CARDIFF: It is hot and dry, the pitches are flat and there will be lots of spin awaiting England. Add to this a huge Indian contingent that will be cheering their team at Sophia Gardens in Cardiff. If there was any doubt before, there is none now – the main challenge of the summer has arrived. A game down, England know one thing already: scoring truckloads of runs against Ashton Agar was clearly no preparation for India’s spin variety. Already, discussion of wristspin and their failure to cope against left-armer Kuldeep Yadav has become a talking point. The second T20I, therefore, gives them an opportunity to prove the Manchester nightmare was an aberration.
It is one thing executing badly against this rare bowling style, another not picking them at all, as was the case with four of the five England batsmen in the series opener. While two days between games is unlikely to change their foundation towards approaching spin, it sure could have given England time to ponder over batting strategies – knowing whom to target – and perhaps batting positions. Joe Root, for example, was a complete misfit at No. 6, especially when having at come in as late as the 14th over. His strike rate in T20Is since 2016 a modest 105.74 in seven innings.