Marnus Labuschagne stood unbeaten on 95 and David Warner fell just short of a century as Australia battled to 221-2 on the first day of the second Test in Adelaide.

Steve Smith captained Australia for the first time since the ball-tampering scandal in 2018, after new skipper Pat Cummins was forced to isolate following close contact with a COVID-19 case in a restaurant.

Smith opted to bat first on Thursday and lost opener Marcus Harris for three to Stuart Broad in the bowler's 150th Test, as Jos Buttler produced a fantastic diving catch down the leg side. Harris had earlier overturned an lbw decision.

Warner closed shop in response against Broad and James Anderson's early dominance with the pink ball, managing just one run from his opening 35 deliveries, with Labuschagne following in a similarly attritional fashion.

Labuschagne was relieved when he was dropped by Buttler on 21 off Stokes, and capitalised as he battled to his second fifty of the series in 156 deliveries, after Warner had brought up a 108-ball half-century – the pair sharing their sixth century stand in Tests.

Left-handed opener Warner then fell in the 90s for the second consecutive Test when Broad gratefully collected a catch at cover, with Stokes' aggressive short-pitched bowling finally paying off. Warner was dismissed for 95 and the partnership ended at 172.

Buttler shelled a regulation catch from Anderson in the final hour with Labuschagne on 95, before Australia's number three and stand-in captain Smith made it to stumps unbeaten after a testing period against the new ball under the lights.

Landmark Labuschagne delivers once more

Labuschagne crafted an excellent first-innings 74 at the Gabba and followed that up with more calculated brilliance against England's five-man seam attack on a flat Adelaide Oval pitch in almost perfect batting conditions.

The right-hander, who has faced 275 balls so far, also made it to 2,000 Test runs in his 34th innings, with only four players – Michael Hussey, Herbert Sutcliffe, George Headley and Don Bradman – requiring fewer outings to reach the landmark.

Spin it to win it?

The surface in Adelaide has already shown signs of turn and bounce, much to the frustration of England, who dropped Jack Leach as the tourists went without a spinner for the first time in an Ashes Test since Headingley in 2001.

That run dates back further to 1998 at the Melbourne Cricket Ground for the last time England played without a spinner Down Under, and captain Joe Root, tasked with operating as the frontline spinner, struggled as he recorded figures of 0-37 from his 11 overs.

James Anderson and Stuart Broad have been included in England's 12-man squad for the second Ashes Test in Adelaide.

The pair's omission for the opening match raised eyebrows and came under further scrutiny after the tourists slumped to a nine-wicket loss as Australia seized the upper hand in Brisbane.

But both are in contention as England seek to level the series in the first of two day-night Tests, with the final selection to be confirmed at the toss on Thursday.

Anderson is his country's leading wicket-taker in Tests with 632, while Broad – who is one shy of 150 Test caps – has 524.

Spinner Jack Leach, who endured a torrid outing as he gave up 102 runs in 13 overs at the Gabba, retains his place in the squad, while seamer Mark Wood has been rested.

Any lingering fears over the fitness of Ben Stokes, who jarred his knee in the field during the opening Test, appear to have been put to rest with his inclusion.

Joe Root's side face a tough task, with Australia boasting a 100 per cent record in day-night Tests.

England squad: Joe Root, James Anderson, Stuart Broad, Rory Burns, Jos Buttler, Haseeb Hameed, Jack Leach, Dawid Malan, Ollie Pope, Ollie Robinson, Ben Stokes, Chris Woakes.

Australia have a 100 per cent record in day-night Tests and another victory at Adelaide Oval will leave England's hopes of regaining the Ashes hanging by a thread.

The tourists made a nightmare start to the series at the Gabba, slumping to a nine-wicket defeat after Joe Root had won the toss and opted to bat first on a green pitch under cloudy skies.

England were rolled over for only 147 on day one in Brisbane after Rory Burns lost his off stump to the first ball of the match from Mitchell Starc.

Captain Root (89) and Dawid Malan (82) showed some resistance in the second innings after Travis Head had made the third-fastest Ashes century, but another collapse left Australia with the straightforward task of chasing 20 to go 1-0 up.

