England looked a better team in the first Test in Rajkot and nearly pulled off a win on the final day of the Test match. India could not be happy with their performance on the fifth day, where their batsmen did not look good under pressure, and performance of the bowlers, overall, was not too impressive.
But when the two sides meet for the second Test in Vizag, expect Virat Kohli-led India to come all guns blazing. They will be eager to prove that they are a dominant Test side. For that to happen, India will need their key players to stand up and perform. England played some quality cricket in the first Test, and the Three Lions will be keen to put pressure on India right from the start, which should make up for a fascinating contest in the second Test.
Here is a look at key players from both teams:
The right-hander was in brilliant form in the first Test, scoring a wonderful ton in the first innings. He looked comfortable against spinners and seamers, and his positive approach was pleasing to the eye as well. Pujara will be keen to play similar cricket in Vizag. The batsman, who bats at number three, holds the crucial batting position. If a wicket falls early, he can use his technique to see off the new ball and also play strokes as he gets his eye in and provide a solid base for the other batsmen to follow.
The off-spinner has been India's best bowler while at home. More or less, Ashwin takes important wickets and plays an important role in the victory. But one witnessed that the bowler was not at his impressive best in the first Test. The English batsmen also played his variations well. He has plenty of things to prove in the second Test and Ashwin will be pumped up for the game. The Rajkot pitch might not have assisted the spinners but Ashwin will be pleased to hear that the 22-yard strip in Vizag is expected to provide turn from Day 2.
The Englishman is regarded as one of the best batsmen in world cricket, and he once again proved it with a brilliant ton in the Rajkot Test. If Root scores big, England are more often than not in strong position. What makes him an incredible batsman is his ability to play both the seamers and spinners at ease. With Ashwin and Ravindra Jedeja eager to dislodge the batsman early, the contest between the spinners and Root is expected to be close. If he settles down and gets his eye in, England could well be in the driver's seat.
The leggie was one of the best bowlers for England in the first Test. Even when the pitch did not assist him much in the first innings, his mixed variations played an important role in troubling the India batsmen. And when he got slight help from the pitch in the second innings, Rahsid looked a dangerous bowler, over after over. Like Ashwin, Rashid will look to bowl in Vizag and take important wickets to steer his team to victory. Rashid will want to bowl to the India batsmen in tight areas and make run-scoring difficult.