• Saturday, July 20, 2024


England consider Moeen as they ponder Test changes against India

Moeen Ali (Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images)

By: easterneye.biz Staff

ENGLAND could recall Moeen Ali in one of several changes for the second Test against India at Lord’s starting on Thursday (12) after escaping with a draw in the series opener.

The tourists had the better of a rain-affected first Test at Trent Bridge, with a hundred from home captain Joe Root – who also top-scored with 64 in a meagre first-innings 183 – and a last-day washout frustrating Virat Kohli’s men in their efforts to go 1-0 up in a five-match series.

The home side did not play a specialist spinner in Nottingham, again omitting the unfortunate Jack Leach, amid concerns they would otherwise have too long a tail in a side missing allrounders Ben Stokes and Chris Woakes.

But with Stokes continuing to take a break from cricket because of mental health issues and Woakes still nursing a heel injury, Moeen has been added to England’s squad.

Moeen has scored five hundreds in 61 Tests that have also yielded 189 wickets.

Against India at home, he has 31 wickets in seven Tests during 2014 and 2018 series wins for England.

The 34-year-old has played only white-ball cricket since his last Test appearance against India in Chennai in February when he took eight wickets and hit a second-innings 43 in a losing cause.

He twice dismissed India captain Kohli in that match but played no further part in the series, taking a scheduled rest as part of England’s rotation policy after team management had, in a late change, asked him to stay on.

Moeen, who could replace Dan Lawrence, has been in fine form in the inaugural season of the Hundred, with Root saying on Tuesday (10): “We’ll look at conditions and weigh things up but he’s in a great position to play.

“He’s scored big hundreds and won the games with the ball as well and he’s a fine cricketer.”

‘Mature’ Hameed

England have significant concerns about their top order, with opener Dom Sibley taking a laborious 203 balls to score 46 runs at Trent Bridge.

Zak Crawley is also vulnerable to being dropped after averaging just 11 in Test cricket this year.

Either batsman could make way in the top three for Haseeb Hameed, who has not played Test cricket since 2016.

Hameed’s breakthrough as a teenager in India nearly five years ago was cut short by a broken hand and his career stalled during a loss of form with Lancashire.

But a move to Nottinghamshire in late 2019 has seen him back in the runs.

“Ever since the first day I met him I’ve been extremely impressed with him as a person, with his maturity as a young man back then,” said Root of Hameed.

England coach Chris Silverwood agreed the top order was a worry when he said Monday: “We have to address and accept we are not getting those runs, so we have to look at the why.”

Meanwhile, England could be without Stuart Broad after the veteran quick suffered a heel injury on Wednesday (11).

If Broad is unfit, his place may be taken by express quick Mark Wood.

Kohli, speaking after the end of the first Test, said he felt a side featuring four quicks and spin-bowling allrounder Ravindra Jadeja gave India the right “template going ahead in the series”.

He added: “We certainly felt like we were on top of the game.”

India, however, could be forced into a change given seam-bowling allrounder Shardul Thakur is reportedly struggling with a hamstring problem.

And with conditions at Lord’s likely to offer more assistance to slow bowlers than in the first Test, that may lead India to recall star offspinner Ravichandran Ashwin.


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