Anderson and Bess out for England as India look to strike back in Chennai

By Sports Desk February 12, 2021

England will have a new-look bowling attack on duty for the second Test as they go up against an India side determined to bounce back in the series.

James Anderson, Jofra Archer and Dom Bess were all part of the XI that helped England become the first visiting nation to win a Test at the M.A. Chidambaram Stadium in Chennai since Pakistan in 1999, ending an eight-game unbeaten streak for the hosts.

However, none of the trio will be involved when the two teams face each other again at the same venue.

While Archer is ruled out with an elbow injury, Anderson has been rested and Bess left out of a 12-man squad. Stuart Broad seems certain to play, with the other seam-bowling spot between Chris Woakes and Olly Stone. Moeen Ali will be the second spinner; the all-rounder has not featured in Test cricket since August 2019.

Captain Joe Root admitted it was not an easy decision to give Anderson a break considering how well he performed in the opener, but England had to look at the bigger picture during such a busy year.

"Everyone's heart was in favour of him being available for this game but also you have to look at the bigger picture and ideally if he is available for two of the last three, that is a huge asset for us with the way he is bowling and his reputation, as well as his numbers and the way he has performed in recent games," Root told the media.

India, meanwhile, head into this match under pressure; they have only ever lost the first two games of a home Test series against England once previously, when they went on to suffer a 3-1 defeat in 1976-77.

Virat Kohli pointed to a failure by the bowling unit to keep England's scoring rate in check in the aftermath of the opening defeat, with slow-bowling duo Washington Sundar and Shahbaz Nadeem struggling to provide support for pacemen Jasprit Bumrah and Ishant Sharma, as well as frontline spinner Ravichandran Ashwin.

Axar Patel missed that match due to a knee injury but came through a fitness test on Thursday. Kuldeep Yadav could also get an opportunity on a pitch that, according to Ajinkya Rahane, will spin from the outset.

"I am sure it will turn from day one," Rahane said on the eve of the game. "We will have to wait and see how it behaves in the first session and take it from there."

In a boost for India, there will be fans present for the second of four matches in the series. The ground is allowed to be 50 per cent full, though there will be social distancing measures in place amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.


Captain Kohli in the spotlight

India have now lost four Tests in a row under Kohli, who departed the tour of Australia after his side had been shot out for 36 to lose the series opener in Adelaide. He returned home for the birth of his first child, with stand-in Rahane then leading the side to a 2-1 triumph.

Kohli made scores of 11 and 72 upon his return to the XI, but those numbers were not enough to stop him slipping to fifth in the International Cricket Council's Test rankings for batsmen.

Root keeps on digging in

Root underpinned England's triumph last time out with a double hundred in a mammoth first innings of 578, in the process continuing his stunning run of form following on from a hugely successful tour to Sri Lanka.

The right-handed batsman has managed 684 runs in his previous three matches, which equates to 39 per cent of his side's total runs in Test cricket in 2021. There have been useful contributions from his top-order colleagues so far overseas, but no other batsman has reached three figures in an innings during the calendar year.

Key match facts

- England have only managed to register one Test series win in India since their 2-1 tour win in 1984-85 - their successful tour in 2012 being the solitary triumph during that period (D1 L4).
- India still lead the head-to-head record with England in Tests played at M.A. Chidambaram Stadium, winning five compared to the visitors' tally of four after the series opener (D1).
- England have managed to record six overseas Test wins in succession ahead of this match – victory in this game will equal their longest ever run in the format (seven in a row between 1911 and 1914).
- Rishabh Pant has a batting strike rate of 70.6 in Test cricket, only two men (with a minimum of 600 runs scored) have higher rates for India (Virender Sehwag at 82, plus Kapil Dev at 81)
- Broad (517) is three scalps away from going into sixth place on the all-time leading Test wicket-takers list, jumping above Courtney Walsh (519); the Englishman has picked up 41 wickets at an average of 14.5 since the start of 2020.

