Date: February 24-28, 2021
Time: 2:30 PM IST
Venue: Sardar Patel Stadium, Ahmedabad
The ongoing Test series between India and England is evenly poised at 1-1 with the teams now turning to the pink-ball affair for the third Test at the refurbished Sardar Patel Stadium (previously known as Motera Stadium) in Ahmedabad. While a loss in the upcoming game will pour waters on India’s dream of playing the World Test Championship final, it will, on the other hand, keep England alive in the run for the finale seat at Lord’s or vice-versa.
India have played only just one Test with the SG pink ball so far and it is interesting to note that the pacers picked 27 of the 29 wickets in the game. Meanwhile, England, who have better experience of playing with the pink-ball, will be well prepared to land the first punch in order to dictate the game.
It is worth noting that the Three Lions last won a Test series on Indian soil way back in 2012. After this, it has always been the hosting team that has emerged as the winner in the Test series between the sides. Can India keep the custom intact or will England buck the trend? All questions will be answered with the start of the mega encounter on Wednesday. Don’t forget to tune in to SportsTiger to catch ball-by-ball live action!
The hosts have included senior bowler Umesh Yadav in their armoury. India’s pace attack, despite missing Mohammed Shami, seems settled now as the side already has Jasprit Bumrah and Ishant Sharma. The change in squad indicates that Kuldeep Yadav is more likely to warm the benches in the third Test for Umesh, while Bumrah will replace Mohammed Siraj.
Zak Crawley has declared himself fit but no official announcement from the England side has been done yet. In case, the batsman proves his match fitness, he may replace Daniel Lawrence. England must be facing some selection headache in the bowling department as James Anderson will be returning to the circuit.
Head to Head (Last 5 matches)
Players to watch out for:
The majestic match-winner is always pleasing to the eye; at least for an Indian fan. Pant’s game is evolving with each passing day as he continues to improve with every passing second. He is the second-best run-scorer for India in the ongoing Test.
After playing two matches in the ongoing series, Ashwin has taken 17 wickets with 9 of them coming in the first game. His heroics in the matches also include two fifers. Notably, the spin wizard has remained wicketless so far with the SG pink ball. It will be interesting to see how he tackles the adverse conditions in the third Test and what preparation he has done for this new challenge.
The legendary pacer is almost at the conclusion of his cricket career but he seems rather more threatening now. If words can’t back the belief then his heroics in the first Test where he had plucked Shubman Gill and Ajinkya Rahane in a span of just 4 balls could be a telling example of Anderson’s legacy. He will be a key player in the third Test.
Despite failing with the scores of 6 and 33 in the second game, Joe Root is still 92 runs clear of the second-highest scorer (Rohit Sharma) in the ongoing series. This depicts the dominance and form of Root’s batting masterclass. England rely heavily on their star skipper and his performance would play a big role in deciding the fate of the third Test.
Probable Playing XI
Rohit Sharma, Shubman Gill, Cheteshwar Pujara, Virat Kohli (c), Ajinkya Rahane, Rishabh Pant (wk), Ravichandran Ashwin, Axar Patel, Ishant Sharma, Mohammed Siraj/Umesh Yadav, Jasprit Bumrah.
Rory Burns, Dominic Sibley, Daniel Lawrence/ Zak Crawley, Joe Root (c), Ben Stokes, Ollie Pope, Jonny Bairstow (wk), Chris Woakes, Stuart Broad, Jack Leach, Olly Stone/ James Anderson