ICC has charged the paceman for pushing and abusing Jadeja during the lunch break on the second day of first Test. If found guilty, he could miss at least two and up to four Tests or upto 8 ODIs, something that the hosts will not desire under any circumstances.
The ECB has retaliated with a report against Jadeja as well. As much as the English team management will be lobbying hard for the leader of their attack, they will also be keeping an eye on the pitch for the game.
The centre-wicket at Lord’s bore a distinctive green tinge. Much of it is expected to disappear by time of the toss on the first morning. Even so, it is possible that the wicket will retain some juice in it, thanks to this delayed shaving.
It will be joyous news for the quicker bowlers on both sides then, a sort of reward for the hard work they put in during the Nottingham game.
At the same time, such a scenario will also be in keeping with how Tests at Lord’s have panned out in recent times. The average first innings’ score at this ground historically is 315 runs, but from 2010 until 2014, it has gone up to 403. This is the only ground that hosts two Tests in an English summer.
At the one hand captain Alastair Cook will want a placid track to reverse his batting fortunes. From becoming his nation’s top century-getter in Test cricket to not scoring in three-figures for the last 25 innings, it has been a steep decline for him.
While he will want a little less hard work even against a mediocre Indian attack, at the other hand he will also desire more assistance for his bowlers as England continue their search for an end to their nine-match winless streak.
He will feel happier with the finer print that is in the bowling figures at Lord’s. Pace bowlers have found success here in recent times. If the period from 2008—2014 is considered, they have taken 165 wickets at an average of 21.95 in comparison to the spinner’s figures of 69 wickets at 29.28.
The faster bowlers’ figures are even more impressive when compared with the period from 2000—2007 wherein they took 145 wickets at an average of 27.68.
The distinctive slope at this famous ground perhaps plays to their advantage. Any which way, it can be assumed that spin will not be a major factor in this Test unless something extraordinary happens to the pitch over the course of five days.
As such then, England will not be playing left arm spinner Simon Kerrigan, who is as it is considered a long shot given his disappointing debut in the Ashes last year. He is said to be in the squad to begin his reintegration to the Test format.
For India, meanwhile, perhaps this puts to rest the question of playing two spinners. At Trent Bridge, the 198 run world-record 10th wicket stand between Anderson and Joe Root notwithstanding, the Indian bowlers gave a fairly good account of themselves.