Date: August 25-29, 2021
Time: 3:30 PM (IST)
Venue: Leeds, England
The England-India Test series will resume at Leeds with the third Test after a superb game of Test match cricket at Lord's where the Indians had the last laugh on an entertaining Day 5. While the Three Lions did eventually lose the Test by 151 runs, in hindsight they could look at lots of positives from the match. The hosts were, in fact, favourites to push for a win in the first hour on Day 5 but so emotionally charged was the match and so dramatic the turn of events, that they ended up trying to save the Test and lost all wickets in less than two sessions for just 120.
The big obstacle for England would be to find a way to get over this defeat. Joe Root said that they have faced this situation before and found a way back in the series. That is precisely what the team should be convinced of- that they can indeed make a turnaround after a heart-breaking defeat. It will be hard to stop India though who are not only 1-0 up but also believe that the first match at Trent Bridge was also theirs for the taking had rain not intervened. With such kind of confidence, India will again be a force to reckon with but England would give their all to try and challenge Kohli & Co.
Fasten your seat belts for another Test which promises to be a roller coaster of emotions, action and skills between two of the best teams in the world.
Head to Head:
England won: 48
India won: 30
England's Moeen Ali was effective with the ball and even helped them pull things back a little bit after the Indian openers had laid the foundation for a big score. Moeen should be able to retain his place in the team. Chris Woakes remains unfit and so Craig Overton might get a game in place of Sam Curran who hasn't quite done well in the series so far and even got out for a king pair in the Lord's test. Moreover, Mark Wood has been ruled out of the third Test and Dominic Sibley has been dropped. Dawid Malan has been recalled to the setup.
Can't foresee any changes to the Indian team given how everybody has chipped in. Indian all-rounder Shardul Thakur has regained fitness and fit and is available for selection. However, it would be difficult for him to replace Ishant Sharma who played his part in India's win. Unfortunately, there is no place for veteran spinner R Ashwin in the team either.
Players to watch out for:
Former India great Sunil Gavaskar feels a century is round the corner for Rohit Sharma. The Hitman has been in great form and even made a half-century in the first innings at Lord's, getting out in the 80s. Gavaskar is of the opinion that the way Rohit is playing, it is only a matter of time he can breach the triple-figure mark. The starts that India have been getting in these overseas conditions have been a key reason why India is looking particularly impressive especially because the middle order hasn't been in great form either.
It's been largely a one-man show for England with the bat. But more than the batter, all eyes will be on Joe Root the captain and the way he marshals his resources after a heart-breaking loss in the second Test. Root is also facing criticism for his questionable field settings to India's lower order batters Jasprit Bumrah and Mohammed Shami. The only way to silent his critics would be to come up with a better plan and lead his team to a victory.
Probable Playing XI:
England: Rory Burns, Haseeb Hameed, Joe Root (c), Jonny Bairstow, Dawid Malan, Jos Buttler (wk), Moeen Ali, Craig Overton, Ollie Robinson, Saqib Mahmood, James Anderson
India: Rohit Sharma, KL Rahul, Cheteshwar Pujara, Virat Kohli (c), Ajinkya Rahane, Rishabh Pant (wk), Ravindra Jadeja, Mohammed Shami, Ishant Sharma, Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Siraj