Related items

  • Benzema and Vinicius celebrate as 'indomitable' Real Madrid go top Benzema and Vinicius celebrate as 'indomitable' Real Madrid go top

    Karim Benzema bailed out Real Madrid once again, but the French striker insisted the 2-1 win at Valencia was richly deserved, as their unbeaten LaLiga run stretched to 23 games. 

    The capital giants had trailed to a fine 66th-minute strike from Hugo Duro that looked set to take Valencia to the top of the table, but instead it is Madrid who sit on that perch with 13 points from five games. 

    Captain Benzema teed up Vinicius Junior to slot in an 86th-minute leveller, with the help of a deflection, before roles were reversed for the winner two minutes later. 

    A teasing cross from Vinicius was perfect for Benzema to attack, and although the ball went in off his shoulder rather than his forehead, as was the intention, they all count. 

    Benzema has now scored in his last six games against Valencia, and Sunday's late show was sweet revenge for the 4-1 thumping that Madrid took at Mestalla last November. 

    Coach Carlo Ancelotti described his team's spirit as "indomitable" and Benzema saw it similarly. 

    The 33-year-old said: "I think it was a difficult game for us against a great team who are always difficult to beat here. 

    "I think we deserved the three points that are important to us. Each game is a final, today was another final and we won. 

    "All the players on the pitch and the people who came on at the end of the game to help us, it is a victory for the squad. If I can continue like this, scoring, the most important thing is that they are important for the club." 

    Madrid are unbeaten in their last 18 away trips (W12 D6) in LaLiga, which equals their best such run in the competition's history, having previously reached 18 games unbeaten in 1997 (W11 D7) and 2016 (W13 D5). 

    Benzema has six goals already this season in LaLiga from an expected goals (xG) total of 2.61, indicating he is having an outstanding run in front of goal. 

    He has become the first player since Lionel Messi in 2011-12 to be directly involved in 11 or more goals in the first five games of a LaLiga campaign (six goals, five assists). 

    This season has seen Vinicius very much come to the party too, bagging five goals from an xG of 2.3, also outperforming expectations substantially, and now adding a first assist. 

    Quoted by AS, Vinicius said the win at Valencia was credit to Madrid's refusal to accept they are ever beaten.

    "It is always difficult to play here, but we continue to believe and Madrid never give up," said the 21-year-old Brazilian.

    "The main virtue is patience. It was the job of the coach and the whole team. We are doing things like never before. We played well, but things didn't work out and in the end we got the comeback. I am happy with the victory "

    It was a victory that delighted Ancelotti, who has yet to lose a competitive game since returning to the club in the close season.

    "We have not won because of quality, but because of the indomitable spirit of the team," said Ancelotti. "We continued to the end."

  • PSG boss Pochettino insists 'no issues' with Messi after substitution PSG boss Pochettino insists 'no issues' with Messi after substitution

    Mauricio Pochettino insisted there are "no issues" with Lionel Messi after the Paris Saint-Germain superstar's reaction to being substituted during Sunday's 2-1 win over Ligue 1 rivals Lyon.

    Messi had a puzzled look on his face as he walked past PSG head coach Pochettino, having been replaced by full-back Achraf Hakimi in the 76th minute of the league clash.

    Pochettino and Messi briefly exchanged words before the latter, who was making his home debut at the Parc des Princes following his blockbuster arrival from Barcelona, sat on the bench next to surprised team-mates.

    Messi was involved in six shots (four attempts, two chances created) against Lyon and only Kylian Mbappe against Clermont (seven) has managed better in a league game so far this season for PSG.

    A six-time Ballon d'Or winner, Messi also had 65 touches and made 48 passes with an accuracy of 83.3 per cent.

    Pochettino told a post-match media conference: "I think everyone knows that we have many great players, with a 35-man squad. 

