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Rajendra Prasad Mohapatra

The second Test match between India and England at Lord's in London is interestingly poised with India (181/6) having a lead of 154 runs with four wickets in hand at stumps on the penultimate day.

England bowlers came back strongly after experienced campaigners CheteshwarPujara (45) and AjinkyaRahane (61) did the debacle control following initial hiccups during the second innings of the visitors.

Now, the onus is on the tail to wag and support aggressive Rishabh Pant (14 no) to set up a tricky chase for England. Former Test specialist VVS Laxman feels that even a target of 225 will be tough to chase on a slow and low turning track at Lord’s.

“Everything depends on Pant and the Indian tail. The lower order batsmen should perform a rearguard action around the attacking wicket-keeper batsman to stretch the lead to around 225 which will be a tricky total on the surface,” said Laxman.

“The pitch has become considerably slow and low and the fourth day track has already shown some indication of turn. Chasing 225 on this difficult track with an uneven bounce will not be an easy task for the hosts,” said Laxman.

India will now bank on the aggressive instinct of Pant who has the ability to attack any opposition out of the game on his given day. The lower order batsmen have also performed well in the first Test and they will try their best to carry the momentum forward.

However, opposition skipper Joe Root will be the thorn in the flesh of the visiting team. He is so far the major difference between both the teams. Indian bowlers have to send him to the pavilion earlier and put pressure on the rest to have any kind of impact in the game. Apart from the pacers, Ravindra Jadeja will have a special roll on the slow and turning fifth day Lord’s track.

(Edited by Pradeep Singh)

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