Despite suffering a heavy defeat to India in the Second Test in Visakhapatnam, England still have reasons to be cheerful for the rest of the series, with both Captain Alastair Cook and coach Trevor Bayliss remaining positive for the remainder of the tour. England were skittled out for 158 on the final day, losing eight wickets for just 66 runs in the process, on a pitch that was certainly favourable to India’s superior spin attack. However, with the Third test beginning in Mohali on Saturday, and despite England being rank outsiders in the sports betting odds among bookmakers to claim victory, the tourists are certainly not throwing the towel in just yet, despite injury concerns adding to their problems.
The form of Adil Rashid during the match was certainly the highlight for England, with the Yorkshire spinner taking six wickets in Visakhapatnam, with the 28-year-old adding to his seven-for from the first test in Rajkot. Although Rashid’s display eventually counted for nothing for England, Cook was full of praise for the bowler post-match, and with Stuart Broad struggling with a foot injury in the build up to the third test, his form could well be crucial. Rashid is odds on with the bookies to once again be England’s leading wicket taker in the third test, with Betser Mobile offering the easiest way back the away side in India.
Meanwhile, with Ben Duckett having struggled for form following his introduction into the England test side, one-day specialist Jos Buttler has been tipped for a return to the test arena, despite not playing this form of the game since being dropped against Pakistan over twelve months ago. Buttler, who holds the record for England’s three fastest ever one-day international hundreds, however with an average of just 30 in test cricket, coach Bayliss has challenged the Lancashire man to transfer such statistics into the five-day format of the game.
With both former England Captain Michael Vaughan and Jonathon Agnew believe that England suffer from a lack of personality within the team, with collapses as seen at Visakhapatnam becoming far too common a theme for England supporters. Vaughan believes that England batsmen panic as soon as one wicket goes down, while Agnew has questioned the mindset of certain players following the defeat. England players will certainly be looking to answer their critics in the best way possible this weekend, and despite India being the favourite in the cricket betting odds among bookmakers, the tourists are not the fourth highest ranked test side for no reason, and will be in with a chance should they manage a good first innings total.
Having taken the lead in the series, India received more welcome good news this week, with fit-again Seamer Bhuvneshwar Kumar recalled to the squad for the final three tests. Kumar is available after recovering from an injury suffered during the series against New Zealand and offers ViratKohli another fast bowling option for the third Test, which begins in Mohali on Saturday. Elsewhere, Gautam Gambhir has been dropped from the 16-man squad having made just 29 runs in the opening test. KL Rahul had kept his place despite scoring just ten runs in the second test, with the uncapped duo of Karun Nair and Hardik Pandya remaining in the squad.