Pat Cummins could not have wished for a much better start to his reign as Test skipper, taking 5-38 on the opening day as England crumbled meekly.

The Australia attack will be licking their lips at the prospect of doing more damage with the pink ball in Adelaide, where they will be hunting what would be a sixth win in seven matches in the longest format in Adelaide.

No side has a better record than Australia's eight out of eight in day-night Tests, while England have lost three day-nighters out of four and their only victory was against West Indies in 2017.

Stats Perform looks at some of the selection issues both sides will be weighing up and picks out where the second Test, which starts on Thursday, could be won and lost.

Anderson and Broad to shine under the lights?

Eyebrows were raised in the Australia camp and far beyond when both James Anderson and Stuart Broad were left out for the first Test.

With 1,156 Test wickets between them, the pace-bowling stalwarts would have been rubbing their hands together at the prospect of racing in at the start of the series but watched on as Australia's bowlers had a field day.

Broad should be back in for his 150th Test and Anderson will surely return under the lights.

The selectors face a tough call when deciding who to leave out as Ollie Robinson, Mark Wood and Chris Woakes came out the first Test with credit, while spinner Jack Leach endured a chastening start to the series.

 

Hazlewood injury forces Australia into at least one change

Australia will be without Josh Hazlewood after he suffered a side strain in Brisbane and Jhye Richardson is the favourite to replace him.

Hazlewood took 5-8 when Australia bowled India out for an embarrassing 36 last December, but either Richardson or Michael Neser will get a chance to exploit England's vulnerability with the bat.

Richardson has taken 23 wickets in four Sheffield Shield matches this season at an average of 13.43 and looks primed to make his Ashes bow in what would be his third Test.

Australia are hopeful David Warner is fit to open after he took a couple of blows to the ribs in the opening Test.

Ricky Ponting predicted England's Ashes situation could look extremely bleak if they do not bounce back in the second Test in Adelaide.

Australia cruised to a thumping nine-wicket victory at The Gabba on Saturday, as England's good work on day three was totally undone.

Nathan Lyon led the way for Australia in the morning session, taking four wickets and bringing up his 400th in Test cricket. England managed just 77 runs as they surrendered their last eight wickets, taking them to a total of 297, having begun day four on 220-2.

Australia were set 20 runs for victory and easily reached the total following lunch, despite the loss of Alex Carey.

Mitchell Starc's dismissal of Rory Burns with the very first ball in Brisbane rather set the tone for a Test in which England were always behind the eight-ball, and former Australia skipper Ponting believes there could be a similar outcome to the hosts' 5-0 triumph in the 2006-07 series.

 

Having ended Australia's eight-series winning streak with victory in 2005, England went Down Under with a point to prove 18 months later, but Ponting's side cruised to a series whitewash.

Indeed, England have not won a Test in Australia since they triumphed 3-1 in the 2010-11 series, suffering 5-0 and 4-0 defeats in their subsequent trips.

After the day-night Test in Adelaide, the series goes to Melbourne, Sydney and then finishes in Hobart, which has replaced Perth as the final venue.

"The conditions are only going to get better for Australia," former Test captain Ponting told cricket.com.au.

"Those conditions [in Brisbane] were very English-like. There was more pace and bounce but as far as their bowling is concerned, they're probably not going to get that much movement anywhere else for the entire series.

"We saw them bowl really well on the last tour in Adelaide under lights where everything just fell perfectly into place – Australia had to bat for a session, the lights were on, brand-new ball, clear night.

"We've also been to Adelaide at other times when the pink ball has done nothing, whether it's a new ball or not. If they don't win in Adelaide then there could be shades of '06-07."

Though Ollie Robinson and Mark Wood bowled well in Brisbane, eyebrows were raised by England's decision to leave out both Stuart Broad and James Anderson.

Such surprise was a sentiment shared by Ponting.

"I can't see why they would have left them [Broad and Anderson] out if they weren't just getting them prepped and ready for Adelaide," said Ponting.

