India v England, 2nd Test – Visakhapatnam at 03:30 live on Sky Sports 2
Barring a second wicket partnership of 209 during day three, England dominated the vast majority of the first Test against India last week in Rajkot.
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From the moment Alastair Cook won an important toss on the first morning, the tourists looked a different beast from the one that lost in Dhaka just days previously. Centuries from Cook, Moeen Ali, Joe Root and Ben Stokes – not to mention a composed debut from teenager Haseeb Hameed – means the visitors should arrive in Visakhapatnam (Vizag to its friends) full of confidence.
India will also take positives from the draw. Batting under pressure twice – first having conceded 500+, second having to save the match on an ever turning wicket – the hosts showed grit and determination to ensure the series stayed level.
Virat Kohli’s men will be hoping the skipper calls correctly this week. With runs on the board, surely R Ashwin and Ravi Jadeja will be different animals for the suddenly inform England batting order to tame.
The Dr. Y.S. Rajasekhara Reddy ACA-VDCA Cricket Stadium, Visakhapatnam hosts its first ever Test match this week. Because of this we have to turn to the Ranji trophy for recent first and second innings performances at this venue. However, only three First Class matches have been played here since September 2013.
Recent First Innings First Class scores – 195, 150, 522
Recent Second Innings First Class scores – 272, 272, 369
Recent Results in First Class cricket here – W (side bat 2nd), Draw, Draw
Batting in the 1st innings of the match in this period – Average 289
Batting in the 2nd innings of the match in this period – Average 304
NOTE – (we’ve ignored 3rd and 4th match innings for the purposes of this column which has been written for each sides 1st innings of the Test)
Form Guide & First Inns Runs
Here are India’s last eleven 1st innings scores in Tests, plus result in brackets –
488 (D) 316 (W) 318 (W) DNB* (D) 353 (W) 500 (D) 566 (W) 334 (W) 215 (W) 80/0* (D) 201 (W) – Average 365
Here are England’s last eleven 1st innings scores in Tests, plus result in brackets –
537 (D) 244 (L) 293 (W) 328 (L) 297 (W) 589/8d (W) 272 (L) 416 (D) 498/9d (W) 298 (W) 342 (L) – Average 373
India will have been satisfied with the way they batted first time around in Rajkot. Murali Vijay made his 7th Test ton and lifted his career average to above 40, whilst number three Chet Pujara narrowly missed out on top run scorer with his busy 124 from 206 balls. Gambhir (below) remains a problem but he’s a stand in for the injured trio of Rohit Sharma, Shikar Dhawan and KL Rahul. Captain Kohli recovered from the shock of being out hit wicket with a second innings unbeaten 49 to save the Test for his country, just when there were glimpses of a major wobble starting to occur. Expect more from Ajinkya Rahane than his Rajkot contributions of 13 and 1, whilst Ashwin showed England that he is also a fair middle order batsman to go with his top class off spinners these days. Ashwin’s 102 runs included significant scores in both innings and took his career batting average to 34.2 in Test matches – not bad when you consider he also has 223 wickets at 24.9 as well! Leg spinner Amit Mishra had a game to forget with match figures of 3-158 and could sit out at Vizag. Ravi Jadeja’s batting will keep him in the side, whilst one of Umesh Yadav and Mohammed Shami could sit out for Ishant Sharma – a five match Test series will always see rotation take place.
England might finally have found a partner for Alastair Cook in Haseeb Hameed. It wasn’t just the runs that the teenager made (31 & 82) that was impressive, it was the manner in which he compiled them. Composed, calm, collected. There was more than a hint of Joe Root about his technical batting (no bad thing) with a hint of Cook in regards his temperament at the crease (again, no bad thing) Root set the game up for England with his 124 whilst Moeen Ali and Ben Stokes’ middle order tons ensured the tourists were always going to boss the match. Rashid (below) had his best game for England in red ball cricket whilst Surrey slow left armer Zaf Ansari took 3 scalps but struggled to give control. Cook seems to like having his left-arm variety, but he could miss out here if the tourists see Jimmy Anderson fit enough to return here at Vizag. Stuart Broad bowled with great heart on his 100th Test and will play again here, however expect him to rest up at some point. Chris Woakes bowled quickly and managed to nail Pujara three times in one spell on the third morning – impressive given the surface. The Warwickshire man bowled 35 overs for just 63 runs in Rajkot.
Ones To Watch
It is fair to say that Gautam Gambhir is only in this India XI due to injuries to others. These opportunities need to be taken when presented, especially when you are 35 years of age. Gambhir last made a Test ton in 2010, some 31 matches ago. Contributions of 29 and 0 at Rajkot just won’t cut the mustard – he needs a score at Vizag. Otherwise his international career could be over once more.
Adil Rashid had a poor series in Bangladesh but returned in Rajkot with 7 wickets that nearly gave England victory on day 5. It helped having 537 on the board to bowl to, but Rashid totally out bowled his Indian spin counterparts with 4-114 and 3-64. He still might offer the odd boundary ball, but his mystery could just be the tourists biggest hope of nabbing a victory – or two – somewhere down the line.
First Innings Runs Markets
Proceed with caution, this a ground we have very little to go on. Early shots from the ground suggest this could be a tough pitch to bat on from early on – dry, dusty, cracked.
Whoever bats first I recommend backing any UNDER RUNS around the 345-350 mark.
Top First Innings Batsman Market
Virat Kohli looked dangerous at Rajkot and should be considered for top India bat at 3.50 with Eastbridge Sports Betting Brokerage.
Suddenly England have five batsman in form! Hameed Haseeb looked the part in Rajkot and is surprisingly as high as 7.0 to top score here with BetVictor.
Prices correct at time of writing.