Stuart Broad needs to rewind the clock and other things England need to focus on during Lord's Test

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Broad was off-colour for most part at Edgbaston.

England were put through the grind in the opening Test against India at Edgbaston but managed to overcome the visitors by 31 runs at the end of a see-saw battle.

With their tails up in the five-match series, Joe Root and his men will be in confident mood when they travel to Lord’s for the second Test.

Despite their thrilling win in Birmingham, England have areas of concern. Here, we look at the key areas they can improve upon.

FILL VOID LEFT BY STOKES’ ABSENCE

Ben Stokes was one of the protagonists of England’s win at Edgbaston, apart from man-of-the-match Sam Curran. The all-rounder’s bowling displays in both innings were pivotal in the hosts’ victory and it will be sorely missed at Lord’s due to his ongoing court-case over the Bristol night-club brawl.

England have recalled Chris Woakes to the line-up and he should fill the all-rounder’s spot. Woakes, though, will need to quickly find his rhythm after spending a lot of time on the sidelines of late due to injuries.

Woakes will have his task cut out in ensuring England do not miss Stokes.

Woakes will need to adequately fill Stokes' shoes at Lord's.

Woakes will need to adequately fill Stokes’ shoes at Lord’s.

STUART BROAD NEEDS TO STEP UP

James Anderson was as menacing as ever at Edgbaston while young Curran gave a terrific account of himself with the ball with his three-wicket burst in the first innings. However, Root and England must be disappointed by Stuart Broad’s contributions.

Broad went wicket-less in the first innings before snaring two in the second. For a man of his experience, his efforts left plenty to be desired. With Woakes returning from injury and Curran’s Test career just two matches old, Broad will need to get back to his best to ensure England do not slip up in the pace department.

Broad has always enjoyed bowling against India in English conditions and he will need to rewind the clock to compound India’s problems.

Broad needs to rediscover his old self.

Broad needs to rediscover his old self.

BATTING WOES

With batsmen from both sides found wanting in the first Test, there is plenty of concern when it comes to England’s batting.

The foremost being Alastair Cook’s form at the top. The senior batsmen fell cheaply to Ravi Ashwin in both innings in identical fashion to continue his poor Test form. Normally, a batsman in Cook’s current form would have been dropped but England have really struggled to replace Cook’s long-time opening partner Andrew Strauss and thus do not really have the luxury to question Cook’s spot. As the veteran opener showed through his century in the warm-up game for England Lions, he still has it. What he desperately needs is a big score to raise his morale and relieve some pressure off his current opening partner Keaton Jennings.

While Root’s struggles to convert his fifties into centuries continued at Edgbaston, the England skipper remains the most dependable batsman in the side along with Jonny Bairstow.

What will be a worry though, is Jos Buttler’s non-show in the first Test. The 27-year-old has enjoyed an outstanding summer so far but he could only muster one run in two innings at Birmingham. England will hope his Edgbaston effort was an aberration and not a sign of things to come in the remainder of the series.

Jos Buttler will need to chip in with some runs at Lord's.

Jos Buttler will need to chip in with some runs at Lord’s.

OPPORTUNITY FOR OLLIE POPE OR MOEEN ALI

Dawid Malan was, unsurprisingly, axed after the first Test after the Middlesex batsman’s struggles for runs continuing. That he dropped some vital catches in the slip cordon would not have helped his cause.

That has given an opportunity to young Ollie Pope. The Surrey youngster is being billed as the next big thing in English cricket and it will be interesting to see if Root does give him an England debut at Lord’s.

The England skipper though, could be tempted to go in with the experienced Moeen Ali instead. Moeen’s ability to bowl off-spin which troubled India greatly in their tour of 2014 could swing it in the all-rounder’s favour at Lord’s.

Ollie Pope could be in line for an England Test debut.

Ollie Pope will be eyeing an England Test debut.

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England all-rounder Ben Stokes faces trial, accused of affray

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Magnificent: Ben Stokes was the key man in the first Test against India.

England cricketer Ben Stokes will go on trial on Monday, accused of affray.

The 27-year-old all-rounder and two other men, Ryan Ali, 28, and Ryan Hale, 27, all deny the charge.

