India Get Patel Boost Ahead Of Second Test Against England
India’s bid to level its four-test series against England received a boost after spin all-rounder Axar Patel was declared fit for the second match which begins in Chennai on Saturday.
With Ravindra Jadeja nursing a thumb injury sustained in Australia, fellow left-arm spinner Patel had been expected to make his test debut in the opening match that England won by 227 runs.
A knee injury, however, kept him out and his replacement Shahbaz Nadeem managed only four wickets, going for more than four-runs-per-over in the second innings.
“Axar Patel has recovered completely and is now available for selection for the 2nd test,” the team said late on Thursday.
Nadeem and leg-spinner Rahul Chahar have been withdrawn from the main squad and put on standby.
Captain Virat Kohli has said India’s back-up spinners Nadeem and all-rounder Washington Sundar could not provide adequate support to their frontline bowlers.
Considering Patel’s batting abilities, the hosts may be tempted to bring attacking left-arm unorthodox spinner Kuldeep Yadav into the starting eleven in place of Sundar.
India are now just one defeat away from snapping their run of 12 consecutive victories in test series on home soil.
Another loss would also end India’s hopes of making the final of the inaugural World Test Championship in June.
Joe Root’s England need to win at least two more tests to qualify for the final, which will be held at Lord’s in June. New Zealand have already qualified.
The tourists will also be forced into making at least a couple of changes for the second match.
Fast bowler Jofra Archer will miss the test with an elbow injury, while Ben Foakes is set to take over the wicketkeeper’s gloves as Jos Buttler is rested for the last three matches.