Gautam Gambhir feels that the second Test of the five-match series between England and India at Lord’s could make or break India’s fortunes in the series.
India lost the first Test at Edgbaston by 31 runs but coming to Lord’s they will be hopeful because of their ‘fairly’ decent record and their performance at the venue the last time they toured England. In 2014, riding on Ishant Sharma’s brilliant 7/74, India won the second Test by 95 runs to take a 1-0 lead after two Tests.
However, India eventually went onto lose the series 3-1.
But in Lord’s, not only history, the weather conditions are also likely to favour India in London. It is dry and hot out there and India’s spinners will come into play as the game progresses.
Therefore, Gambhir feels that this is India’s best opportunity to win a Test in England and if they don’t, it will be very difficult to make a comeback in the series as it will get colder and conditions will change.
“This Test is the most important match in the series. If you are 1-0 down and can’t make a comeback in this Test match and this match goes the other way…as far as I remember, very few teams are there, who have won three matches in a row.
In 2014, England were 1-0 down after two Test matches. The first Test was a draw, they lost at Lord’s and they won three in a row. For India I feel this is the most important Test.”
“The weather conditions and Lord’s wicket, which is generally dry and of what we saw in one-day cricket from Moeen Ali and Adil Rashid, I think this is India’s best opportunity to win because after this, the weather will cool down as September approaches. So, this is the make or break of the series,” Gambhir said.
However, Gambhir feels that the Indian batsmen should put their hands up and perform. Much like their batting frailties in South Africa, in Birmingham, India failed to chase 194 in the fourth innings and wasted a golden opportunity to take a crucial 1-0 lead at England’s fortress.
“If India play their best five bowlers, that will give them the best chance to win this Test match. At the same time, your batsmen need to make runs. You can’t expect to get out at 200 and your bowlers bring you back each time in the game. It was Sam Curran, who made runs, otherwise, England were 70/7 (87/7). But, if you can’t chase down 193, something is seriously wrong.
“You played one extra all-rounder in Hardik Pandya and despite that, you couldn’t chase down the total…so, I feel, there is a definitely a need to retrospect somewhere,” Gambhir said.
Earlier, Team India captain Virat Kohli had also stressed upon the fact when he was asked regarding the Indian batsmen. He said that the Indian batsmen need to adjust to situation instead of being aggressive.
Kohli, while addressing the press conference on the eve of the second Test at Lord’s, said that there are just about a few adjustments batsmen need to make, particularly in how they react to situation after wickets fall down.
Kohli, who is known for his aggression on the field, advised his batsmen against it at crucial junctures in the match.
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“I don’t think anything [top order failure] should be judged so soon. We as a team definitely have more patience than other people and so, we don’t take something as a pattern soon.
“But when it comes to the wickets falling quickly, it more of a mental aspect than technical — like how you think about a situation after wicket falls. I think that matters a lot, you should have a clear plan of what you want to do in the next 30 deliveries and that plan more often than not, is not aggression. We need a little bit more composure there and that, as a batting unit, we have discussed,” Kohli said.
“Apart from that, I don’t think there’s too much to think because when people see from outside, they think it’s really bad but cricket and especially Test cricket is a marginal game and in England conditions, which is anyway tough. We have to reduce that margin of error.”