Date: 24-28 February, 2021
Time: 2:30 PM IST
Venue: Sardar Patel Stadium, Ahmedabad
Live ball-by-ball commentary: SportsTiger App
After India bounced back in style against England in the second Test, the 4-match series is now levelled at 1-1. The action now shifts to Ahmedabad for the third Test where the hosts will lock horns against Joe Root’s side in the highly-anticipated Pink-ball contest at Motera, the largest stadium in the world. Notably, it will be the first international game to be played at the newly-constructed facility. With both the sides playing to keep their WTC finals’ hopes alive in front of an estimated crowd of 55,000 people under lights, the stage is perfectly set for a high-voltage five-day contest, starting from Wednesday.
India bounced back with a clinical performance in the second Test after a surprise defeat in the series opener. Rohit Sharma (161 off 231) and Ravichandran Ashwin (106 off 148) smashed brilliant centuries in the first and second innings respectively on a rank-turner at Chepauk. India’s captain Virat Kohli (62 off 149) and vice-captain Ajinkya Rahane (67 off 149) also made vital contributions as India’s star-studded batting line-up looked in top-form. In the bowling department, India spun a web around Joe Root’s side as Ravichandran Ashwin (8/96) and debutant Axar Patel (7/100) finished the contest with scintillating figures.
England, on the other hand, will have some major concerns ahead of the Pink-ball Test. After an outstanding show in the first Test, it was a completely dismal batting performance in the second Test. While India registered five 50+ scores in the match, none of the England batsmen could reach the 50-run mark. While Jack Leach was impressive with the ball, none of the other bowlers troubled the Indian batsmen as the visitors succumbed to a huge 317-run defeat. They would certainly be hoping for a better show in the day-night Test, where the conditions might be slightly favorable for the English side.
The four-match series is currently levelled at 1-1. The stakes are definitely high considering the World Test Championship scenario as well. India needs a draw/win in this contest to keep their WTC finals’ hopes alive. On the other hand, only a win for England can help them stay in the race of playing the finals at Lord’s. Anything but a win would eliminate the visitors from the championship so they might come into this contest under slightly more pressure.
The hosts might come up with a few changes in their bowling line-up for the Pink-ball Test. Kuldeep Yadav is expected to make way for Jasprit Bumrah, who was rested for the second Test. Meanwhile, there could be a toss-up between Mohammad Siraj and Umesh Yadav as the third pacer. Although Siraj performed fairly well in Chennai, India might opt for the experience of Umesh Yadav.
There could be a few key changes in the England side as well for the day-night Test at Motera. The fast-bowling duo of Jofra Archer and James Anderson are expected to return for the third Test whereas Moeen Ali has left for home. However, there could be an interesting choice for the third pacer as Stuart Broad, Chris Woakes, Olly Stone and Mark Wood will compete for the same. In the batting department, Jonny Bairstow might replace Dan Lawrence, whereas Zak Crawley could also come in place of Rory Burns.
Probable Playing XI
Shubman Gill, Rohit Sharma, Cheteshwar Pujara, Virat Kohli (c), Ajinkya Rahane, Rishabh Pant (wk), Ravichandran Ashwin, Axar Patel, Ishant Sharma, Jasprit Bumrah, Umesh Yadav
Dom Sibley, Zak Crawley, Jonny Bairstow, Joe Root (c), Ollie Pope, Ben Stokes, Ben Foakes (wk), Jack Leach, Jofra Archer, James Anderson, Stuart Broad
Wicketkeepers: Rishabh Pant, Ben Foakes, Jonny Bairstow
Batsmen: Virat Kohli, Joe Root, Rohit Sharma, Dom Sibley
All Rounders: Ravichandran Ashwin, Ben Stokes, Axar Patel
Bowlers: Jasprit Bumrah, Ishant Sharma, Jofra Archer, James Anderson
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