Batting coach Graham Thorpe admits England will need “something amazing” in their second innings after being steamrolled by India for just 134 in the second Test in Chennai.
The tourists registered their lowest-ever first-innings total in a Test in India and narrowly avoided the follow-on, with Ravichandran Ashwin returning figures of 5-43 to leave them facing an uphill battle to save the match on a deteriorating surface.
Former England left-hander Thorpe has urged the current team not to be too despondent when they go out to bat a second time, with India already 249 in front at the close of the second day.
“You’d say we need something very special to happen tomorrow for us and for somebody to do something amazing with that bat,” said Thorpe.
“We’re naturally disappointed with the deficit in the game after two days, but it’s important we don’t allow ourselves to get too down about it.
“The most important thing is our dressing-room doesn’t get too affected by today. We’ve got some players in our team touring this part of the world for the first time against a very strong Indian side.
“Just as last week when we won the first Test match and we had to work extremely hard for it, here we know we have to stand up and keep learning as well.
“The pitch has challenged us but we need to look forward and actually enjoy the challenge of the next innings and see how they can keep moving forward and develop their games.”
Only four batsmen reached double figures in England’s first innings, with Ben Foakes top-scoring on his return to the side as he finished unbeaten on 42.
Foakes shared a partnership of 35 with Ollie Pope (22) – but their Surrey team-mate, opener Rory Burns, posted his third duck in five innings as he was leg before to Ishant Sharma after just five deliveries.
“He’s obviously missed the Sri Lanka series, come here and worked hard and I’m sure Rory would love to have posted more runs on the board,” added Thorpe. “He’s a fighter and he’ll continue to do that.
“Sometimes when players don’t get the runs they want, they have to keep a nice clear mind and a positive approach to their play.
“I thought Ben Foakes played very well, but we’d lost early wickets and that really set us back. We didn’t get the partnerships going – the guys had plans, but they didn’t happen for us.
“There were some good deliveries in there, some unfortunate dismissals and some good catches as well. We knew we were going to have some tough days here and it’s incredibly challenging on that surface.
“Even in the first Test, we believed it was a good toss to win and this one was just as important. Pitches deteriorate as the game goes on and this one has gone a little bit quicker.”