Indian captain Virat Kohli was surprised at the presence of grass in the first Test match against England. In the post match conference, he expressed his displeasure at the pitch while responding to a question. It is expected that Visakhapatnam will be a rank turner to the relief of the Indian captain. But it is not the guarantee of a win. England captain Alastair Cook will not be a defensive captain and he will go for the kill like he did in 2012.
India will bank on ace spinner Ravichandran Ashwin’s ability to bowl out the England batsmen. However, the over-reliance on Ashwin can be India’s biggest mistake. This is because England have come to India after doing their homework on R Ashwin. He is the number bowler in the world and has been the bowling mainstay of the Indian side for the last few years. Former England captain Kevin Pietersen had also said that those who could play Ashwin’s ‘doosra’ will score in India. It seems England batsmen have figured out Ashwin’s ‘doosra’.
R Ashwin may have taken wickets against many countries, but against England his record is dismal. He has an atrocious average of over 53 against England and that is something India should be worried about. In the first Test match against England as well, Ashwin gave away over 200 runs in the match with 3 wickets in his kitty. This means that England batsmen are not having much problem in facing Ashwin. Captain Cook’s batting battery’s strategy will be to deal with Ashwin.
On the other hand, England spinners performed much better. In the first innings, they troubled Indian top order. In the second innings, they almost won the Test match for their country. Adil Rashid, Zafar Ansari and Moeen Ali took wickets in the match. Rashid took 7 wickets on a track that was not aiding spinners. This shows Indian batsmen were having issues handling their bowling. On a turning Visakhapatnam wicket, R Ashwin may take wickets. But there is a grave danger that Indian batsmen won’t be able to play England spinners who are in form.
As far as Captain Alastair Cook’s strategy is concerned, he will not be a defensive captain. In the past two series, England had not won the first match. But that didn’t send them in their shells. They bounced back and won the Tests with huge margins. For instance, in 2012 they won the series 2-1. They lost the first Test match by 9 wickets. They later won the Test matches by 7 and 10 wickets. In 2014, England were playing in home conditions. They lost the first Test at Lords. But later handed two innings defeats to India. This time they have performed well in the first Test match. It is expected that Cook will go all guns blazing in the remaining Test matches.