The third Test between India and England is scheduled to be commencing at the humongous Sardar Patel Stadium in Ahmedabad from Wednesday. After two witnessing nerve-wrenching Test matches in Chennai, the action moves over to the all-new Motera Stadium. The Indian team, who churned out a brilliant performance in the second Test, will hope to get another win and inch closer to a place in the World Test Championship final.
With the likes of Jasprit Bumrah and Umesh Yadav expected to return to the playing XI, the Indians will fancy their chances. But there is more to this Test. The pink ball adds another element of twists to this game. With more experience of playing with the pink ball, the English will also be fancying their chances.
Although they would have to make do without Moeen Ali, England welcome back James Anderson and Jofra Archer into the playing XI. While home conditions will favor the hosts, the pink ball levels the playing field and evens out the odds, much to the English fans’ delight. Either way, we should be in for a cracking curtain-raiser at the Sardar Patel Stadium.
Here are the probable playing XIs for the pink-ball Test:
It’s going to be a conundrum for the Indian team management. With the pitch expected to get drier with each passing day, India would be tempted to stick to Kuldeep Yadav who has a very good record with the pink ball in first-class cricket. But fit-again Umesh Yadav, who’s replaced Shardul Thakur in the squad, can become a handy option on skiddy Indian pitches. Jasprit Bumrah was rested from the second Test but it will take a last-minute injury to keep him out of this one.
Probable XI: Rohit Sharma, Shubman Gill, Cheteshwar Pujara, Virat Kohli (c), Ajinkya Rahane, Rishabh Pant (wk), Ravichandran Ashwin, Axar Patel, Ishant Sharma, Umesh Yadav, Jasprit Bumrah
In the pre-match press conference, Joe Root didn’t reveal the combination but there could be up to as many as five changes. Dan Lawrence looks set to miss out, with Jonny Bairstow likely to come in at number three. Zak Crawley’s return to fitness could put Rory Burns’ position at risk. There could be a raft of changes in the bowling attack too. James Anderson and Jofra Archer are set to return while Chris Woakes or Dom Bess could play as well, depending on whether England opt to play two spinners.
Possible XI: Rory Burns/Zak Crawley, Dom Sibley, Jonny Bairstow, Joe Root (c), Ben Stokes, Ollie Pope, Ben Foakes (wk), Dom Bess/Chris Woakes, Jofra Archer, Jack Leach, James Anderson