All eyes have been on Virat Kohli and the Indian team management as they are expected to make some bold calls ahead of the second Test between England and India, starting August 9 at Lord's, London.

India came up with a decent performance in Edgbaston but it was not enough to stop Joe Root's men from taking a 1-0 lead in the five-match series. The visitors' bowling unit impressed, picking 20 wickets for the fourth successive time on the road since the start of the year, but their batting, barring captain Kohli, was a big letdown.

Kohli (200) almost scored half of the team's total across two innings while the likes of Shikhar Dhawan, Murali Vijay, KL Rahul, and Ajinkya Rahane struggled against the swinging ball.

Will Cheteshwar Pujara be benched again?

Will India reinforce their batting order by adding an extra batsman for the Lord's Test.

Well, bowling coach Bharat Arun hinted the visitors may not opt for an extra batsman and called it a "conservative move".

However, India may be looking at bringing back Cheteshwar Pujara into the playing XI. The first-drop, who has struggled to get going overseas and in the county season with Yorkshire, still has the experience of playing in English conditions. 

Cheteshwar Pujara
File photo: Cheteshwar Pujara scored a half century in Johannesburg.IANS

If the team management thinks on those lines, opening batsman Shikhar Dhawan, who has been facing criticism for not adapting to the conditions in the Old Blighty, is likely to be dropped. The left-hander managed a total of 39 runs in Edgbaston and got out in a similar fashion in both the innings.

Despite failing to impress in the first Test, Rahul and Vijay will open if Dhawan makes way for Pujara.

However, it remains to be seen if Dhawan will be dropped after just one bad outing. A lot has been spoken about the need for Kohli to trust his batsmen but history suggests the Indian captain may not be averse to chopping and changing once again.

Two spinners or one spinner?

R Ashwin and Kuldeep Yadav
Will India go in with two spinners for the second Test?Gareth Copley/Getty Images

Another big decision the Indian think tank has to make is whether or not to play two spinners. London had experienced heat waves and thus dry wickets were expected at Lord's.

However, the temperature dropped on Wednesday and it is expected to remain cool over the next few days, with occasional showers as well.

R Ashwin's performances (7 for 121) at Edgbaston may have tempted India to play an extra spinner in Kuldeep Yadav or Ravindra Jadeja but the team management is expected to take a call based on the weather.

With Jasprit Bumrah ruled out, India are expected to retain the pace trio of Umesh Yadav, Ishant Sharma, and Mohammed Shami.

On the other hand, England will be without Ben Stokes and the all-rounder is likely to be replaced by Royal Challengers Bangalore star Chris Woakes, who was named in the squad for the second Test.


Captain Root confirmed in Wednesday's media interaction that 20-year-old Ollie Pope will be handed his maiden Test cap tomorrow. He will replace Dawid Malan, who was poor with both the bat and at the slips in the first Test. 

A decision on whether or not to play Moeen Ali as the second spinner will also be made tomorrow depending on the conditions, the England captain said. 

Predicted playing XIs

England: Joe Root (c), Alastair Cook, Keaton Jennings, Ollie Pope, Jonny Bairstow (wk), Jos Butter, Sam Curran, Chris Woakes, Adil Rashid, Stuart Broad, James Anderson.

India: Virat Kohli (c), Murali Vijay, KL Rahul, Cheteshwar Pujara, Ajinkya Rahane, Dinesh Karthik (wk), Hardik Pandya, R Ashwin, Mohammed Shami, Ishant Sharma, Umesh Yadav.

Pitch and conditions

As stated before, there will be clouds hanging over the Lord's Cricket Ground over the next few days as the temperatures have dropped following the heat wave that swept the city earlier this week. 

A green pitch is reportedly on offer for the two teams and pacers are expected to reign supreme once again.