"I'm still staggered to this point now. If Stuart Broad and James Anderson are not better bowlers in Australia than Chris Woakes, then I'm not here. One of those two had to play.

"It might be that they're only going to play one of Broad or Anderson in Adelaide. A lot of it might just depend on how [Ben] Stokes pulls up between now and the start of the Adelaide game."

Mitchell Starc was surprised to see both James Anderson and Stuart Broad left out as England were skittled for 147 on the opening day of the Ashes.

Starc, whose selection for Australia came under some scrutiny, dismissed Rory Burns with the very first ball of the series at the Gabba on Wednesday, setting the tone for a dismal day for the tourists.

New captain Pat Cummins took 5-38 as Australia dominated, with bad light and rain preventing the hosts from starting their chase after tea.

On a green pitch in overcast conditions, Australia's bowling attack thrived, and it seemed the ideal situation in which Broad and Anderson, who have played 315 Tests between them, would have been at their best.

However, neither bowler was selected in the team for the first Test, so the tourists went into the match without pace bowlers who have collected a combined 1,156 Test wickets.

"I'm not sure if you told anyone a couple of days ago that was going to happen that they would have believed you," Starc, who finished with figures of 2-35, told reporters.

"To take 300 Test matches and 1,000 wickets out of their side is pretty interesting.

"I'm glad I don't have to pick any sides, let alone that one, or tap those two on the shoulder and let them know they're not playing."

Starc's comments might have rubbed salt into Joe Root's wounds - the England captain having elected to bat after winning the toss.

Ollie Pope was one of just two batsmen to make it above 30, along with Jos Buttler, and while conceding the odds are already stacked against England, he believes all is not lost.

"It was a disappointing start especially, so there was frustration that we haven't been able to put on the big score we wanted," Pope told a news conference.

"The pitch did offer a fair bit early, especially off the seam so we are frustrated as a unit. It's a long tour, a long series and we're going to keep the spirits high and come out fighting tomorrow.

"Looking at the wicket, it did offer today and wasn't the easiest to score on. You don't know with wickets until both teams have batted on them. I think this pitch gets quicker and keeps carrying.

"It was quite tacky so it made some dents in the middle of the wicket. It'll be interesting if that opens up. We've definitely got the skill set in our bowlers to drag it back and go big second dig."

England left Stuart Broad out of their team for the first Ashes Test in Brisbane on Wednesday after already revealing James Anderson would miss the match.

It meant the tourists went into the series opener without pace bowlers who have collected a combined 1,156 Test wickets, and it amounted to a gamble.

The 35-year-old Broad has 524 of those wickets to his name, yet in Ashes Tests in Australia he has only taken 34 victims in 12 matches at an average of 37.17, strikingly different to his rate of 84 at 26.19 in home Tests against the same opposition.

England captain Joe Root won the toss and elected to bat, with Chris Woakes, Ollie Robinson and Mark Wood chosen as frontline pace options, with Ben Stokes also sure to figure in that equation, backed up by spinner Jack Leach.

Root said: "We're blessed with a very good seam attack and a very good squad out here in that department in particular, and it was a very difficult decision to make.

"But there's five Test matches and all those guys I'm sure will be wanting to play a big part throughout this series, and it's important they're all ready to go when called upon at any time."

New Australia captain Pat Cummins said he was relishing the tussle, saying on BT Sport: "I feel great. Can't wait. The buzz has been amazing around town."

He added: "I thought maybe Broad or Anderson would play each Test, but it's not a huge deal. They're a good XI and we're going to have to play well."

Australia gave a Test debut to Alex Carey, with the wicketkeeper stepping in for Tim Paine, the former skipper who is taking time out of cricket after the lewd text message scandal that ended his time in charge of the team.

Ben Stokes was not included in the England squad for the Ashes tour of Australia.

The all-rounder was expected to be left out of the 17-man group after having a second operation on his broken index finger.

Stokes, who sustained the injury while playing in the Indian Premier League in April, announced in July he was taking a break from cricket to protect his mental wellbeing and allow his finger to recover.

