Having snatched a dramatic victory in the first Test of five, England face a tough task if they are to maintain control of their series against India.
The hosts claimed a 31-run win at Edgbaston to take a 1-0 series lead, but the omens are against them heading into the second Test at Lord’s, which gets under way on Thursday.
India to win second Test @ 9/5
The tourists could, and maybe should, have won the series opener against England, with only a collapse in their second innings leaving them short of the line.
They will be boosted by the hosts lacking all-rounder Ben Stokes due to off-field issues, while they also know that England struggle at HQ.
The Three Lions have won just three of their last nine Tests at Lord’s and have not won any of their last four clashes at the venue with sub-continental opposition.
All of which suggests that at 9/5 an Indian victory is an option worthy of serious consideration.
Top 1st inns England bowler, James Anderson – 49/20
James Anderson is the leading all-time Test wicket-taker at Lord’s and will be desperate to impress, especially in the absence of key all-rounder Stokes.
Anderson has taken 94 wickets in 22 Test outings at HQ and is hard to look past as the man to lead the home attack in the first innings of the match.
Stuart Broad showed signs of something like top form as he took two key wickets in the India second innings in Birmingham and with 78 Test wickets at Lord’s already to his name, he is a decent second option at 27/10.
Top 1st inns India bowler, Ishant Sharma @ 33/10
While much of the talk will centre around the spin options at the disposal of India, their quality seam options sometimes go under the radar.
Amongst those, Ishant Sharma will surely be a man to watch, having taken career-best innings figures of 7-74 the last time he featured in a Test match at Lord’s.
The big right-armer also claimed six wicket in the recent defeat at Edgbaston and is clearly in form after warming up nicely for the international summer by featuring for Sussex and getting himself acclimatised to English conditions.
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