LONDON : – England captain Joe Root won the toss and elected to field against India in the second Test at Lord’s on Friday.
After rain washed out Thursday’s scheduled first day without a ball bowled, there were blue and sunny skies above Lord’s although these soon clouded over following the toss.
England, looking to take advantage of a green-tinged pitch, made two changes from the side that beat India by 31 runs in the first Test at Edgbaston last week to go 1-0 up in this five-match series.
As confirmed by England captain Joe Root on Wednesday, Surrey batsman Ollie Pope was given a Test debut in place of Dawid Malan, who was dropped after a run of low scores.
England were without Ben Stokes because of his ongoing trial on a charge of affray in Bristol.
Fellow pace-bowling all-rounder Chris Woakes came into the side in Stokes’s absence, with off-spinner Moeen Ali dropped from a squad where uncapped Essex pace bowler Jamie Porter had already been released.
“We are going to bowl first, with the weather around it gives us a chance to take wickets early on,” said Root at the toss.
“We’ve gone with four seamers and one spinner so Moeen Ali is the unlucky one.”
Root added: “We did think about two spinners but we feel with that green tinge it gives a chance to get ahead of the game. I hope Ollie Pope plays as he has done for his county and enjoys his debut.”
Pope received his England cap from former England captain Alec Stewart, his director of cricket at Surrey.
He is the fourth player under 21 to represent England in Test cricket this year, following Mason Crane, Dominic Bess and Sam Curran.
India also made two changes, with Cheteshwar Pujara coming in after struggling opener Shikhar Dhawan was dropped and left-arm wrist-spinner Kuldeep Yadav, who caused England problems in the preceding white-ball series, replacing paceman Umesh Yadav.
KL Rahul was set to open alongside Murali Vijay.
Kuldeep’s inclusion meant India played two spinners, with off-break bowler Ravichandran Ashwin, who starred at Edgbaston, retained.
“We would have bowled first,” said India captain Virat Kohli, who scored his first Test century in England — a brilliant 149 — at Edgbaston.
“The wicket looks good — it’s a hard pitch, it’s very dry,” the world’s top-ranked Test and one-day international batsman added. “Everyone is going to be in the game.
“The guys are feeling confident; it’s just about getting the mental aspect right.
“We’ve got to up for the battle, ready to do the dirty work.”
England: Alastair Cook, Keaton Jennings, Joe Root (capt), Ollie Pope, Jonny Bairstow (wkt), Jos Buttler, Chris Woakes, Sam Curran, Adil Rashid, Stuart Broad, James Anderson
India: KL Rahul, Murali Vijay, Cheteshwar Pujara, Virat Kohli (capt), Ajinkya Rahane, Dinesh Karthik (wkt), Hardik Pandya, Ravichandran Ashwin, Kuldeep Yadav, Mohammed Shami, Ishant Sharma