England v India: Free cricket betting tips & preview for the second Test at Lord's

Who will win the second Test at Lord's?
Who will win the second Test at Lord's?

Richard Mann is backing India to bounce back in the second Test at Lord's after England won a thrilling series opener at Edgbaston last week.

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If there's one word to describe this Indian cricket team - Virat Kohli's Indian cricket team - resilient would be very high on the list.

Like its skipper, this side has developed a thick skin and there was no better illustration of it than when India, trailing 2-0 in the three-match Test series in South Africa, roared back to win the final match in Johannesburg.

It was a terrific performance, full of character and determination, that came at the conclusion of a tough tour that had seen them compete hard in alien, seaming conditions against a stellar bowling attack boasting the like of Kasigo Rabada, Vernon Philander and Morne Morkel.

Australia's hammering on those shores only a few weeks later put into perspective just how much India had achieved on their own tour and despite losing at Edgbaston last week, it is hard to imagine India staying down for long. Kohli, for one, just won't allow it.

On the face of it, last week's loss is a result that will have stung India hard. They dominated much of the game and when they reduced England to 87-7 in the second innings, would have been confident of wrapping up a comfortable victory.

Sam Curran's late-order heroics ensured that wasn't to be but India still appeared firmly in control when Kohli had brought the target to within 50-odd on the fourth morning.

However, an inspired Ben Stokes had the final say, removing Kohli before running through the Indian lower order to haul England over the line and break Indian hearts.

England celebrate
Ben Stokes celebrate

The visitors won't lose faith, though, surely taking positives from the fact that they exceeded many expectations of an Asian batting line-up faced with foreign conditions that assisted England's swing bowlers throughout the game, while also having little trouble taking 20 wickets themselves.

Ravi Aswhin bowled beautifully - displaying the benefit of his county cricket stint with Worcestershire last summer - and he will continue to pose considerable problems for left-handers Alistair Cook and Keaton Jennings.

His threat was more than likely one of the deciding factors in England choosing to axe Dawid Malan and replace him with uncapped right-hander Ollie Pope for Lord's. It might also dissuade the hosts from handing a recall to Moeen Ali who struggled so badly against Nathan Lyon's off-spin in the winter.

India's seamers also shone in Birmingham, swinging the ball at good pace and with impressive control, and the absences of Jasprit Bumrah and Bhuvneshwar Kumar were felt far less keenly than appeared likely a few weeks ago.

Where India know they need to improve is with the bat. Kohli emphatically put to bed any suggestion that he isn't able to succeed on foreign shores with a performance fitting of the best batsman on the planet, but Shikaar Dhawan did just the opposite while Ajinjya Rahane has looked a shadow of his former self in the last 18 months, and again struggled.

He seems likely to retain his place but Dhawan might not be as fortunate with India still having the option of recalling Cheteshwar Pujara at number three and moving Lokesh Rahul up to open.

For all Pujura struggled for Yorkshire earlier in the summer - and he does remain vulnerable to the short ball - he plays the swinging ball late and his appetite to bat for long periods surely makes him a better option than Dhawan, who looks looks ill-suited to these conditons.


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Rohit Sharma's exclusion from the India squad for the first three games deprives Kohli of a potential match winner but his own battling was peerless in the first Test and he should continue to prosper with conditions unlikely to be as testing as those he encountered there.

Murali Vijay performed well here back in 2014 and won't stay quiet for long, while Dinesh Karthik and Hardik Pandya both did enough in Birmingham to think they can offer Kohli and his top-order colleagues plenty of support in the rest of the series.

A Lord's Test match has the potential to inspire the tourists even further but for England, they won't have happy memories of their last visit to the 'home of Cricket', having been humbled by Pakistan there earlier in the summer.

They must do without Ben Stokes - the hero at Edgbaston - this week due to his ongoing court case and his likely replacement, Chris Woakes, had missed plenty of cricket himself of late due to various injury issues.

Pope's debut and the continued struggles of the opening pair place even more burden on the shoulders captain Joe Root and as such, England could be vulnerable against a resilient Indian side who traded blows with the hosts in the series opener and might have fewer concerns in their camp heading into the second Test.

Just as they did back in 2014, they can win at Lord's and get themselves back into a series that has already delivered so much.

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