Stokes, Ali and Hale are jointly charged with affray in the Clifton Triangle area of Bristol on September 25 last year – several hours after England had played a one-day international against the West Indies in the city.

The charge states that their “conduct was such as would cause a person of reasonable firmness present at the scene to fear for his personal safety”, contrary to section 3(1) and (7) of the Public Order Act 1986.

A 27-year-old man allegedly suffered a fractured eye socket in the incident, at which fellow England cricketer Alex Hales was also present.

The trial before Judge Peter Blair QC, the Recorder of Bristol, is expected to last between five and seven days in courtroom one.

Stokes missed the Ashes after being suspended from playing for England. Without him, England lost the Ashes to Australia 4-0.

He has since played in the Test series against New Zealand, Pakistan and last week starring as England beat India at Edgbaston.

Stokes, of Stockton Road, Castle Eden, Durham; Ali, of Forest Road, Bristol; and Hale, of Burghill Road, Westbury-on-Trym, Bristol, are on bail.

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England coach Trevor Bayliss believes Sam Curran can again rise to the occasion in the absence of Ben Stokes in Lord's Test

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Sam Curran was in sensational form at Edgbaston

Rising star Sam Curran has put himself in the spotlight as one of England’s best hopes to make up for the absence of Ben Stokes in the Lord’s Test against India.

Coach Trevor Bayliss echoed England captain Joe Root’s glowing praise for 20-year-old all-rounder Curran, although he acknowledged Stokes will be missed when England try to consolidate the 1-0 lead they earned so brilliantly in a thrilling series opener at Edgbaston.

Both man of the match Curran, in only his second Test, and then Stokes – just two days before the court date in Bristol which will rule him out of Lord’s this week – played starring roles in the 31-run win.

After banking that success in England’s 1,000th Test, Bayliss called on those who will be at Lord’s to try to fill the shoes of premier all-rounder Stokes.

England named Curran’s uncapped Surrey team-mate Ollie Pope, also just 20, in place of dropped batsman Dawid Malan in their squad of 13 on Sunday, with Chris Woakes unsurprisingly the choice to replace Stokes.

They will understandably be hoping Curran can deliver again at Lord’s after his five-wicket match haul and maiden half-century.

Bayliss has great confidence already in the youngster, revealing the only issue so far with Curran – as with his brother Tom – is keeping him happy whenever someone else is batting or bowling.

“He wants to be in the fight – just like his brother,” said Bayliss.

“They want the ball – they want to do the batting.

“When they haven’t got the ball or bat in their hands, they’re a little bit (agitated).”

As for the enforced absence of Stokes, Bayliss said: “Obviously it’s something we would have liked to have not been happening.

“It will be interesting to see who can step up and take his place.

“Someone, or two or three guys, will have to step up and do the extra yards … take up the slack.

“That will be a telling factor for the next match.”

He does not expect Stokes’ absence, or the headlines it may create, to distract any of his colleagues.

“I’ve got no concerns about it – Ben has no concerns about it (either),” added Bayliss.

Trevor Bayliss has no concerns about the absence of Ben Stokes

Trevor Bayliss has no concerns about the absence of Ben Stokes


Asked too if India may prove reliant on their captain Virat Kohli throughout the series, the England coach agrees – but points out England too have a nucleus of proven batsmen, alongside others yet to truly establish themselves.

“We’ve got a few guys who are not necessarily cemented in the team – and that puts extra pressure on people like Root, (Jonny) Bairstow and those guys to make the big scores.

“I don’t think it’ll be any different for India.

“The way (Kohli) played (in the first Test) was high-class stuff.

“(But) if we can put pressure on the other batters in the team, that’s going to add to the pressure on him.

“When the ball’s moving, we’ve shown that a few of their guys do struggle against it.

“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 off-spin.”

Malan has paid for his poor form of late, and Bayliss admits the low-scoring nature of the titanic match in Birmingham has put batsmen under the microscope.

“I’d be lying if I said it wasn’t a concern … losing plenty of wickets in quick succession,” he added.

“(But) the four innings, there were wickets falling left, right and centre.

“All batters were in trouble – even Kohli, who I don’t think was all that comfortable early on.”

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