Second Test Preview: England must turn to Panesar as injuries mount
Stuart Broad missed the final practice session ahead of the second Test of England’s tour of India as the Three Lions look to bounce back from their nine-wicket drubbing in Ahmedabad.
A price of 9/2 doubts they can do it, while the hosts are poised to take a 2-0 lead in the four-match series according to the betting – they’re odds-on 10/11 shots. The draw, meanwhile, is available at 7/4.
Steven Finn is definitely ruled out with a thigh injury, while Ian Bell is absent on paternity leave. England can ill-afford more absentees ahead of this crucial Test and, should Broad – who is suffering from illness – be forced to sit it out, there will be some gaping holes in their line up, even if there were plenty of calls for him to be dropped following the Ahmedabad mauling.
Graham Onions is the most experienced of potential replacements but he’s struggled to find his best form in the tour matches. This means England could turn to uncapped Surrey paceman Stuart Meaker and they certainly have nothing to lose in doing so.
The only issue is whether the Indian batsmen send him round the park and his confidence takes a battering but, based on the last performance of the England attack, this is a risk worth taking.
Monty Panesar must also be in line for a recall as, based on the evidence of the first Test, Samit Patel can’t hack it against India’s elite batsman.
Like most Indian pitches, the Wankhede Stadium’s track favours the spinners and, should Panesar be recalled – and surely he will be – he can be backed at a very reasonable 6/5 to get over 2.5 wickets in the first innings of the second Test.
England will definitely stand a better chance of levelling the series should they go with two specialist slower bowlers and they will be buoyed by India’s poor recent record in Mumbai. Of the previous seven Test matches played here, five visiting sides – one of which was Andy Flower’s side – have emerged victorious.
All odds and markets accurate as of publication’s time and date