Sam Curran, who was diagnosed with a stress fracture to his lower back in the past week, was also omitted from head coach Chris Silverwood's squad for the five-match series in Australia, which starts on December 8 in Brisbane.

Fast bowlers Jofra Archer and Olly Stone remain absent as they recover from injuries, but Stuart Broad is selected after suffering a torn calf muscle during England's home Test series with India in July.

Joe Root will be captain and Jos Buttler vice-captain of a side consisting entirely of players previously capped at Test level.

 

The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) only confirmed on Friday that the tour would be going ahead amid possible concerns around coronavirus restrictions in Australia.

While "several critical conditions" must still be met for the Ashes to proceed, the ECB said "positive discussions" were ongoing and that "it is hoped matters will be resolved in due course".

Silverwood said he was "delighted that all of our available players have committed to the tour" despite the likes of Root and Buttler previously expressing doubts.

"A tour of Australia is the pinnacle as an England Test cricketer," he said.

"This is why we play and coach to be involved in iconic series like this. More than half of our squad haven't featured in an Ashes tour before, which means we will be fresh and looking to embrace the cricket and the excitement of touring one of the best places in the world.

"I believe we have selected a well-balanced squad with options in all areas and a blend of youth and experience. There is real competition for places and a genuine desire to work hard and compete, aiming to create some history."

England are looking to regain the urn after it was retained by Australia following a 2-2 series draw in 2019.

England squad for the Ashes:

Joe Root (captain), James Anderson, Jonny Bairstow, Dom Bess, Stuart Broad, Rory Burns, Jos Buttler (wicketkeeper), Zak Crawley, Haseeb Hameed, Dan Lawrence, Jack Leach, Dawid Malan, Craig Overton, Ollie Pope, Ollie Robinson, Chris Woakes, Mark Wood.

Jonny Bairstow says England can contend without Stuart Broad and James Anderson when India go in search of a rare Test win at Lord's.

Broad has been ruled out of the remainder of the five-match series after suffering a torn calf in training on Tuesday, while Anderson is expected to miss out with a quad injury.

Saqib Mahmood was called up to the squad on Wednesday and could make his debut in the absence of England's vastly experienced seam duo, with Moeen Ali poised to return in the longest format.

Bairstow cited the ODI series against Pakistan, which England won despite having to name a totally new squad at the eleventh hour following a coronavirus outbreak, as an example that other players can step in and take their chance.

“It would be a big loss [if both Anderson and Broad miss out], naturally, because they've got over a thousand Test wickets between them," said Bairstow.

"I don’t think it's too much of a destabiliser to be honest. I think with the nature of professional sport there is going to be injuries at times, there is going to be illness, it can happen overnight and you've got to be adaptable within the group.

"It's potentially a loss but with that comes an opportunity for other people. When we've seen that previously in the summer, in the Pakistan series, there were opportunities that arose for other people coming in and they rose to those challenges."

India also suffered an injury blow, with seamer Shardul Thakur missing due to a hamstring problem.

Ravichandran Ashwin could come into the team as a second spinner, while Ishant Sharma and Umesh Yadav are pushing for recalls.

The first Test ended in a draw after the final day was washed out at Trent Bridge, with the tourists chasing 209 to win. Both sides were docked two points in the ICC World Test Championship points for slow-over rates in Nottingham.

 

 

ROOT BACK ABOVE KOHLI BUT IN NEED OF SUPPORT

Joe Root's exploits in the opening Test moved him above India captain Virat Kohli into fourth in the ICC Test Batting Rankings.

Root came to the rescue with a masterful 109 in the second innings after the England skipper top scored with 64 in his side's 183 all out in the first innings.

England's top three of Rory Burns, Dom Sibley and Zak Crawley are under pressure, with Haseeb Hameed waiting for his chance to step in.

 

KOHLI: MOEEN A DANGER MAN

All-rounder Moeen is poised to switch from The Hundred to the Test arena after he was called up this week.

Moeen claimed match figures of 8-226 when he returned to the Test stage against India in Chennai six months ago and Kohli is well aware of his quality.

