England v India 2nd Test Review - Lots of question marks for England

Ishant was terrific in the second innings
Ishant was terrific in the second innings
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Anyone who sat and watched the debacle of England's demise in the second test will know big changes will need to be made. Alex Johnson takes us through what happened...

The fact that England gained a first-innings lead was down, once again, to some belligerent batting down the order, with Plunkett enhancing his reputation with a well-made half-century.

As England defeats go, the second Test debacle at Lord's has to rank as one of the worst in recent memory.

However, it could prove to be a watershed for the team.

Given conditions that a side packed full of swing and seam bowlers could only dream of, the hosts somehow managed to let India reach almost 300 in the first innings.

Having wasted the new ball on one of the greenest Lord's pitches in living memory, they fought back well to reduce the tourists to 145-7 before allowing the lower order to push on to 295.

The worrying aspect of the India fight back was not so much that - once again England failed to finish off the tail when in control of the game - but the manner in which the hosts attacked the so-called lesser batsmen.

Tasking Liam Plunkett with the job of banging the ball in halfway down the track smacked of ignorance and a lack of cricketing knowledge usually reserved for the village green.

The fact that England gained a first-innings lead was down, once again, to some belligerent batting down the order, with Plunkett enhancing his reputation with a well-made half-century.

However, as has happened all too frequently in recent times, Alastair Cook's men then let a promising position slip as the Indians rallied to make 342 second time around.

Again it was the tail that prospered in the face of a tired and uninspired England attack, and the question has to be asked whether the bowlers are giving their all for Cook.

The skipper has, once again, made it clear that he will not be stepping down but one more poor display and surely the decision will be taken out of his hands.

Many past England captains have called for the Essex man to be given a break from cricket to rediscover his form, with Middlesex left-hander Eoin Morgan suggested as a possible replacement.

This would be a radical move from the selectors, who are not usually prone to such action, and it would be a surprise if Cook was not in charge when the teams reconvene in Southampton on Sunday.

India should be applauded for the way they fought last Sunday, with Ravindra Jadeja and Bhuvneshwar Kumar showing the opposition how to bat on a tricky surface.

A total of 300 always looked a tall order for England to chase down and so it proved but, once again, it is the manner of the almost inevitable England collapse that was so frustrating.

One batsman falling victim to the telegraphed short-ball tactic is bad enough, but three in quick succession is unforgivable, and the players need to take a long look at themselves.

Joe Root can be excused as he batted with no little skill to make 66 - a score all headline writers had been waiting for him to make - and looked to have put England in a decent position in partnership with Moeen Ali.

However, Matt Prior and in particular Ben Stokes just gifted their wickets in what looked like catching practice drills for the Indians.

Prior's decision to call time on his season due to injury might just have beaten the executioner anyway, while it would be no surprise to see Stokes back carrying the drinks on the South Coast.

Chris Jordan did nothing wrong before being dropped for the Durham man and deserves another chance - England will certainly lose nothing in the batting department.

India had not won at Lord's since 1986 and have traditionally struggled outside of the sub-continent but their seamers, and in particular Ishant Sharma, out bowled and outgunned the home side's supposedly superior pacemen.

There is little positive to say about the England side at present but the inclusion of Jos Buttler behind the stumps, if selected, might just freshen things up a little.

England can still turn the series around as India have looked frail themselves at times but have, up until now, won the crucial sessions - as England did when beating Australia at home last summer.

This might not always be the case as the series progresses but Cook's side must win at the Ageas Bowl otherwise the changes that will be made for the fourth Test will probably be a bit more severe, with a new man at the helm.

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