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2nd Test: India look to win to stay alive in race of WTC final (Preview)

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Chennai, Feb 12 (IANS) Skipper Virat Kohli’s captaincy will be under scanner again as India will look to level the ongoing four-match series against England in the second Test beginning Saturday here at the MA Chidambaram Stadium to keep alive their chances of qualifying for the World Test Championship (WTC) final.

India need to win two Test matches and also the series in order to face New Zealand in the WTC final to be held at Lord’s, London in June.

If England win the second Test, India will be out and the fight for the place in the final will be between Australia and England.

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India under Kohli have lost two Tests in the last two months whereas they won two out of three Tests in Australia in Ajinkya Rahane’s leadership in the same period.

There have already been calls for Rahane to take over Test captaincy and another loss could see the calls growing louder.

The Joe Root-led side has made four changes from the team that played the first Test as a result of an injury, lack of form and rotation policy.

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James Anderson has been replaced by Stuart Broad as part of rotation policy, Dom Bess has been left out due to poor form in second innings of first Test and replaced by Moeen Ali while wicket-keeper Ben Foakes comes in place of Jos Buttler who has flown back to England also as part of the rotation policy.

One of either Chris Woakes or Olly Stone will replace Jofra Archer who is out with a shoulder niggle.

India, meanwhile, are likely to replace left-arm spinner Shahbaz Nadeem with Axar Patel who is now fit to play. Axar was injured in the first Test which England won by 227 runs.

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The key to India will be stopping Joe Root who scored a double century and helped England build a huge total. Root’s 218 had helped England score 578 and put pressure on India who conceded a 241-run lead in the first innings and were put on the backfoot.

The second Test will be played on a black soil pitch that has not been watered for days.

Squad

England: Dom Sibley, Rory Burns, Dan Lawrence, Joe Root (c), Ben Stokes, Ollie Pope, Ben Foakes, Moeen Ali, Stuart Broad, Chris Woakes, Jack Leach, Olly Stone.

India: Virat Kohli (c), Rohit Sharma, Mayank Agarwal, Shubman Gill, Cheteshwar Pujara, Ajinkya Rahane, KL Rahul, Hardik Pandya, Rishabh Pant (wicket-keeper), Wriddhiman Saha (wk), R Ashwin, Kuldeep Yadav, Axar Patel, Washington Sundar, Ishant Sharma, Jasprit Bumrah, Md. Siraj, Shardul Thakur

–IANS

kh/aak/

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