India are in an extremely delicate situation after Day 2 of the Headingley Test in Leeds. Opting to bat first after winning the toss, India suffered another afternoon of horror and were cleaned up for just 78 runs. Only two Indian batsmen managed to get into double digits.
The misery continued with the ball as well. Openers Rory Burns and Haseeb Hameed produced a 135-run opening stand. England captain Joe Root who has been in terrific form all year added salt to India’s wounds with yet another spectacular century. Indian bowlers have lacked the answers to Root’s questions in the series so far.
By stumps on Day 2, England had a score of 423 for 8 and have a 345-run lead. As the hosts are eyeing an innings victory, fans and pundits have criticized the Indian team management for not including Ravichandran Ashwin in the starting XI for the third Test in a row. Ashwin was one of the best bowlers against New Zealand in the World Test Championship Final and he had also decimated England in the Test series at home earlier this year.
Moreover, the veteran all-rounder also had a county stint with Surrey before the Test series began. Fast bowler Mohammad Shami, however, believes that there is no need to criticize the starting XI that has been backed by the management. He refused to comment on the matter.
“I would not like to comment on the selection. That’s a team management decision. The XI that’s there on the field will have to do the job. We need to back and they need to win the game.
“You can’t think of it [selection] too much. We need to trust the XI that the team management has picked, and believe in their skill to pull off a good result,” he said at the virtual press conference after Day 2.
Despite being put under the cosh by England in the third Test, India have looked the better side over the entire series. They have a 1-0 lead to show for it as well. Shami mentioned that the team cannot lose morale over a couple of days of bad cricket and that there’s still enough time left in the series.
“It’s nothing like mentally, we have finished the game in three days and even two days too. There comes a time when it is your bad day but there is no point in getting our morale down.
“There are two matches left and we are 1-0 up in the series. We have to believe in our skills and back ourselves,” he signed off.