There was no place for off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin again as India went ahead with Ishant Sharma as the injured Shardul Thakur’s replacement for the second Test match against England at Lord’s.
Shardul was ruled out of this Test with an injury to his left hamstring and considering that he played as a seam-bowler who can also score runs with the bat in the first Test, Ashwin one of the front runners to replace him at Lord’s but India, however, decided to play four specialist seamers with Ishant making a comeback.
India captain Virat Kohli said Ashwin was in the 12 that was announced within the group but a fit-again Ishant got the nod after they had a good look at the conditions.
“We announced 12 within the group and Ashwin definitely was part of that. But after looking at the pitch, the conditions and considering how a fourth seamer can be an attacking option, this makes the most sense for us as a team,” Kohli said at the toss when asked about the reasons for not picking Ashwin.
Kohli, for his part did mention even in the pre-match press conference that they won’t be looking at batting abilities while picking Shardul’s replacement.
“Everyone wants to contribute, it’s about getting into the game as a batsman. We just need to get the job done, whoever it is, that’s our main focus. Especially with crowds back in, it’s a pleasure to be here. An honour to play in front of crowds for what should be a cracker,” Kohli said.
England, meanwhile won the toss and opted to bowl first after the toss was delayed by 20 minutes due to light drizzle.
England captain Joe Root confirmed three changes in his side. Injured Stuart Broad was replaced by Mark Wood while Haseeb Hameed came in place of Zak Crawley and Moeen Ali replaced Dan Lawrence.
The first Test ended in a draw after day five was washed out at Trent Bridge.
India XI: Rohit Sharma, KL Rahul, Cheteshwar Pujara, Virat Kohli (c), Ajinkya Rahane, Rishabh Pant(w), Ravindra Jadeja, Mohammed Shami, Ishant Sharma, Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Siraj
England XI: Rory Burns, Dominic Sibley, Haseeb Hameed, Joe Root (c), Jonny Bairstow, Jos Buttler (w), Moeen Ali, Sam Curran, Ollie Robinson, Mark Wood, James Anderson.