India vs England: Second Test Preview

India will be looking for an improved performance when they take on England in the second Test in Visakhapatnam.

England will head to the second Test in Visakhapatnam on Thursday with a psychological advantage after leaving India bloody and bruised on the ropes in Rajkot.

The second Test – which will be hosted and the currently ‘uncapped’ ACA-VDCA Cricket Stadium – promises to be a fascinating contest. Can the Indian spinners assert their dominance or will England’s batsmen once again come to the fore? Let’s find out:

Jockeys riding horses

India vs England | 17 Nov – 21 Nov | ACA-VDCA Cricket Stadium, Visakhapatnam | Inida

To Win Match
India 6/10 | Draw 36/10 | England 32/10

The Indians will be seething following their below-par performance in the first Test. Having said that, Virat Kohli, Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja showed excellent application in their final innings to salvage the draw when a defeat seemed like a distinct possibility.

Their second innings collapse on a rapidly deteriorating wicket ensured a nail-biting finish for the home side. Kohli even came out saying that his side valued the experience in fighting for the draw.

 "Well, at least we know how to draw games now” said the Indian captain. "Before that, some people obviously were skeptical about our side knowing how to draw games. We won games or we lost games. I spoke with Jadeja out there that it was an opportunity for both of us to improve on another aspect of the game.”

And he’s right, you know. The Indians have enjoyed pretty straight-forward wins at home. They’ve never really been boxed into a corner and been made to fight for their lives. While they didn’t pass the test with flying colours – there will be a few annoyed glances shot over at the top order – it’s a test they passed nonetheless.

The Rajkot Test was the home first five-day match that India had failed to win in their last 12, which speaks volumes about the way England played as well as the way that the deck played. The pitch was turning wildly by the final day. The first parts of the Test only saw the ball turn from the rough as is normally the case on wickets away from the Sub-Continent.

Looking ahead, Kohli will be desperate to win the toss and bat first. He’ll call on Murali Vijay, Gautam Gambhir and Cheteshwar Pujara to lay the foundation for a massive first innings score. He’ll then call on his spinners to wrap things up on the fifth day when the wicket becomes close to unplayable.

What a performance from the English! Alistair Cook and his men put an end to India’s 12-match Test winning streak at home in matches that weren’t affected by rain. Joe Root, Moeen Ali and Ben Stokes all scored fine hundreds on a benign pitch by recent Indian standards.

As a result, the visitors managed to amass an enormous 537 in their first innings. Getting a score in excess of 450 in any Test pretty much guarantees you at least a draw barring a dog show in your second innings. One feels that getting past the 400 / 450 mark in their first innings would have been top of the priority list for the English – a test they passed with flying colours.

The first innings was followed up by a fine display of batting from Cook and debutant Haseeb Hameed in the second innings. The two put on 180 for the first wicket as Cook went to his fifth century in India – the most by any touring batsman.

While the English batting was good, I was most impressed with Adil Rashid. Like most leg-spinners, he concedes a fair amount of runs but had struggled to pick up enough wickets to justify his place in the side. That all changed in the first Test as he finished on match figures of 178-7 in his 45.3 overs.
More of the same will be expected from him this week as the teams head to Visakhapatnam where the wicket is likely to offer more to the spinners early on than we saw in Rajkot.

Verdict: India 6/10
Don’t expect the Indians to be as charitable as they were in the first Test. Also, don’t expect the deck to be as benign as the one in Rajkot. Ashwin, Jadeja and Mishra will all be relishing the chance to atone for the first Test. India are excellent value here at 6/10 – get on!

Value Bet: A hundred to be scored in the match: no at 7/1
I always like this market when teams are playing in India. I like this market even more because the Dr. YS Rajasekhara Reddy ACA-VDCA Cricket Stadium has yet to host a Test match. The local curator has probably also been instructed to prepare a turner following India’s disappointing performance in the first Test – although the secretary of the Andhra Cricket Association promised a “neutral pitch”. We’ll have to wait and see. 

Having said that, I’d still have a small stake on this market at 7/1. It offers incredible value, especially in India where low-scoring affairs are always likely. If you’re not interested in such a risky bet, take the safer option and take a 100 to be scored in the first innings: no at 12/10.

Written by Jason Dewey for @Hollywoodbets.

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