England v India 2nd Test Betting: Kohli calls for the Men in the Mirror to step up
England came through a thrilling first Test to grab the victory but Ralph Ellis warns this series could have some twists and turns ahead.
Virat Kohli didn't quite do the full Michael Jackson routine but his message to the rest of India's top order after they had lost at Edgbaston was definitely borrowed from one of his songs.
Asked what they needed to do to put right all that went wrong in the first Test, his answer was straightforward: "Just look at ourselves in the mirror".
He had a point. India threw away a major opportunity in Birmingham and left looking very much like a one-man team as far as their batting line-up was concerned, instead of the number one ranked Test playing nation in the world.
There is a school of thought that their ranking cannot be taken seriously until they have won a major series on opposition soil and here, surely, had been the chance to go about doing it.
Having reduced England to 224-6 on a decent batting pitch in the first innings they let Joe Root's men end up with 287. Then after starting superbly at 50-0 they suffered a collapse of their own.
Ben Stokes absence will be crucial
Even then needing less than 200 to win the top order - apart from the superb Kohli - flopped again.
It has left England [2.08] favourites to win the second Test which starts at Lord's on Thursday, and [1.35] to win the series. Yet it would be foolish to dismiss this Indian side as a one-man team.
Openers Shikhar Dhawan and Murali Vijay have 19 Test centuries between them and were starting to show why until both were trapped by Sam Curran's late swing on the second morning.
Number three Lokesh Rahul has four tons from his 25 Tests at the age of 26 and a highest score of 199. So the support for Kohli is there and against an England attack weakened by the absence of Ben Stokes could yet rise to the fore.
Extra pressure from 'A' team openers
Conditions at Lord's are also likely to be less helpful for the swing bowlers on what is traditionally one of the game's better batting wickets.
They will also have had some time to prepare properly after going into the Test series on the back of a white-ball contest followed by five days off - a build-up quite rightly condemned by legend Sunil Gavaskar.
Both openers will be looking not only in the mirror but at the scores from South Africa where their counterparts in India's 'A' team, Mayank Agarwal and Prithvi Shaw, put on 277 for the first wicket. There are already calls for them to be jetted to England and that will add a bit of pressure on the top two to find some runs at Lord's.
Throw in the weather forecast - the long dry spell is due to break on Saturday with showers and longer spells of rain across the remaining three days of the Test - and I can't help feeling that there's value in backing the draw for this one at [5.1].
Kohli will again be the prized wicket for England but it would be naïve to think he's the only man in the top order capable of playing a big innings.