LONDON : A lifeless pitch at Trent Bridge ensured the first test between England and India was drawn, despite some remarkable individual performances. The teams have only three days off to prepare for the second test at Lord's on Thursday.
To end its first streak in 21 years of nine straight tests without a win, England has recalled left-arm spinner Simon Kerrigan, less than a year after a nightmare debut in the Ashes at The Oval. England has played three tests this summer without a specialist spinner and drawn two and lost one to Sri Lanka. Kerrigan says, if he's picked, the Ashes experience will weigh on him, but he's a better player for it.
Lord's is normally a seamers' track, and India has won only once there (1986) in 16 tests, but both sides were also expecting an England-friendly pitch at Nottingham.
Here are five things to know ahead of the second test:
ANOTHER SLOW PITCH: Trent Bridge groundsman Steve Birks apologized before the first test for preparing a flat pitch, but that was partly to help Nottingham recoup expenses by trying to ensure the test lasted five days. Lord's counterpart Mick Hunt had some big-shot visitors on Tuesday, including England captain Alastair Cook, coach Peter Moores, managing director Paul Downton and board pitch consultant Chris Wood. None made a public statement about the conditions, but England batsmen Sam Robson and Gary Ballance were hoping for, more than expecting, a lively track.
England seamers James Anderson and Stuart Broad bowled 113 overs at Trent Bridge, and won't be excited if Lord's is also placid. Anderson and Cook warned the fast bowlers won't be able to endure all five tests of the series if they aren't given pitches with more seam and bounce. "We need to have a contingency plan," Cook says. "We just need a pitch with a bit of life in it. Lord's looked green two days before the start, but its condition on Thursday morning will be what counts. It looked the same two days before the first Sri Lanka test in June."
COOK STILL SEARCHING FOR RUNS: Cook's batting performances have been as lifeless as the Trent Bridge track. He was out for 5 in the first test, and spared from batting again by India batting out the fifth day to confirm a draw. That pressure hasn't decreased, as his average this year has dropped to less than 14, with a top score of 28. In that department, he was showed up by the tailenders. Last-man Anderson hit his highest test score of 81, and India's No. 9 Bhuvneshwar Kumar rattled off two half centuries. Meanwhile, his captaincy decisions were better, but each side was always going to struggle to bowl out the other twice.