India v England: Tourists need correct mindset - Jonathan Agnew

Jonny Bairstow and Ben Stokes
England came from behind to win in India four years ago

England will know it was a first-innings batting calamity that set the wheels in motion for India's 246-run win in the second Test in Visakhapatnam.

To be 80-5 and give away a 200-run lead is a problem in any Test, let alone one where you know the pitch is going to get more difficult to bat on later in the match.

However, for as tricky as the surface became - and some deliveries did do a lot - there were too many dismissals in England's second innings in particular that were not down to the pitch.

The tourists were shown the way initially by Ben Stokes and Jonny Bairstow in the first innings, then by opening pair Alastair Cook and Haseeb Hameed in the second.

Yet, English collapses - Michael Vaughan has referred to a "little disease" when panic appears to set in - were common. Four wickets for 29 runs and then four wickets for 30 runs in the first innings, eight wickets for 68 runs on the final day.

It ultimately comes down to a batsman's state of mind. When you get a difficult delivery or the ball misbehaves, it can be very hard to put that out of your thoughts, but that is what the very best are able to do.

The ability to clear your mind and focus on the next delivery is a skill my Test Match Special colleague Geoffrey Boycott speaks of so often.

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India v England: Alastair Cook & Trevor Bayliss upbeat despite loss

So it seems that the next three Tests in this series will be about England's mindset. Can they play every ball on its merits? Can they keep their chins up if they lose the toss? Can they be positive without being reckless? Can they remember that they have played some good cricket? Do they believe that they can beat India?

The answers to those questions are not straightforward because India is such a difficult place to tour. We knew from the start that playing five matches here straight after two in Bangladesh was going to be difficult in terms of managing morale and keeping spirits high.

England do not have to look too far into the past for inspiration. They came from behind to win here four years ago.

Going further into the past, the 1984-85 tour led by David Gower that I was part of was a real success because the togetherness of the team helped us overcame everything that was thrown at us.

Indira Gandhi, the prime minister, was assassinated hours after the touring party arrived. The UK's deputy high commissioner Percy Norris later suffered the same fate, a day after hosting a reception for the England team.

England stayed out there despite fears the tour would be cancelled, then lost the first Test because of some questionable umpiring.

Yet, England came back to win that series 2-1 and that is the mindset that the class of 2016 have to adopt.

Mike Gatting in action in the first Test of 1984-85
As well as Mike Gatting (pictured) and David Gower, the 1984-85 tour squad included TMS's Jonathan Agnew and Vic Marks

If they can, India can be beaten because we have already seen that these are two evenly matched sides. The hosts' only advantage is they have greater experience playing in these conditions.

Off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin, the world's leading Test wicket-taker this year, does not look too frightening when conditions are not in his favour. The same can be said for his partner in crime Ravindra Jadeja. These are bowlers that can be handled.

India also have plenty of batsmen yet to register runs. Openers KL Rahul and Murali Vijay both need a score, as do Ajinkya Rahane and wicketkeeper Wriddhiman Saha.

Yes, Cheteshwar Pujara is in good form and captain Virat Kohli was in stellar touch in Visakhapatnam - he scored 248 runs and the winning margin was 246, so imagine the boon it would be for England if they can remove him cheaply.

Not that the tourists do not have personnel issues of their own. Ben Duckett, who has made only 18 runs in three innings, looks very unlikely to play in the third Test in Mohali.

England got into a muddle by not opening the batting with Hameed in Bangladesh and now both Gary Ballance and Duckett have failed at number four.

The next available option appears to be Jos Buttler, one of the most exciting limited-overs players in the world. Is he the answer in the top order of a Test line-up against the spinning ball? We just do not know.

Add to that the fact Buttler has played only one first-class match in the past year and there will be a lot of pressure on him if he is chosen to play in the next Test. Anyone saying with certainty that Buttler is the cavalry to solve England's problems is making a very big statement.

Spinner Zafar Ansari is another who looks set to miss out on playing in the third Test. He may well have been left out anyway in order for England to play a fourth pace bowler, but he had a poor time with both ball and bat in Visakhapatnam.

Those two aside, the other players that England have used in this series will all feel good.

Cook, Hameed, Joe Root, Moeen Ali, Stokes and Bairstow have all made runs. Adil Rashid is really looking the part as a Test spin bowler, James Anderson has made an excellent return from injury and Chris Woakes will be raring to go after being rested for the second Test.

The only question England will have is over the fitness of Stuart Broad, who returned his best bowling figures in India with a strained tendon in his foot.

India can be beaten and England certainly have the ability. Do they have the mentality?

Jonathan Agnew was speaking to BBC Sport's Stephan Shemilt.

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