of the Test itself.
Speaking at the pre-match press conference, Rahane sounded surprised talking about the pitch saying, “The pitch looks completely different (from 1st Test); 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.
On India’s playing XI, the vice-captain did not give away much and said everyone is in the mix and he is happy to Axar Patel is back to full fitness. With Axar returning it looks almost certain that the left-arm spinner will make his Test debut tomorrow with Shabaz Nadeem making way. Apart from this, clamor for the inclusion of specialist spinner in Kuldeep Yadav in place of Washington Sunder is growing, but looking at how England managed to play against India’s three spinners, the hosts may change their combination and field just two spinners, adding one extra pacer in Mohammad Siraj to accompany Ishant Sharma and Jasprit Bumrah.
“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.
Rahane also went on to defend the Indian spinners saying that he thought they bowled well on a pitch that offered nothing to the tweakers. “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, on the other hand, have made four changes to their playing XI from the first Test, resting Dom Bess and James Anderson, while Jofra Archer has been ruled out with an injury and Jos Buttler flying back home. Ben Foakes will replace Buttler while Moeen Ali is likely to take Bess’s place. Archer and Anderson’s place will likely go to the two from Stuart Broad, Chris Woakes, and Olly Stone.