Hint of spin in Lord’s pitch widens India’s Ashwin-shaped hole

India, despite losing early wickets and facing a slightly lesser first-innings total than they would have desired after day one, remain very much on top in this second Test match at Lord’s. Getting over even 350 given the occasionally favourable bowling conditions represents an imposing peformance, particularly when bearing in mind this ever so brittle of England batting line-ups.

However, Moeen Ali has been an interesting case study in the opening sessions of this game, bowling a tight line and extracting some genuine turn. In fact, as of lunch on day two, the average deviation he found was 3.0 degrees, the 6th most for the opening two days of a Lord’s Test in the last twenty matches at ‘HQ’.

India have the excellent Ravindra Jadeja to call on with ball in hand so as to exploit such a statistic, but the tourists will be determined not to rue their decision to leave out their premier off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin. With England due to bat last on a surface that will no doubt deteriorate a touch, if not considerably, the absence of arguably the world’s best spin bowler continues to leave heads being scratched.