Indians would be eager to exploit the home advantage but as far as the confidence levels are concerned, England currently hold the upper hand without a shadow of a doubt. Coincidentally, Virat Kohli and Joe Root will be making their 50th Test appearance for their respective sides.
Before Joe Root got to the hundred mark in the first Test, only Michael Clarke registered a hundred before him on Indian soil in 2013 of all the overseas batsmen. It took almost two and a half years to break the dead lock and three more centuries followed from the rampant English batting unit, from Moeen Ali, Ben Stokes and the skipper Alastair Cook(Cook scored a ton in the 2nd innings).
This clearly suggests that the English batsmen have adapted themselves to these conditions well, but one has to remember a fact that they haven’t yet faced the real test, which apparently lies in Vizag.
Many have criticized the pitch makers of Rajkot for leaving so much of grass on the pitch, which played the barrier for the Indian spin trio. But Vishakapatnam, which will play the host tomorrow for the second Test, will have something different to offer and this will be a more daunting challenge for the English.
Haseeb Hameed and Jonny Bairstow, who chipped in with crucial contributions, will have to work really hard to replicate something of sorts but their ability can definitely not be doubted.
Adil Rashid and Moeen Ali are just about settling into the conditions and have managed to get hold of the Indians in the spin trap, to an extent. It will be interesting to see how the Indians will face them, as they will be vary of a fact that these both are high quality spinners.
Stuart Broad and Chris Woakes have done what they could, on tracks which didn’t really support the bowlers. It will get tougher with time for them as they will have to bowl on even more drier pitches, where the ball will have no lateral movement.
Murali Vijay has been India’s unsung hero in the longer version for quite a long time now and there ain’t a soul who can question his place in the side. But he has had different partners over the time, but its pretty sure after Virat Kohli’s press conference that KL Rahul will get into the 11.
Cheteshwar Pujara and the skipper Virat Kohli spent some valuable time on the crease, which is always good before the start of a long lasting series. Ajinkya Rahane and Wriddhiman Saha will have to catch up though, as their presence in the middle order is very vital. Ravichandran Ashwin had a major say with the bat, not as much with the ball in the first test.
The batting department looks quite settled, barring the collapse in the 4th innings but its bowling unit, who have to regain the confidence. If there can be a little bit of help from the track, Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja and Amit Mishra will be very very hard to handle.
Umesh Yadav and Shami are most likely to stay in the 11, which means the experienced campaigner Ishant Sharma will have to wait some more time. But as Virat said, there might be some surprise inclusions in the side, we can expect something unexpected from the Indian contingent.