Can India take a stranglehold on the series or will the home side fight back?
Where: The Ageas Bowl
When: 11.00 (BST)
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England are 1-0 down in a five-Test series, against opponents who have just won their first overseas Test in three years. There is a lot of cricket left to be played, clearly, but the cheer in the India camp and the gloom in England’s are at levels disproportionate to the bare fact of the scoreline.
Lord’s was a crushing win for India but it is still too early to say the momentum has swung their way. This team is still learning to win, still hoping at the start of every Test match that their bowlers are capable of taking 20 wickets.
Until that inexplicable English meltdown on the fifth afternoon, it seemed quite possible that India might do a Johannesburg or a Wellington and let another advantageous position slip from their grasp.
To anyone who has watched their recent overseas tours, it should not have been too much of a surprise that India outbatted England at Lord’s, except perhaps for the fact that Cheteshwar Pujara and Virat Kohli didn’t feature among the biggest gamechangers.
That they also outbowled England, though, was a surprise. Something must be going wrong at a fundamental level if an attack that includes James Anderson and Stuart Broad is struggling to dismiss lower-order batsmen so often.
Whether it is due to weariness – Broad, suffering from knee tendinitis, has looked down on pace – or the sameness of their attack – Moeen Ali has taken more than twice the wickets Ravindra Jadeja has, without offering the same control – or simply the tactics – how many times do you bowl short to tailenders and fail to dismiss them before shelving the plan? – they can’t go on as they have been for too much longer.
England seem a side set in their ways but are in dire need of change. India, particularly their bowlers, will need to show they can do what they did at Lord’s on a consistent basis.