Kolkata: England decided to handle Jimmy Anderson, their swing warhead, with kid-gloves again by resting him for the second Test against India as they made four changes to the squad which won the first Test by 227 runs earlier this week. The second Test gets under way at the M.A.Chidambaram Stadium in Chennai on Saturday.
Chris Woakes will be now vying with Olly Stone for the final seamer’s place, stumper Jos Buttler will return home as part of the team’s policy to keep multi-format players fresh,
off-spinner Dom Bess has been dropped after failing to impress in the second innings of the first Test while the fiery Jofra Archer will miss the match with an elbow injury.
Archer, 25, experienced discomfort during the first Test and bowled only nine overs in the second innings. The ECB said he had an injection in his right elbow. “The issue is not related to any previous injury and it is hoped the treatment will allow the condition to settle down quickly, allowing the player to return to action in time for the third Test in Ahmedabad,” the ECB said in a statement.
Ben Foakes will substitute for Buttler behind the stumps for the rest of the four-Test series while spinning all-rounder Moeen Ali will replace Bess. Veteran seamer Stuart Broad is back but Woakes will have to compete with Stone to break into the playing XI.
Anderson was keen to play on after a match winning spell on the final day last week, but Root justified the team’s rotation policy saying they had to look at the “bigger picture”, which includes as Ashes series Down Under later this year.
“I think it gives Jimmy the best opportunity to be fit and available for those last two games. Ideally, if he’s available for two of the last three, that’s a huge asset for us as a team.”
Root said the team would take a look at the pitch at the pitch on Saturday morning before deciding whether Stone or Woakes should play. “With Stony, we can play with a similar balanced attack, someone that can come in at a high pace, give us a real point of difference in our seam department,” he said.
“Or we could go down the road of Woakes who gives us great control, lengthens our batting and brings reverse swing massively into the game as well.
“So we feel either way, whichever balanced side we go with, we’re going to give ourselves a really good chance of taking 20 wickets in these conditions.”
Commenting on the decision of dropping Bess, Root admitted in a video conference that it wasn’t ‘‘an easy decision.”
“It gives Moeen a great opportunity to come back with all of his experience.” Moeen’s 61st Test would be his first since August 2019, having taken a break from this format that year.
Squad: Joe Root (captain), Dom Sibley, Rory Burns, Dan Lawrence, Ben Stokes, Ollie Pope, Ben Foakes (wicketkeeper), Moeen Ali, Olly Stone, Chris Woakes, Jack Leach, Stuart Broad.