- England came into the series having just drawn 1-1 in Bangladesh, while India had crushed New Zealand 3-0, but the tourists posted an imposing 537 in the first innings at Rajkot and India were left hanging on for a draw at 172-6 on the final day.
- Most of England’s players had good matches in the first Test, with Joe Root, Moeen Ali, Ben Stokes and Alastair Cook all scoring centuries and teenager Haseeb Hameed earning rave reviews on his debut. The spinners were much more disciplined than they had been in Bangladesh, with Adil Rashid particularly impressive, while the seamers were miserly.
- Murali Vijay and Cheteshwar Pujara scored hundreds for India, but generally it was a very disappointing display from the rest of the team. Star spinner Ravichandran Ashwin, the No.1 bowler in the world, only returned match figures of 3 for 230.
India captain Virat Kohli was unhappy with the Rajkot pitch and the surface in Visakhapatnam is expected to be much more tailored towards the home team’s spinners, although England’s confidence will be sky-high after the way they played in the first Test. Ravichandran Ashwin looks a different bowler against England to the one who torments other batting line-ups, while Amit Mishra was also ineffective in the first Test and most of the hosts’ batters failed to fire.
While the likes of Kohli and Ajinkya Rahane are too good to be kept quiet for long and it is asking a lot for England to play as well as they did in the first Test, there is now a formidable look about the touring side’s XI, including a batting line-up so long that Zafar Ansari came in at No.10 in Rajkot. Hameed’s assurance at the top of the order bodes well, not just for the long-term future but also for the rest of the series, and a maiden Test century may not be too far away.
If the groundsman does prepare a pitch to try and produce a result, the toss is likely to be crucial once again. However, if England can win it and put up another decent total, they look very good value at odds of 10/3 to go 1-0 ahead in the series.
- Sports.net’s top tip: England to win the second Test - 10/3
*Please note, odds may fluctuate.