Veteran India opener Gautam Gambhir has issued warning for Virat Kohli and company ahead of the second Test against England at Lord’s. Gambhir believes the Lord’s Test could make or break India's fortunes in the five-Test series as the visitors have already lost the opening Test at Edgbaston last week.
India suffered an agonizing 31-run defeat in the Test series opener, with captain Kohli being the lone warrior for the tourists with the bat. Despite Virat scoring 200 runs in the match, India were bowled out for 274 and 162 in their first and second innings respectively.
"This Test is the most important match in the series. If you are 1-0 down and can't make a comeback in this Test match and this match goes the other way...as far as I remember, very few teams are there, who have won three matches in a row,” Gambhir quoted as saying by India Today.
During the 2014 England tour, India had suffered a humiliating 3-1 defeat in the five-match Test series. India’s solitary win had come at Lord’s in the second Test and Gambhir feels the numero uno Test side can replicate the same performance at the same venue this time around as well.
“In 2014, England were 1-0 down after two Test matches. The first Test was a draw, they lost at Lord's and they won three in a row. For India I feel this is the most important Test,” the southpaw said.
"The weather conditions and Lord's wicket, which is generally dry and of what we saw in one-day cricket from Moeen Ali and Adil Rashid, I think this is India's best opportunity to win because after this, the weather will cool down as September approaches. So, this is the make or break of the series," he added.
Although India’s batting line-up failed to live up to the expectations, bowlers came to the party once again. Continuing where they left off in South Africa, Indian bowlers claimed 20 English wickets, with Ashwin picking up seven wickets in the match and Ishant taking five-wicket haul in the second innings. If India are to bounce back in the five-Test series, the batsmen will certainly have to lift up their game.
Gambhir also urged the Indian batsmen to put their hands up and perform.
"If India play their best five bowlers, that will give them the best chance to win this Test match. At the same time, your batsmen need to make runs. You can't expect to get out at 200 and your bowlers bring you back each time in the game. It was Sam Curran, who made runs, otherwise, England were 70/7 (87/7). But, if you can't chase down 193, something is seriously wrong,” Gambhir remarked.
"You played one extra all-rounder in Hardik Pandya and despite that, you couldn't chase down the total...so, I feel, there is a definitely a need to retrospect somewhere," he concluded.
Squads for Lord’s Test:
India: Virat Kohli(c), Shikhar Dhawan, Lokesh Rahul, Dinesh Karthik, Kuldeep Yadav, Hardik Pandya, Umesh Yadav, Shardul Thakur, Murali Vijay, Cheteshwar Pujara, Ajinkya Rahane, Karun Nair, Rishabh Pant, Ravichandran Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja, Jasprit Bumrah, Ishant Sharma, Mohammed Shami
England: Joe Root (capt), Moeen Ali, James Anderson, Jonny Bairstow (wk), Stuart Broad, Jos Buttler, Alastair Cook, Sam Curran, Keaton Jennings, Ollie Pope, Jamie Porter, Adil Rashid, Chris Woakes