Kohli said: "We are wary of his skills. He's obviously a very talented cricketer, brings consistency with the ball and as a middle-order or lower-order batsman. Especially in Test cricket, he can change the momentum of the game with the bat. 

"He's in great form right now, he's batting really well and with the ball he is always someone that the team has banked on, so we will have to be at our best going up against Moeen."

KEY OPTA FACTS

- England have lost just two of their 18 Tests against India at Lord's, winning 12 and drawing two. The last India win at the famous venue came in 2014. 
- England have failed to register a win in their past six Test matches (D2, L4), their longest winless run since 2017-2018, when they failed to register a win in eight matches (D2 L6).
- Root (8,887) is 14 away from becoming the second-highest run-scorer for England in Test history (Graham Gooch – 8,900). Root is the only player to score over 1,000 runs since the beginning of 2021 in the longest format.
- Ravichandran Ashwin (413) is five away from becoming the third-highest Test wicket-taker for India, with Harbhajan Singh on 417.

England seamer Stuart Broad will miss the remainder of the Test series against India after tearing his right calf.

Broad suffered the injury during the warm-up in training on Tuesday and will play no further part in the five-match series.

England called up Saqib Mahmood as cover on Wednesday, with James Anderson also set to miss the second Test at Lord's this week after struggling with a tight thigh.

An England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) statement read: "England seamer Stuart Broad has sustained a tear to his right calf and has been ruled out of the Test series against India.

"He underwent an MRI scan in London on Wednesday lunchtime, which revealed a tear."

Mahmood could be set to make his Test debut on Thursday in the absence of England's vastly experienced new-ball pairing of Broad and Anderson.

Pace duo Mark Wood and Craig Overton are also pushing for recalls, while off-spinning all-rounder Moeen Ali was added to the squad this week following a first Test that ended in a draw at Trent Bridge.

Saqib Mahmood has been called up to the England squad for the second Test against India at Lord's, with James Anderson an injury doubt.

Mahmood was added to the squad as cover before it was reported by The Sun that his Lancashire team-mate Anderson did not bowl in training on Wednesday due to stiffness in his thigh.

Follow veteran Stuart Broad has also been sidelined due to a tweaked right calf ahead of the second of five Tests versus Virat Kohli's side, which starts on Thursday.

Joe Root is also unable to call upon Ben Stokes, who took a break for mental health reasons, Jofra Archer (elbow), Chris Woakes (heel) and Olly Stone (stress fracture of the back).

Paceman Mahmood has not played for England in the longest format, but the 24-year-old seamer has made an impressive start to his white-ball career at international level.

He has 14 wickets in seven ODIs at an average of 19.92 and was named player of the series in the recent 3-0 win over Pakistan.

 

England also called up all-rounder Moeen Ali on Tuesday, while batsman Ollie Pope could return after recovering from a quad injury.

Meanwhile, both England and India have been docked two points in the ICC World Test Championship and fined 40 per cent of their match fees due to slow over-rates in the drawn first Test at Trent Bridge.

Stuart Broad will be England's vice-captain for the Test series against New Zealand.

Joe Root confirmed on the eve of England's first game of the summer at Lord's that paceman Broad will be his deputy.

Broad steps in with Ben Stokes still recovering from a fractured finger and Jos Buttler rested after completing a quarantine period following the cancellation of the Indian Premier League.

England face the Black Caps at Edgbaston after starting the two-match series at Lord's this week.

Broad revealed he considered retiring after he was left "frustrated, angry and gutted" over his omission from the side for the first Test against West Indies in July before responding with some outstanding performances.

James Anderson will match Alastair Cook's record of 161 Test appearances if he is named in the team to face on Kane Williamson's side in London on Wednesday.

England captain Joe Root feels fortunate to have a "battery of fast bowlers" and says both James Anderson and Stuart Broad could play in the third Test against India.

The tourists have adopted a rotation policy in Sri Lanka and India at the start of a year in which they face such a hectic schedule.

Anderson was outstanding in England's victory in the first Test at M.A. Chidambaram Stadium, but missed out as Broad came into the side for a second match at the same venue in Chennai that was comprehensively won by India.

