England's defeat to India in second Test causes multiple selection headaches

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Football News

India bowled England out for a disappointing 158 on the final day to record a 246-run victory in the second Test in Visakhapatnam.

Beginning the day on 87-2 after the late loss of Haseeb Hameed and skipper Alastair Cook on the fourth evening, England were striving to dig in for a draw rather than to chase their mammoth target of 405 to win.

However, proceedings started ominously with the dismissal of the struggling Ben Duckett and continued in similar fashion as the tourists lost eight wickets for 66 runs.

Such a heavy defeat will be deeply disappointing for England, who seemed have turned a corner with a draw in the first Test, having underachieved in Bangladesh. 

But with Stuart Broad suffering a foot injury and Duckett looking all at sea against Ravichandran Ashwin, it is likely changes will have to be made before the third Test on Saturday.

Broad's absence will likely mean that Chris Woakes, rested for the second Test as part of the tourists' rotation policy, will return to the line-up.

He has performed excellently in all formats for England in 2016 and his talent with the bat will solidify the tail.

Of more concern are England's options for modifying their middle order.

India's Ashwin has exposed a concerning flaw in 22-year-old Duckett's technique, which sees him plant his front foot down the line of leg stump, exposing him to various methods of dismissal.

Recording scores of five and zero in this match, the inexperienced Northants man is now likely to be withdrawn from the spotlight.

However, there are no stand out performers ready to jump at the chance to replace him. 

Gary Balance always seemed an odd selection for this tour and looked completely out of his depth in Bangladesh.

Gareth Batty, Jake Ball and Steven Finn are there to supplement the bowling reserves, and while Batty may come in for Zafar Ansari, who also struggled to contribute in the second Test, none of these options are viable as a replacement for a middle order batsman.

Jos Buttler is the only remaining member of the touring party. A star in white-ball cricket for England, Buttler has a considerably less impressive record in the Test arena.

Despite said setbacks, coach Trevor Bayliss remains positive: "I'm more than comfortable with Jos Buttler playing as a batter. He's been hitting the ball quite well in the nets.

It will now take a herculean effort to repeat the feats of the 2012 touring side to record a series win in India, but it shouldn't be forgotten that they too stared down the barrel of a 1-0 deficit and emerged victorious.

Joe Root
England cricket
India cricket

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