Former England captain Nasser Hussain has said that despite the win at Lord’s, there are some vulnerabilities in this Indian team which England have to remember. He also backed England to win the next three Tests.
“There are still vulnerabilities in this India side and that`s what England have to remember at Headingley. If England had Jofra Archer, Ben Stokes, Chris Woakes and now Stuart Broad available to them, I’d still fancy them strongly to win this series. But they can get back over the next three Tests without them,” wrote Hussain in his column for Daily Mail.
“Look at the India batting line-up. Rishabh Pant can be a destructive batsman but he doesn`t always come off and looks a place too high to me at six in English conditions against the Dukes ball. The same goes for Ravindra Jadeja at seven. And, whatever they did at Lord`s, India do still have a long tail. That`s what made me so cross about that last morning when England lost the plot against that tail and it eventually cost them a Test they could easily have won,” Hussain continued.
The former England captain felt that runs could be expected from both teams considering the flat pitch at Headingley, which is also the home ground of England captain Joe Root, Jonny Bairstow and Dawid Malan.
“So it`s not done and dusted just yet. I think we can expect a different type of cricket at Headingley. I don’t know if the Test pitch will be different but it has been very flat there this season and last year. I expect more runs from both sides,” opined Hussain.
The 53-year-old said that if he was in the shoes of Root and coach Chris Silverwood, he would pick uncapped pacer Saqib Mahmood at Headingley. “That’s why if I were Joe Root and Silverwood I would pick my strongest bowling line-up available – and that means Saqib Mahmood should play, even though Craig Overton would provide a bit more batting depth at eight. Even though he would be on debut, Mahmood is a wicket-taker, has a bit of extra pace and can get reverse swing if it is there.”
He concluded by saying that England should be wary of Virat Kohli and his drive to win the Test series. “But in Kohli England will be up against a leader who will do everything in his power to win this series now. And that makes it a very difficult task for England over the next three or four weeks.”
India is leading the five-match Test series 1-0. The third Test between India and England begins at Headingley in Leeds from Wednesday (August 25).
(with IANS inputs)