England's leading Test wicket-taker Anderson is expected to return along with Jofra Archer for the day-night Test at Motera Stadium, which starts on Wednesday, while Broad will be hoping to retain his place.

Chris Woakes and Mark Wood are also in contention to charge in with the pink ball in Ahmedabad, where England need a win to keep alive their hopes of playing New Zealand in the ICC World Test Championship final.

Root refused to be drawn on the make-up of the side and did not rule out unleashing Anderson and Broad for the first time this winter, with England mulling over whether to go with an extra seamer and just one spinner.

Asked if Anderson and Broad may have played in the same team for the last time, Root said: "I think you'd be wrong to ever write off those two to do anything.

"The records they've had, the things they have produced - especially in the last couple of years - there's a reason they are up there with the top three bowlers in the world.

"They are consistently getting better the older they get, they are using their experience to their advantage all of the time and I'm sure there will be opportunities where they get to play together in the near future and much further down the line as well.

"You are talking about two of England's greatest bowlers and the records they set will be difficult for anyone to pass. I feel like there is a lot of life left in them both and you add in guys like Jofra, Woody, Woakes, all of these skilful bowlers around them, we are building a very good team, that they are very much at the front of."

Root added: "They [Anderson and Broad] have got a chance, it's a great selection headache to have all these bowlers putting in performances and giving us real variety so we feel we can pick a team that best suits the conditions and the best make-up we think is going to balance things very well."

Archer was not risked for the second Test due to a shoulder problem but Root says the paceman is fully fit and raring to go.

"He's a world-class performer, he's got all of the skills. He can bowl high pace, swing it both ways and obviously can make it talk off the seam," said the skipper.

"Along with the rest of the guys in contention, it's a very exciting place to be. To have a battery of fast bowlers to choose from is where we want to be and keep improving moving forward."

The fit-again Zak Crawley and Jonny Bairstow will also be hoping to get the nod.

Joe Root urged Dom Bess to find consistency after he was left out of the England squad for the second Test against India.

The tourists have opted for a new-look bowling attack in the second meeting at the M.A. Chidambaram Stadium in Chennai, despite winning the opening match of the series by 227 runs at the same venue.

Bess drops out of the reckoning, with James Anderson and the injured Jofra Archer also missing out, paving the way for Stuart Broad to come back in and Moeen Ali to return.

Having taken five wickets in the four-match series opener and scored 59 runs with the bat, Bess was offered some words of advice by captain Root.

"It wasn't an easy decision; Dom's contributed fantastically well in these three games and has made a real impact," Root said.

"With him missing out, the message for him is to keep working at that consistency of his game, delivering that skill time and time again. We talk about building pressure over long periods of time and I think, as well as he has done, that is one area that he can improve on.

"But he is very young, very much at the start of things and this doesn't mean that he is going to be pushed back down the pecking order.

"It gives him an opportunity to step out of Test cricket, the harshest of environments, especially in these conditions against a team that plays spin so well, to take stock and work at his game.

"It gives Moeen a chance to come back into things, with all his experience. He's someone who is bowling very well in practice.

"It was a very difficult decision to make, I'm sure Bessy will be frustrated about it but that's good as well. You want that competition for places, you want guys to be playing all the time and be amongst it all

"That's certainly how he goes about his cricket. He's a wholehearted player and I expect a response from him."

Root is certainly well placed to talk about consistency, having once again underlined his brilliance last time out when he clocked up a first-innings double century in his 100th Test appearance to continue riding the wave of his fine showing against Sri Lanka.

The 30-year-old has piled on 684 runs in his previous three matches, which equates to 39 per cent of his side's total runs in Test cricket in 2021. 

Fans hoping to see the Yorkshireman showcasing his skills in the Indian Premier League will once again be disappointed this year, but Root does want to get involved in the future.

"It was a very difficult decision," he said regarding his decision not to register. 

"At some point in my career I'm desperate to try and be part of an IPL season and hopefully a few more beyond that as well.

"It's something I'd love to experience and love to be a part of, but with the amount of cricket – and Test cricket in particular – this year, I didn’t feel like it was the right time.