    "We have to make choices, within the matchday squad and then during the game, keeping in mind what's best for the team and every player. 

    "Sometimes the decisions are positive, or not, but that's what managers are there to do on the sidelines, to make decisions. It can please people or not. 

    "I asked him how he was and he said he was fine, no issues."

    PSG secured victory over Lyon following a dramatic injury-time header from substitute Mauro Icardi from Mbappe's cross after Neymar's penalty had earlier cancelled out Lucas Paqueta's opening goal.

    Pochettino's PSG are now five points clear of Marseille at the top of Ligue 1 after six wins from six games.

    PSG have achieved a flawless start from their first six games for the third time after 2017-18 and 2018-19 – on both those occasions they went on to be crowned champions.

    "It's very positive for us," Pochettino said of their start to the Ligue 1 campaign. "After the difficult game [against Club Brugge in the Champions League], this was important for us. Lyon are a very good team that play well. 

    "We conceded that goal in the second half. The team needed to show some character. 

    "We're in a period where we're trying a lot of things. We have to work on it in training, but it's difficult because we have a game every three days, and the priority is that the players recover. 

    "We can only do video sessions. It's not an excuse, we need to improve."

  • 'Angry' Allegri accepts share of blame for Milan draw: I made a mistake with the substitutions 'Angry' Allegri accepts share of blame for Milan draw: I made a mistake with the substitutions

    Massimiliano Allegri accepted his share of the blame for Juventus' 1-1 draw with Milan, but also felt his players lacked focus as they slipped into the Serie A relegation zone.

    Alvaro Morata put Juve ahead in Sunday's clash at the Allianz Arena inside four minutes with his side's earliest goal against Milan in Serie A since February 1996.

    Juve were on top for the rest of the first half, but they dropped off after the interval and were punished by Ante Rebic's header 14 minutes from time.

    The Bianconeri are winless in their opening four games to a league season for just the fourth time in their history and find themselves 18th in the 20-team division.

    Allegri took off Morata, Juan Cuadrado and Paulo Dybala in a 13-minute period prior to Milan's leveller, with Moise Kean, Federico Chiesa and Dejan Kulusevski brought on.

    And the experienced coach, who has one win from five matches in all competitions since returning to Turin, is annoyed that his side could not see out a much-needed victory.

    "Tonight I'm left angry," he told DAZN. "The team played well in the first half and only conceded one long-range shot, but in the end we could have even lost the match.

    "That's despite being in control until the equaliser. Unfortunately we lost attention and determination. We have to improve. 

    "The thing you have to quickly learn is that in these games, the final moment you have to be tough. You have to remain concentrated, determined and focused.

    "We know we have to play better, and that is part of the growth of some players. But I also made a mistake with the changes today – I should have brought defensive players on.

    "The likes of Dybala and Morata perhaps could have made themselves more available when on the field, but the last 15 minutes is what makes me angry."

     

    Allegri's side have already dropped seven points from winning positions this season, compared to 10 such points in the whole of 2020-21 under Andrea Pirlo.

    Juve have now conceded in 18 successive Serie A games and could easily have shipped a second goal late on as Pierre Kalulu forced Wojciech Szczesny into a big save.

    "Luckily the referee whistled when he did because otherwise we may have lost," Allegri said. "Nobody remembers the good performances because we lost two points in the end."

    The draw – just the second in the last 25 league meetings between the sides – leaves Juventus eight points adrift of early pacesetters Inter and Milan in the top two.

    Asked if his side are already out of the title race, six-time Scudetto-winning boss Allegri said: "It was important to take a positive result against Milan today.

    "If they'd have won they would have pushed us further back. The draw leaves their advantage unchanged.

    "The problem is that winning a game is one thing; winning a league is another. It means not conceding goals due to errors like we saw today.

    "There were positives, mainly in the first half, but we should have suffered more and been ready to defend tooth and nail. You have to take the win even if it's ugly."

© 2020 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.