England head coach Trevor Bayliss has admitted that absence of Ben Stokes for the second England vs India Test is a area of concern for the hosts.
While England managed to come out on top in the first Test, there is no denying that they have a lot os issues to address. And one of them is certainly their batting. In both the innings, the hosts faltered with the bat but luckily got away. In the first innings, they were comfortably placed at 216 for 3.
Both Joe Root and Jonny Bairstow had completed their fifties and looking set to bat England to a position of strength. However, Virat Kohli triggered an inexplicable collapse by running out his England counterpart for 80. From thereon, England kept on losing wickets at regular intervals and were eventually all out for 287.
The batsmen were no good in the second innings either. The hosts were seven down for just 87. But fortunately, Sam Curran scored his maiden Test fifty to bail them out of trouble and helped them post 180. England eventually managed to win the low-scoring thriller by 31 runs.
And, to make the matters worse, they will be without Ben Stokes who is due to stand trial on a charge of affray on Monday. The allrounder did not make much of a contribution with the bat but Bayliss admitted his absence would hurt the hosts.
“I’d be lying if I said our batting wasn’t a concern,” Bayliss said. “It always has been. We’re losing plenty of wickets in quick succession. It will be difficult without Stokes. It means that someone else has got to take up the slack. These guys are under no illusions we’ve got things to work on batting-wise and catching-wise.
“It’s been that way for a while. We’ve got things to work on and it’s taken a little longer than everyone would have hoped but it’s always good to win because it does get down to confidence. Hopefully winning this one and having that confidence will be a good thing,” he added.
England would also miss Stokes’ services with the ball. It was Stokes’ spell that fired England to the thrilling win. The allrounder took three wickets including the prized scalp of Virat Kohli to give England the lead.
Bayliss did feel there was some mitigation for England’s performance with the bat in Birmingham and that they deserved some credit for their performance with the ball.
“At Edgbaston, the batting has to be taken in context,” Bayliss said. “Throughout the game there were wickets falling left, right and centre. All the batters were in trouble, even Virat Kohli, who I don’t think was all that comfortable early on. It was difficult to bat, probably more difficult than it looked from outside.
“And I thought we bowled pretty well in this game. India are a very good team. But we’re very much in the hunt here. When the ball is moving, we’ve shown that a few of their guys struggle against the moving ball. I’m sure that they’ll be going away working out how they can play it as we’re going working on how to play the offspin.”
The second Test would get underway from August 9 at Lord’s.