The Chennai Track
The Chennai Track
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Chennai: England is to bring about four changes, while India, likely to make two, as the teams set off in their second Test for the Anthony De Mello Trophy, on the black track at the MAC Stadium, here from Saturday.

Thanks to the rotation policy, the visitors will have three new names in the side that played the first Test. England skipper Joe Root on Friday announced a 12-man squad with four changes, resting veteran pacer James Anderson and bringing back Stuart Broad in his place.

Another change is replacing offie Dom Bess, who did a decent job in the first Test, with the experienced Moeen Ali.

Veteran pacer James Anderson made way for Stuart Broad, while experienced off-spinner Moeen Ali came in for Dom Bess in England's 12-man squad for the second Test against India as skipper Joe Root announced four changes to the one that clinched the lung-opener.

Ben Foakes has been included as a wicketkeeper-batsman in place of Jos Buttler as was expected with the latter returning home after the first Test.

Bowling all-rounder Chris Woakes and rookie pacer Olly Stone will be vying for a final spot in the playing eleven.

"We are going to make four changes. Jimmy, Jofra (injured), Jos, Dom Bess are out with Foakes, Ali, Stone, Broad and Woakes coming into the XI," Root said in a virtual media conference on the eve of the second Test.

England leads the four match series 1-0 after defeating India by a massive 227 runs in the first Test.

The touring party also received a setback after their strike pacer Jofra Archer was ruled out of the second Test with an elbow injury.

"Of course it is a slight setback but the good news is that it looks like he should be able to get himself fit and ready for the game.

"So as long as he uses the next couple of weeks wisely and looks after he should be fully fit ready to go," Root said about Archer's unavailability.

Bess, who picked the prized scalp of Virat Kohli en route to a five-wicket match haul, misses out after a slump in form in the second innings with Ali set to play his first Test since August 2019.

"...it wasn't an easy decision, Dom's contributed well and had a real impact. With him missing out, the message for him moving forward is to keep working at that consistency of his game, deliver that skill time and time again," Root said about the off-spinner's exclusion.

"He is very young. He's very much at the start of this, it doesn't mean that you get a big push back down the pecking order.

The 33-year-old Ali would look to make a return after overcoming COVID-19 earlier this month soon after arriving in Sri Lanka.

"...he's worked really hard, he's obviously had a rough tour, the rough end of it having to deal with COVID and quarantine and do an extra time in his room but since then he's applied himself extremely well. he's a very good senior pro in that respect," Root said.

"It gives Moeen a great opportunity to come back into things with all of his experience. Someone who's bowling extremely well in practice."

Olly Stone and Chris Woakes will vie for the place left vacant by Archer.

Chris Woakes too had to battle COVID-related turbulence after he was identified as a close contact of Ali and was forced to quarantine during their Sri Lanka tour and he would look to make a solid return as well.

"He brings reverse swing massively into the game as well," Root said on Woakes.

A desperate India have decided to go for the jugular by opting for a spicy turner against a well-prepared England side in the second Test starting Saturday, well aware that it can boomerang and cost them a spot in the World Test Championship final.

The honeymoon of the Australian series is over after a sobering 227 run defeat in the first Test which must have shaken a complacent team out of its stupor ahead of three high stake Test matches.

But it is a perfect stage for India's mercurial skipper Virat Kohli, who loves to bring his A game to the fore when the chips are down.

With the crowd back inside the heated cauldron ready to egg him on, something he thrives on, the Indian captain would be eyeing a good slugfest against a very resolute opposition. India needs to win two matches and not lose any of the games to make the WTC final.

Ravichandran Ashwin will need a lot of support from the other end in terms of both restrictive and attacking options.

A fit-again Axar Patel is the closest to being a like-for-like replacement for an injured Ravindra Jadeja. Patel's Test debut looks imminent as Ashwin will need someone to hold on at the other end.

However, one can't be so sure about Kuldeep Yadav, who in his short six-Test career, has played some tough games.

He would fancy his chance for being a better attacking option than Washington Sundar, but on a rank turner where batting becomes important, all-rounder Hardik Pandya can come into the fray.

The 20-year-old Washington might go on to become a fine all-rounder in the Ravi Shastri mould in the coming years but as of now, he is not good enough to play as a specialist third spinner.

Kuldeep is an excellent attacking option but the team management's continued reluctance to play him is an indication of lack of faith in the Uttar Pradesh wrist spinner's abilities of late.

Hardik, on the other hand, might just be able to score those quick runs against spinners and bowl 8-10 overs which is the maximum that is required from a fifth bowler on a friendly pitch.

The Indian team management, after a drab first two days at the Chepauk during the opening game, had two options going into the second Test.

The toss will be very crucial and even if turns square, Kohli will look to bat first and expect Rohit Sharma to go beyond the two or three pretty shots that he has been managing so far.

He would have to give the team a big hundred which it desperately needs from him.

Kohli gave a master-class on how to play the reverse swing in the first Test but it always takes two to tango.

Squads

India (from)

Virat Kohli (captain), Ajinkya Rahane (vice-captain), Rohit Sharma, Shubman Gill, Cheteshwar Pujara, Rishab Pant (wk), Ravichandran Ashwin, Jasiprit Bumrah, Ishant Sharma, Mohammed Siraj, Washington Sundar, Kuldeep Yadav, Axar Patel, Hardik Pandya, Mayank Agarwal, KL Rahul, Wriddhiman Saha, Shardul Thakur.

England (from): Joe Root (captain), Dominic Sibley, Rory Burns, Ollie Pope, Dan Lawrence, Ben Stokes, Ben Foakes (wk), Moeen Ali, Chris Woakes, Stuart Broad, Jack Leach, Olly Stone.

Live on Star Sports 1 @ 9.30 am onwards

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