England will be high on confidence following the first Test win over India at Birmingham. The batting may have been a matter of concern for the hosts, but the bowlers were at their absolute best to seal a close win. On the other hand, India would have been devastated by the defeat, given the victory was within their sights. Just like their opponents, Indian batsmen failed miserably, barring skipper Virat Kohli.
The second Test will be held at Lord's, where the host's have a formidable record, but the visitors have barely had any success. England announced their 13-member squad on Sunday, which saw Ben Stokes and Dawid Malan getting dropped for Chris Woaks and Ollie Pope respectively. As for India, Jasprit Bumrah is still not fit enough to feature, so it means Kohli has the same squad he had for the first Test.
It is expected that the conditions at Lord's may well have assistance for spinners, which could prompt a few changes from either side. Let's take a look at how the two teams could possibly line-up for the crucial encounter.
The hosts confirmed that Stokes has been left out due to his hearing in the court this week, whereas Malan has been dropped for his poor display in the first Test, both with the bat and in the field. They have been swapped by like to like players in Woakes, who is a quality bowler and can provide steel with the bat, and Pope, who has made a name for himself in the domestic circuit.
The top three will remain the same, with Alastair Cook and Keaton Jennings opening the batting, and skipper Root coming at No.3. Pope will be expected to make his debut, and slot in straight at No.4.
Following him will be the impressive Jonny Bairstow at No.5 and Jos Buttler Buttler at No.6. Now, for the all-rounder option, the host's must choose between Moeen Ali and Woakes. Should the conditions be like Birmingham, Woakes will get the nod. But if there is any hint of turn, Moeen will start.
After them will be Adil Rashid, who should keep his place despite a mediocre display in the first Test. And the pace trio of Sam Curran, Stuart Broad and James Anderson will complete the playing XI.
Probable England XI: Alastair Cook, Keaton Jennings, Joe Root (c), Ollie Pope, Jonny Bairstow, Jos Buttler, Moeen Ali/Chris Woakes, Adil Rashid, Sam Curran, Chris Broad, James Anderson
The visitors have a headache when it comes to their playing XI. Cheteshwar Pujara, a surprise exclusion from the first Test, looks certain to start following India's struggle with the bat at Birmingham. But Kohli and the team management will have to assess the conditions, and choose between Umesh Yadav, Ravindra Jadeja or the mystery man, Kuldeep Yadav.
The opening pair of Shikhar Dhawan and Murali Vijay is expected to remain the same, despite their struggle against the English pace attack. Following them will be Pujara at No.3, skipper Kohli at No.4, Ajinkya Rahane at No.5 and Dinesh Karthik at No.6.
Hardik Pandya is expected to continue at No.7 as the all-rounder, despite providing absolutely nothing with the ball in the first Test. After him, the three bowlers who are sure to start are Ravichandran Ashwin, Mohammed Shami and Ishant Sharma. The final bowling spot may well be retained by Umesh, though, Jadeja and Kuldeep would be right on his heels.
Probable India XI: Shikhar Dhawan, Murali Vijay, Cheteshwar Pujara, Virat Kohli (c), Ajinkya Rahane, Dinesh Karthik, Hardik Pandya, Ravichandran Ashwin, Umesh Yadav/Ravindra Jadeja/Kuldeep Yadav, Mohammed Shami, Ishant Sharma