After a thrilling contest at Lord’s, former cricketer VVS Laxman has backed India to go 2-0 up in the five-match series when they take on England at Headingley in the third Test on Wednesday.
A confident Indian side will go all guns blazing to take an unassailable lead in the series after their 151-run win in the second Test at Lord’s. Laxman, who has the experience of playing in English conditions, believes that the hosts will be on the back foot in the third Test because of the hiding they received in the previous game.
In his column for the Times of India, VVS Laxman wrote:
“A week is a long time in international sport, but this period between the second and third Tests would have given England and India time to recover physically and mentally after the unnerving and compelling competition at Lord’s.
“The force is clearly with the visitors, especially after the drama that unfolded on the last day. England are, in cricketing terms, a mental foot behind, so the first point of order for Virat Kohli’s team will be to start the third Test strong and reopen some of the wounds that could still be festering,” he added.
Incidentally, the Lord’s Tests witnessed tempers flaring on Day 5. It all began after James Anderson gave a mouthful to Jasprit Bumrah after the pacer unleashed a barrage of bouncers against the England bowler on Day 3. That spurred the Indian players to channelise their anger to bully England in their den.
“If India can make a strong statement on Day 1, I foresee England capitulating” – VVS Laxman
With several star players missing out owing to injuries, Joe Root & co already look bogged down. VVS Laxman feels if India can dominate the opening day of the Headingley Test, they will be in the driver’s seat for the rest of the game.
“If India can make a strong statement on the first day, be it with bat or ball, I anticipate another English capitulation. Already handicapped by the absence of several key personnel, England will make tactical and forced changes to their eleven,” said Laxman.
“Mark Wood’s availability will be a major setback because he has the extra meters of pace that no other bowler in England can summon, and an entrepreneurial approach from India will reignite the gremlins of doubt that must be eating away at England,” added VVS Laxman.
India go out to Headingley with a fabulous record at the ground, having won their last Test at this ground in 2002 under Sourav Ganguly.
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