Former England fast bowler Steve Harmison feels India will have a long tail if they decide to go with the same playing XI which they had done in the Lord’s Test match.
India had played with four fast bowlers in Ishant Sharma, Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Shami and Mohammed Siraj whereas Ravindra Jadeja was the solitary all-rounder of the team.
The visitors have left out Ravichandran Ashwin from the first two Test matches against England and thus they have a long tail. However, as Jasprit Bumrah and Mohammed Shami were able to add an unbeaten alliance of 89 runs in the second innings of the Lord’s Test, it will give a lot of confidence to the team management to play the same team.
However, it has been reported that Ravichandran Ashwin could replace Ravindra Jadeja in the third Test match and the tourists will continue to back their four fast bowlers in the final XI.
Steve Harmison said while talking to ESPN Cricinfo, “If I was an Indian fan I would always be wary that in English conditions the way the ball moves, having Ishant Sharma bat at No. 8 gives you a long long tail especially if he comes in challenging conditions from overhead.”
“You back your bowlers to take wickets and you back your batsmen to score runs. India did that at Lord’s and they won that Test match, rightly so. They would be hopeful they do exactly the same up at Leeds.”
On the other hand, former Indian spinner Maninder Singh feels Ishant Sharma played with an injury in the second Test. The lanky fast bowler was ruled out of the first Test as he was carrying a niggle but he scalped a total of five wickets in the Lord’s Test match.
“No, it depends if Ishant Sharma is 100% fit as well because in the last Test match in the second innings, the way he was bowling, he wasn’t looking 100% fit to me. But if Ishant Sharma is 100% fit, I think I would go in with Ishant Sharma and use his experience because he got you wickets at an important time.”
“I thought he wasn’t fit enough, the way he was strolling to the wicket. But that experience counted. So, if he is even 90% or maybe 80% fit, I think the Indian think tank is going to go in with Ishant Sharma.”
The third Test match will take place at Headingley, Leeds from August 25.