New Delhi: Test cricket has been a bed of roses for Indian skipper Virat Kolhi. Apart from an odd hiccup in Australia, he has experienced unprecedented success against Sri Lanka, South Africa, West Indies and New Zealand with 10 victories in 16 matches. However, England as always have appeared to be a thorn in the flesh for India. Virat had to put his guard down to salvage a draw in the final session of the first Test; indications enough that the series will not be a walk in the park for Virat and India. As the action shifts to Vizag for the second Test match, Virat Kohli will have to come up with something special to get an upper hand in the five-match series. Here are five headaches for Virat Kohli, which can cause India a lot of problems.
The thought of facing Ravichandran Ashwin in his own backyard is nightmarish enough for any touring side; add to that the accuracy of Jadeja and the guile of Mishra, a lethal Indian spin troika that can run through a side within a session. But surprisingly, the Indian spinners fell flat on a Rajkot pitch that provided little assistance to them. The venom was missing, the zip and bite to catch the batsman off guard was scarce. Ashwin ended up with match figures of 3/230. Jadaeja and Mishra were largely ineffective against the likes of Cook and Moeen Ali, raising doubts about their ability to get wickets on pitches which are not conducive to turn. The concerning part was, when England spinners Moeen Ali and Rashid Ali were creating a lot of problems for the Indian top order, the Indian spinners appeared toothless. Virat Kohli would be hoping for a much better performance from his strike bowlers when the two sides take the field in spin- friendly Vizag tomorrow.
Not 1 or 2 but 7 drop catches
A drop here and a slip there are accepted as part and parcel of the game but as many as seven let ups is certainly not, especially when two of the reprieved go on to score centuries. That was the story for India when they dropped seven catches at Rajkot. It started with Ajinkya Rahane at the very first over of the Test and carried on till Day 2 when Wriddhiman Saha dropped two simple chances to let Ben Stokes notch up 128. Kohli, himself had pointed that the drop catches were a reason England went on to score 537 in the first innings.
Alastair Cook; the master chef
As always he started shakily in the first innings but as the test match progressed he showed why he is regarded as one of the best in the world. Alastair Cook slammed 130 in the second innings, his 5th century in India, and most by any visiting batsman. He has scored a century every time he has toured India and the way he batted against Ashwin and company there were strong indications that there is more to come. Opening the batting for England, Cook holds the key, building a strong foundation every time for the likes of Root and Stokes to follow. No wonder he will be the most important scalp in Vizag also.
Batsmen struggling against spinners
The inexperienced England spinners led by leggie Adil Rashid gave a few scares to the fancied Indian batting line-up on the final day of the first Test. On a pitch providing little assistance to spinners, Adil Rashid, Moeen Ali and Zafar Ansari got the ball to turn and bounce off good length to claim 13 out of 16 Indian wickets. The Indian batsmen’s inability to judge the length and smother the spin was highlighted in Rajkot. England captain, Alastair Cook appeared particularly confident to state that his spinners will cause more troubles to India on turning track like Vizag.
Playing XI for Vizag
With the pitch curator making it clear that there will be no grass on the pitch offered for the second Test, Virat will be tempted to field three spinners again. However, he may lose his sleep over the choice of his two seamers. Mohammad Shami, who suffered small strain in his hamstring in the first innings, did not bowl today at the nets, giving an indication that the experienced Ishant Sharma may replace place in tomorrow’s match. A change at the top of the batting order is expected with Rahul being drafted into the side following his impressive Ranji outing. Both Gambhir and Rahul, though, spent considerable amount of time in the nets.