3 reasons why R Ashwin could replace Ravindra Jadeja at Headingley
Apart from his bowling, one of the key reasons why Ravindra Jadeja was included in the XI for the first two Tests was to strengthen the lower-order batting. Going into the Test series, not much was expected from Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Shami, Ishant Sharma and Mohammed Siraj with the bat.
India’s lower-order contributing with the bat
However, significant contributions from the tail have been a pleasantly surprising takeaway for India from the first two Tests. India were 232 for 8 in the first innings in Nottingham. The last two wickets added 46 to lift India to 278. Bumrah contributed 28 and Shami 13.
The duo outdid themselves at Lord’s. This time, Shami cracked a half-century, while Bumrah made a crucial 34 as they added an unbroken 89 for the ninth wicket. The stand proved to be a match-defining one as India’s bowlers rolled over England in under two sessions in their second innings.
In Nottingham, rain was expected to play a big part and it did as the last day was completely washed out and there were interruptions on other days as well. As such, pace was always going to be the defining factor.
Leeds surface likely to offer turn on last 2 days
In the second Test at Lord’s though, there was definitely spin on the last two days. As Moeen Ali got the ball to rip and picked up the wickets of Ajinkya Rahane and Ravindra Jadeja on the penultimate day of the Test, critics started to ponder whether India had erred by leaving out Ashwin. Of course, India’s pacers bowled so well on the final day, they didn’t need the services of their spinner.
Having said that, there would definitely have been help for Ashwin at Lord’s in the second innings had he played the Test. Like Lord’s, Leeds is also expected to offer turn on the last two days. So, Ashwin’s name should come into consideration. Whether he gets selected or not is another matter altogether.
Although the pacers are always expected to pick up the bulk of wickets in England, Jadeja’s performance has been disappointing even if we consider that yardstick. The left-arm spinner hasn’t looked threatening at all.
Jadeja has failed to deliver as the lead spinner
In the first Test in Nottingham, Jadeja had figures of 0/11 (3 overs) and 0/39 (13 overs). At Lord’s, he sent down 22 wicketless overs and gave away 43 runs in the first innings. The slow bowler was economical in the second essay, giving away only five runs in his six overs but the wickets column was again empty.
In fact, India played both Jadeja and Ashwin in the WTC final against New Zealand. There too, the former failed to make too much of an impression. He picked up one wicket in the Test from 15.2 overs. After three Tests on the current tour, Jadeja has one wicket at an average of 143. Clearly something that will need to be looked at.