India captain Virat Kohli on Sunday admitted that weather conditions in London made it difficult for the think-tank to chose the right combination for the second Test, which the visitors eventually lost by an innings and 159 runs on Day 4.
India went into the second Test match with just two frontline fast bowlers – Ishant Sharma and Mohammed Shami – while Umesh Yadav was dropped to accommodate young Kuldeep Yadav in the playing XI.
Kuldeep went wicketless in his 9 overs giving away 44 runs while his spin partner Ravichandran Ashwin bowled 17 overs without any success.
Shami on the other hand, picked up 3 wickets while Ishant got one in conditions which offered swing and seam movement.
Hardik Pandya, who played the role of the third fast bowlers in the side, also picked up three wickets.
The weather made matters worse for India as they came out to bowl on the third day in bright sunshine with very little swing and absolutely no spin on offer.
“Looking at things now, the weather was so unpredictable, I think we got the combination a bit off before the game. Chance to correct that next game,” Kohli said at the post-match presentation.
Missing a fourth fast bowler proved to be quite costly for India as Shami, Ishant and Pandya had to bowl long spells and were tiring out in the process.
Kuldeep and Ashwin didn’t get much turn and as a result, the batsmen had to no trouble in batting against them.
Jonny Bairstow in fact, attacked Ashwin early on and didn’t let India’s premier off-spinner settle whenever he was introduced into the attack.
England were in a spot of bother at one stage in their first innings when they were reduced to 131 for 5 with Bairstow and all-rounder Chris Woakes at the crease.
But the introduction of the spinners released the pressure and India ended up conceding a 289-run lead with Woakes smashing his maiden Test hundred while Bairstow scored 93 runs.
The duo were involved in a record 189-run partnership for the sixth-wicket which put England in the driver’s seat from where they dictated terms.
India got bowled out for 130 in their second innings with James Anderson and Stuart Broad picking up 4 wickets each while Woakes got two as the match finished effectively in three days after the first day got washed out without a ball being bowled.
Incidentally, India had got the team combination wrong in the first Test as well when they played an extra fast bowler instead of a spinner at Edgbaston where the pitch had a lot of turn on offer. Ashwin was India’s best bowler on show in that match with 7 wickets in total.
England lead the five-match series 2-0 with the third Test to be played in Trent Bridge from August 18.