England consider more spin for second Test as India grapple with injuries

Question mark over availability of Jack Leach with England bowler carrying knee problem

Powered by automated translation

England are considering the possibility of fielding an all-spin attack for the second Test after the unprecedented success of their slow bowlers in Hyderabad.

Debutant left-arm spinner Tom Hartley outbowled the home team's masterful trio of Ravichandran Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja and Axar Patel, picking up nine wickets in the match to seal a famous win.

Rohit Sharma's side suffered only their fourth home defeat in 47 Tests since 2013 as England came from 190 runs behind after the first innings to snatch a stunning 28-run victory.

Batsman Joe Root was a surprise package, picking up five wickets in the Test, while experienced spinner Jack Leach bowled with courage despite a knee injury.

Uncapped spinner Shoaib Bashir finally joined his England teammates on Sunday after a visa delay. Coach Brendon McCullum hinted Bashir could start if England go "quids-in" with a four-pronged spin attack.

"We won't be afraid to play all our spinners," McCullum told SEN Radio. "We'll have a look at conditions and make a call. You're not going to get every call right, especially over here," he added.

However, Leach looks doubtful for the second Test after sitting out the first training session in Visakhapatnam.

Leach joined his teammates at the ground to receive treatment on his left knee injury.

Captain Ben Stokes hailed Leach as a "warrior" for battling through last week and opening batsman Zak Crawley is not ruling out an unexpected recovery.

"He's a tough kid, Leachy, so I'm not sure. You never know with Jack," said Crawley. "You can never really write him off. We'll see how he pulls up in a couple of days."

Meanwhile, India insist they will bank on a traditional approach to bounce back in the second Test.

Ollie Pope's 196 turned the opening Test on its head, as the batsman frequently played the unorthodox reverse sweep to blunt the threat of the Indian spinners.

But batting coach Vikram Rathour said the hosts would rely on their own strengths to counter the opposition.

"It's not something that you can just try. You need to be prepared for that, you need to practise it," he said. "If you add more shots to your game it's always beneficial, but we play a traditional way. Our strength, or strong areas, are going straight and using our feet.

"We haven't lost a series in 12-13 years, that means we are putting up more runs than the other team... I am sure the batters will find a way."

What will make India's task that much more difficult is the sudden unavailability of nearly half their original first-choice XI.

Star batsman Virat Kohli had earlier made himself unavailable for the first two Tests due to personal reasons, while veteran pacer Mohammad Shami is recovering from an ankle injury. Following the first Test, spin bowling all-rounder Jadeja and middle-order batsman KL Rahul were ruled out due to injuries, meaning India will be severely weakened for a match they need to win.

India have brought in uncapped batsmen Rajat Patidar and Sarfaraz Khan to replace the injured Rahul and Kohli, while spinner Washington Sundar comes into the squad for Jadeja.

Updated: January 31, 2024, 12:56 PM