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India vs England 2nd Test Preview: As crowds return, hurting India gear up to bounce back

England's Rory Burns in action
England's Rory Burns in action

The England team management under head coach Chris Silverwood is set to ring in the changes which could see as many as four players part of the first test match missing out.

Because a spectacle deserves spectators

This is the first time that crowds will return to an international cricket match in India since the COVID-19 break. Spectators up to 50% of the crowd capacity have been allowed to attend the match in Chennai. There will be temperature checks and hand sanitizing at every entrance with face masks mandatory at all times.

It is no secret that Team India under Virat Kohli feeds off the energy of the home crowd. There were certain moments during the first test match where the home team could have done with some encouragement from the fans in the stands. It will surely add to the overall atmosphere of the test match and also help Team India lift their spirits when they find themselves behind the eight ball.

Expect a turner

Given how flat the pitch at the MA Chidambaram Stadium was for the first test match, a bit spicier surface is expected for the second test. However, India would be wary of England's pacers, which means that they are not likely to back a green top.

There can be more spin on offer from day one onwards, with a dryer pitch on show. However, the consequence of that is that the pitch can begin to break from quite early on and turn into a dust bowl on days 4 and 5.

Broad, Stone, Ali likely to play

Despite putting in a brilliant show in the first test match and winning by 227 runs, England are set to make a few changes to their playing XI. With Jos Buttler flying out of India to rest and recover before returning for the white-ball matches, Ben Foakes will take his place in the playing XI.

Jofra Archer blew hot and cold in the first test match. While he did bowl some testing deliveries, he did not choose to put in 100% effort every time he ran in to bowl. As part of the rotation policy, England are likely to try out Olly Stone in his place.

Despite James Anderson bowling a match-winning spell of 3/17 in the second innings, which effectively won England the match, he is expected to be rested with another veteran pacer in Stuart Broad taking his place. This strengthens the probability of the two playing together in the pink ball test later in the series. Dom Bess' inconsistency may cost him his place.

 India to bring in Axar and Kuldeep

There is a lot of outside noise for Team India to make a lot of changes, but the boys would know that there's no need to panic. Axar Patel was in line to make his test debut in the first test match but was ruled out due to pain in the knee.

Patel is expected to be back to full fitness and will take the place of Shahbaz Nadeem who bowled as many as 9 no-balls in the first test match. This will allow India to play wrist spinner Kuldeep Yadav in place of Washington Sundar, who did well with the bat but failed to impress with the ball, which is his primary skill.

India will thus have two spinners who bring the ball into the right hander and one who takes it away. If Axar Patel is not fit enough, Washington Sundar will retain his place and Rahul Chahar can then replace Shahbaz Nadeem.

India can also think of bringing in Mohammed Siraj, who was sensational in Australia, in place of Ishant Sharma. Ishant did bowl accurately in the first test match and reached the 300-wicket milestone, but was self admittedly sore after playing a test match after a long, long time. It would be a good idea for India to rest and rotate with a turnaround of only three days in between the two test matches.

Here's the probable playing XIs:

India - Rohit Sharma, Shubman Gill, Cheteshwar Pujara, Virat Kohli (c), Ajinkya Rahane, Rishabh Pant (wk), Axar Patel, Ravichandran Ashwin, Kuldeep Yadav, Mohammed Siraj/Ishant Sharma, Jasprit Bumrah

England - Rory Burns, Dominic Sibley, Daniel Lawrence, Joe Root (c), Ben Stokes, Ollie Pope, Ben Foakes (wk), Dominic Bess/Moeen Ali, Olly Stone, Jack Leach, Stuart Broad

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