"I didn’t feel like I could throw all my energy into it, which I think it deserves. And I don’t think it would set English cricket up best with what's to come.

"It's a very difficult decision and hopefully next year there's an opportunity to be a part of the IPL."

The atmosphere at games is one of the IPL's most appealing qualities and the famously vociferous India fans will have a chance to make themselves heard in the second Test, with 15,000 allowed in.

Asked if he thinks it will change the dynamic of the contest, Root said: "Yes, I do. I think it will improve it massively

"I think having an atmosphere within a stadium is a massive part of international cricket.

"What makes it special, in many ways, is that interaction between the fans and the players. It makes those big moments, that noise and the build-up… it adds to it all

"Obviously, we know how passionate India is about cricket. It's a big part of life in many ways here and we're all excited about that.

"We want to be playing on the biggest stage in front of people. We're looking forward to that atmosphere and it's going to add to what has already started off as a brilliant series for us."

England will have a new-look bowling attack on duty for the second Test as they go up against an India side determined to bounce back in the series.

James Anderson, Jofra Archer and Dom Bess were all part of the XI that helped England become the first visiting nation to win a Test at the M.A. Chidambaram Stadium in Chennai since Pakistan in 1999, ending an eight-game unbeaten streak for the hosts.

However, none of the trio will be involved when the two teams face each other again at the same venue.

While Archer is ruled out with an elbow injury, Anderson has been rested and Bess left out of a 12-man squad. Stuart Broad seems certain to play, with the other seam-bowling spot between Chris Woakes and Olly Stone. Moeen Ali will be the second spinner; the all-rounder has not featured in Test cricket since August 2019.

Captain Joe Root admitted it was not an easy decision to give Anderson a break considering how well he performed in the opener, but England had to look at the bigger picture during such a busy year.

"Everyone's heart was in favour of him being available for this game but also you have to look at the bigger picture and ideally if he is available for two of the last three, that is a huge asset for us with the way he is bowling and his reputation, as well as his numbers and the way he has performed in recent games," Root told the media.

India, meanwhile, head into this match under pressure; they have only ever lost the first two games of a home Test series against England once previously, when they went on to suffer a 3-1 defeat in 1976-77.

Virat Kohli pointed to a failure by the bowling unit to keep England's scoring rate in check in the aftermath of the opening defeat, with slow-bowling duo Washington Sundar and Shahbaz Nadeem struggling to provide support for pacemen Jasprit Bumrah and Ishant Sharma, as well as frontline spinner Ravichandran Ashwin.

Axar Patel missed that match due to a knee injury but came through a fitness test on Thursday. Kuldeep Yadav could also get an opportunity on a pitch that, according to Ajinkya Rahane, will spin from the outset.

"I am sure it will turn from day one," Rahane said on the eve of the game. "We will have to wait and see how it behaves in the first session and take it from there."

In a boost for India, there will be fans present for the second of four matches in the series. The ground is allowed to be 50 per cent full, though there will be social distancing measures in place amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.


Captain Kohli in the spotlight

India have now lost four Tests in a row under Kohli, who departed the tour of Australia after his side had been shot out for 36 to lose the series opener in Adelaide. He returned home for the birth of his first child, with stand-in Rahane then leading the side to a 2-1 triumph.

Kohli made scores of 11 and 72 upon his return to the XI, but those numbers were not enough to stop him slipping to fifth in the International Cricket Council's Test rankings for batsmen.

Root keeps on digging in

Root underpinned England's triumph last time out with a double hundred in a mammoth first innings of 578, in the process continuing his stunning run of form following on from a hugely successful tour to Sri Lanka.

The right-handed batsman has managed 684 runs in his previous three matches, which equates to 39 per cent of his side's total runs in Test cricket in 2021. There have been useful contributions from his top-order colleagues so far overseas, but no other batsman has reached three figures in an innings during the calendar year.

