Ind vs Eng: Time for other batsmen to lift their game to level series at Lord's
Time is ripe for other Indian batsmen to conjure up big totals to level series at Lord's
The escalators at St John's Wood tube station outside Lord's are bound on either side by Virat Kohli posters. Such is the Indian captain's status here. He is the ambassador even in the enemy's territory. On the cricketing field, his stature is the same, especially after he nearly single-handedly scripted a famous victory in the first Test.
Now, at the erstwhile home of cricket, Kohli needs his top order batsmen to lift their game. It can no longer be a one-man show. Even from observing the practice nets yesterday, it is evident that Kohli is in a completely different state of mind. Everything he hits seems to be crisp and there is so much decisiveness in his footwork.
At the press conference, Kohli emphasised the need to be strong in the mind, staying in the presence and being relaxed. It is a message that has been echoed in the dressing room. Two days before the match, the likes of Ajinkya Rahane, KL Rahul, and Dinesh Karthik seemed to be focusing on their technique. Yesterday, it was just a brief hit with hardly any focus on the technical side of their batting.
As Kohli said, playing with a clear mind is one of the vital aspects of succeeding in England. Either way, it is crunch time for the batsmen. In the last four away Tests, the bowlers have taken 20 wickets. It is time for the batsmen to find a way to conjure up match-winning totals.
The pitch remained covered for the majority of the day on match eve. While it has been extremely hot in London for the past week, a cool change did arrive on Tuesday, bringing the temperatures down significantly. The Lord's ground staff seemed extremely cautious about not exposing the pitch to the sun and the indications are that underneath the green tinge is a dry surface.
The nature of the surface and the overcast skies predicted for the opening day means it could be a good toss to lose. India are still uncertain whether to play a second spinner or persist with the same line-up. Whichever way they go, the first session will be pivotal. As Kohli said, "There must be a clear plan on how to face the first 20 to 30 balls, and more often than not, that plan does not involve aggression."
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