India bat first as Anderson and Rahul return

India opt to bat v England
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‘Here to give India run for their money’ – Cook

India drew first blood in the second Test against England at Visakhapatnam by winning a crucial toss and choosing to bat first in the venue’s maiden Test match.

Alastair Cook, England’s captain, cut an almost condemned figure at the toss as he contemplated the challenge of staying in touch with India on a surface that neither captain expects to last five days.

“It looks like a crucial toss to win, but that could play into our hands because now we’ve got nothing to lose,” he said.

Cook confirmed one notable change to the England team that exceeded expectations in dominating last week’s draw in Rajkot, with James Anderson returning to the starting line-up, ahead of schedule and at the expense of Chris Woakes, whom Cook was at pains to stress had been “rotated” rather than dropped.

“Jimmy is ready to go, or as ready as you can be without any match practice,” said Cook. Anderson, England’s leading Test wicket-taker, was a major influence in their series win in India in 2012-13 but has not played a competitive fixture since the Pakistan Test series in July, after missing the end of the English season with a fractured shoulder-blade.

India made two changes to their line-up, the first of which will be fronting up against Anderson and the new ball. KL Rahul, their hugely rated opening batsman, is back to full fitness after picking up a hamstring injury in the Kanpur Test against New Zealand. His return would appear to spell the end to Gautam Gambhir’s Test career.

The other change is the addition of the debutant offspinner, Jayant Yadav, ostensibly to target England’s ranks of left-handers. It is also, however, an indictment of Amit Mishra’s shortcomings in the first Test. His three wickets at Rajkot came at more than 50 apiece.

“It looks a pretty decent wicket to bat on first up, then a little bit of turn later on,” said Kohli. “This one is going to be challenging for the batters, the ball is going to do more here, so we have put some runs on the board.”

India 1 KL Rahul, 2 M Vijay, 3 Cheteshwar Pujara, 4 Virat Kohli (capt), 5 Ajinkya Rahane, 6 R Ashwin, 7 Wriddhiman Saha (wk), 8 Ravindra Jadeja, 9 Jayant Yadav, 10 Mohammed Shami, 11 Umesh Yadav

England 1 Alastair Cook (capt), 2 Haseeb Hameed, 3 Joe Root, 4 Ben Duckett, 5 Moeen Ali, 6 Ben Stokes, 7 Jonny Bairstow (wk), 8 Adil Rashid, 9 Zafar Ansari, 10 Stuart Broad, 11 James Anderson

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

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