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Brett’s watch list: Possible Man of the Match Contenders in India vs England 2nd Test

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Indian cricket team will look to bounce back against England in the second Test, which is scheduled to start from February 13 at the MA Chidambaram Stadium in Chennai.

Virat Kohli-led Team India suffered a massive 227-run defeat against the visitors at the same venue in the first Test of the four-match series.

The hosts have dropped to the fourth spot in the ICC World Test Championship (WTC) points table and Kohli’s men need to win the upcoming Chennai Test in order to keep their chances alive. If England beat India in any of the remaining three Tests, Team India's chances of qualifying for the WTC final will be over.

Meanwhile, England cricket team captain Joe Root led from the front as his 218-run knock in the first innings laid the foundation of the visitor's well-deserved victory in the first Test. I want to congratulate Root on becoming the first cricketer to score a double century in his 100th Test.

While England dominated India in all three departments in the first Test, I expect Team India to make a strong comeback, just like they did in the Australia-India Test series.

Here are four names who I think can put in a Man of the Match performance in the second Test.

Shubman Gill

India’s young batting prodigy Shubman Gill scored a vital fifty in the second innings of the first Test before he was cleaned up by a peach of a delivery from England pacer James Anderson. The 21-year-old looked at ease playing his shots during both the innings of the first Test. But even after scoring six thirty-plus scores in his eight Test innings, including three brilliant half-centuries, Gill has failed to convert his strong starts. I reckon that a big score is just around the corner for the talented youngster.

Ben Stokes

World’s top-ranked Test all-rounder Ben Stokes showed once again why he is regarded as one of the modern greats. Stokes scored a swashbuckling 82 runs in the first innings of the first Test and had stitched a valuable 124-run stand with captain Root to help his side post a mammoth 578 runs on the board. Later on in the match, the 29-year-old castled India talisman, Kohli, with an unplayable delivery at the Chepauk and crushed India’s hopes of saving the first Test. I expect Stokes to make another significant contribution in the upcoming Test in Chennai.

Rishabh Pant

Rishabh Pant continued his rich vein of form in the recently-concluded Test match against England in Chennai. The 23-year-old was one of the standout performers for India in the first Test as he smashed 91 runs off just 88 balls in the first innings. Reeling at 73/4 on Day 3, Pant and Pujara were involved in an incredible 119-run stand for the fifth wicket to revive India’s first innings. Pant is clearly one of the most exciting talents in world cricket at the moment and he can be India’s match-winner for years to come. I am hoping he can continue his scintillating form in the second Test.

Jack Leach

I must first admit that I’m very impressed with the way left-arm spinner Jack Leach bowled in the first Test against the vaunted Indian batting line-up. I read that he is the only member of England’s attack to have featured in each of their record run of six consecutive wins in Asia, that is pretty commendable. During this incredible run, the 29-year-old has picked 34 wickets at an average of 27.08. Interestingly, while bowling in the third and fourth innings, Leach has scalped 36 Test wickets at an impressive average of 20.08. I’m expecting him to play a crucial role for England at Chepauk in the upcoming Test match.

Feature Image Courtesy: Patrick Hamilton / AFP

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