India's captain Virat Kohli (R) arrives with India's Lokesh Rahul (L) for a practice session at Lord's Cricket Ground in London on August 7, 2018 ahead of the second Test cricket match between England and India. (Photo by Ben STANSALL / AFP) / RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE. NO ASSOCIATION WITH DIRECT COMPETITOR OF SPONSOR, PARTNER, OR SUPPLIER OF THE ECB (Photo credit should read BEN STANSALL/AFP/Getty Images)

Four Things India Must Do To Win At Lords

After an quintessential test match in Edgbaston, summer carnival moves to the home of cricket. Both teams will lock horns against each other at the iconic Lords. England will be hoping to build on the momentum while Kohli’s men will be desperate to level the series. Here are the Four things India must do to win at Lords.

Bring In Cheteshwar Pujara

It was a huge call to leave Cheteshwar Pujara out of the playing eleven and one that certainly didn’t work. KL Rahul failed miserably in the both innings. The trio of Dhawan, Vijay and Rahul collectively faced only 93 deliveries in the 1st innings. The situation worsened in the second innings as the top three lasted for only 65 balls, exposing the middle order to the new ball.

Pujara’s presence at number three is vital as he will provide much needed stabilty to the batting line up. His gritty attitude and ability to hold up one end will certainly make things easier for Virat Kohli who was the lone warrior in the first test.
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Slip Catching

In a test match like Edgbaston, where margins are so small you need to pounce on each and every opportunity that comes your way. Indians were hot and cold in the slip region especially Shikhar Dhawan who dropped 3 catches. The most costliest drop was of Sam Curran when he was batting on 13 in the second innings. Curran went on to score 63 in the innings and took England’s lead to 193 which proved to be too much for India in the end.

Second Spinner

The voices to play two spinners have become loud with Hardik’s lack luster effort with the ball in the first test. With the recent heat wave and temperature hitting the mid thirties, the pitch is expected to turn. England’s limited over captain Eoin Morgan in an interview said

“Lord’s is a ground with a magnificent pitch, but with the way the weather has been, it is so difficult to keep the moisture not only in the pitch but actually in the square,” Morgan said. “I think it will be quite similar to Edgbaston. You will have to assume it will turn and probably reverse swing will play a big part as well.”

The dilemma for the Indian management is to whether they should rely on the experience of Ravindra Jadeja or give a chance to raw Kuldeep Yadav. Keeping in mind the batting collapses in Edgbaston, management would be tempted to keep Hardik in the side to provide batting cushion bringing in Kuldeep for a pacer. Kuldeep will add another dimension to the bowling arsenal and is high on confidence with his performances last month against England in shorter formats.
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Sam Curran Factor

Indian batsmen have been found it difficult against the left arm pacers. Mohammed Amir, Trent Boult, Jason Behrendoff have all troubled them in the recent times and Sam Curran was no different. The 20 year old removed the top three in the first innings to break the Indian back after a solid start and took five wickets in the test.

If his bowling created problems for the Indian batsmen, his batting was also coruscating. Sam scored 87 runs in total with a match changing 63 runs in the second innings. Where other batsmen found it difficult to read Ashwin, Sam’s footwork against spin was exemplary. Virat and company need to analyse Sam’s performance with both bat and ball and try to find out the weak spots.

Wagging Tail

Another reason for India’s defeat at Edgbaston was their inability to wrap up the tail. The last three wickets scored 137 runs both innings combined, 44 in the first and 93 in the second with Sam Curran being the chief contributor. It was actually a repeat of the Cape Town test in the start of the year where India had South Africa reeling at 221-7 and after that Maharaj, Rabada, Phliander and Steyn collectively added 65 runs to take the score to 286. India eventually lost the test by 72 runs.

Virat Kohli and management need to sit down and address this problem quickly. Bowling plans against the tail should be clear and executed properly. With batsmen having a tough time so far, each and every run saved could come in handy in the context of the series.

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