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The simmering row involving James Anderson and Ravindra Jadeja has added some spice to the series as India and England gear up for the second cricket Test at Lord's where a lively wicket is expected to welcome the two teams here tomorrow.
As if the 'lifeless' wicket at Nottingham was not enough, the alleged altercation between the two players has marred the start of the five-match series.
A date for hearing has not been finalised as yet which means Anderson is sure to play and the incident is bound to have a bearing when the two teams square up.
ICC has charged the home paceman Anderson for pushing and abusing Jadeja during the lunch break on the second day of first Test. If found guilty he could miss at least two and up to four Tests or up to 8 ODIs, something that the hosts will not desire under any circumstances.
The ECB has retaliated with a report against Jadeja as well. As much as the English team management will be lobbying hard for the leader of their attack, they will also be keeping an eye on the pitch for the game.
Two days ahead of the match, the centre-wicket at Lord’s bore a distinctive green tinge. Much of it is expected to disappear by time of the toss on the first morning. Even so, it is possible that the wicket will retain some juice in it, thanks to this delayed shaving.
It will be joyous news for the quicker bowlers on both sides then, a sort of reward for the hard work they put in during the Nottingham game.
At the same time, such a scenario will also be in keeping with how Tests at Lord’s have panned out in recent times. The average first-innings’ score at this ground historically is 315 runs, but from 2010 until 2014, it has gone up to 403. The fact that this is the only ground that hosts two Tests in an English summer helps of course.
And so, skipper Alastair Cook would be confused. At the one hand he will want a placid track to reverse his batting fortunes. From becoming his nation’s top century-getter in Test cricket to not scoring in three-figures for the last 25 innings, it has been a steep decline for him.
While he will want a little less hard work even against a mediocre Indian attack, at the other hand he will also desire more assistance