Key match facts

- England have only managed to register one Test series win in India since their 2-1 tour win in 1984-85 - their successful tour in 2012 being the solitary triumph during that period (D1 L4).
- India still lead the head-to-head record with England in Tests played at M.A. Chidambaram Stadium, winning five compared to the visitors' tally of four after the series opener (D1).
- England have managed to record six overseas Test wins in succession ahead of this match – victory in this game will equal their longest ever run in the format (seven in a row between 1911 and 1914).
- Rishabh Pant has a batting strike rate of 70.6 in Test cricket, only two men (with a minimum of 600 runs scored) have higher rates for India (Virender Sehwag at 82, plus Kapil Dev at 81)
- Broad (517) is three scalps away from going into sixth place on the all-time leading Test wicket-takers list, jumping above Courtney Walsh (519); the Englishman has picked up 41 wickets at an average of 14.5 since the start of 2020.

England have replaced Stuart Broad with James Anderson as they aim to clinch a fourth successive series victory in the second Test against Sri Lanka.

A seven-wicket win in Galle gave the tourists a 1-0 lead in the rearranged series, following on from an overseas triumph in South Africa a year ago, plus successes against West Indies and Pakistan on home soil.

Joe Root led from the front with a double-century last time out and, with the recalled Jonny Bairstow and debutant Dan Lawrence also contributing runs, the tourists have gone with the same batting line-up.

Anderson comes into the side as England make just the one change, with Broad given a rest, as Mark Wood retains his place and Olly Stone misses out along with Chris Woakes. 

As for Sri Lanka, they will once again be without Test captain Dimuth Karunaratne as he continues to recover from a fractured thumb.

Kusal Mendis has been dropped after a poor run of form with the bat – he has managed just 27 runs in his last six Test innings – while seam duo Lahiru Kumara and Nuwan Pradeep, as well as wicketkeeper-batsman Minod Bhanuka, have been allowed to depart the bio-secure bubble.

The home side will be aiming to prevent their opponents from winning a fifth successive Test overseas, a feat England have not achieved since a run of seven in a row between 1911 and 1914.

Sri Lanka fought back well after being dismissed for only 135 in their first innings of the opening Test and captain Root knows England cannot expect to have things all their own way as they eye another triumph on tour.

He said: "They are a proud team and they have a great record at this ground. Not only that, they have some very talented players.

"We already saw that throughout the game with how it unfolded in the second innings. The way that they played with the bat in the second innings was very different to the first and showed that in those conditions, they are a very hard side to break down.

"We know that this isn't going to be an easy game for us."


LEACH IN SIGHT OF RECORD

Jack Leach was understandably a little rusty in the previous game, having only played in two first-class fixtures throughout 2020. However, the left-arm spinner improved as he clocked up the overs, claiming 5-122 in the second innings to leave England needing just 74 for victory.

His six in the match lifted his career Test tally in Sri Lanka to 24, just one behind Ashley Giles who sits top of the all-time list for England. Considering it is expected to be another spin-friendly surface in Galle, Leach will fancy his chances of taking top spot before the short tour concludes.

SRI LANKA AIM TO STOP THE ROT

Despite showing some defiance with both bat and ball in the opening Test, Sri Lanka have now lost three in a row. They have not suffered a longer losing run since a four-game span between December 2015 and May 2016.

Their first-innings total of 135 left them with too much ground to make up second time around, so the continued absence of opener Karunaratne is a blow.

KEY MATCH FACTS

- England will be looking to record a third successive Test series win against Sri Lanka for the first time.
- England have lost only one of their Tests since the start of 2020 (W7, D2) and are undefeated in their last six of that stretch (W4, D2) – the last time they went on a longer unbeaten run was a 13-Test span (W7, D6) from November 2012 to August 2013.
- Joe Root made 228 last time out, his maiden Test double-century in Asia. That innings included 74 runs from conventional sweep shots, almost twice the number of his previous high in a Test match (41 at Pallekele versus Sri Lanka in November 2018).
- Lahiru Thirimanne has scored 50 or more in two of his past three Test innings at Galle, after doing so only once in his previous 12 knocks at the venue.
- Jos Buttler held on to all five catching opportunities in the series opener; only once before in his Test career has he managed to claim more catches without dropping one (July 2014 v India – 6/6).

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