England have shaken off the underdog tag and are ready to overpower India, insists spinner Zafar Ansari

 
Ross McLean
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Ansari made his Test debut during England's defeat to Bangladesh in Dhaka (Source: Getty)

England spinner Zafar Ansari insists his side have shaken off the underdog tag as they plot their victory strategy for the second Test against India in Vizag, which starts on Thursday.

The tourists turned the screw on the final day of the first Test in Rajkot and reduced India, who are currently ranked No1 in the world rankings, to 172-6 in their second innings.

Skipper Alastair Cook was forced to defend his decision not to enforce an earlier declaration, although England’s showing was a far cry from the forecasts of some, including former captain Michael Vaughan, who predicted India would whitewash the visitors.

“The talk going into the series was of India dominating, and obviously it’s just one Test match, but I think we’ve put down a marker at least,” said Surrey’s Ansari.

“We went into the series feeling fairly confident, at ease with what was ahead of us. That’s continued, and I think the game in Rajkot just reiterated that. Four more Test matches are going to be hard work, but we just want to continue what we’ve started.

“The last game proved we have the skills to win games out here. I think as long as we keep it simple, we’ll be all right.”

It remains to be seen whether England opt to recall seamer James Anderson, the country’s leading all-time Test wicket-taker, or stick with the same XI on duty in Rajkot.

Anderson has recovered from the stress fracture to his right shoulder which sidelined him from England’s tour of Bangladesh and the opening showdown in India, although head coach Trevor Bayliss has hinted he may resist selecting the 34-year-old.

India, meanwhile, have added fit-again opener KL Rahul to their squad after he was initially omitted due to a hamstring injury. Rahul’s place in the opening red-ball tussle was taken by veteran batsman Gautam Gambhir.