After an emotionally charged Lord's Test, England and India will resume the Test series at Leeds. While there were plenty of ups and downs, eventually it was the Indians who had the last laugh at London when they defeated England by 151 runs. In hindsight, the Three Lions too would be looking at plenty of positives from the second Test match despite going 0-1 down in the five-match series. England seemed favourites to win the second Test in the first hour on Day 5 having dismissed overnight batter Rishabh Pant and Ishant Sharma early.
However, in a dramatic turn of events, Mohammed Shami and Jasprit Bumrah brought India back into the game with a partnership to remember for the ages. Later, the team's pace attack led by Mohammed Siraj bowled out the home team in less than two sessions for 120 to enforce a win. While the aftertaste of that memorable win is still fresh in the minds of cricket lovers, the team would look to move on and start afresh.
Here is India's probable Playing XI for the third Test:
Top-order: Rohit Sharma, KL Rahul, Cheteshwar Pujara
One can say that a major difference between both the teams in the series has been their opening stand. While Rohit Sharma and KL Rahul have looked to apply themselves and have given India solid starts, the England openers haven't done well. Rahul scored a hundred at Lord's while the Hitman too registered his highest score in overseas conditions getting out in the 80s. Both will look to continue their good run of form here. Coming to Cheteshwar Pujara, questions were raised over his place in the team after his failure in 1st innings. But his 206-ball 46 helped the team rise from a spot of bother in the second innings which should be good enough to at least guarantee a place in the third Test.
Middle Order: Virat Kohli (c), Ajinkya Rahane (vc), Rishabh Pant (wk), Ravindra Jadeja
Captain Virat Kohli was amazing with his tactics in the second Test. However, when it comes to run-scoring he hasn't been on top of his game so far and would look to make amends in the next match. His deputy Ajinkya Rahane was also criticised after a string of low scores in recent matches. However, his game-changing half-century in the second innings was one important knock that helped the team get back into the match and later win it. So Rahane will definitely start in the third Test. Rishabh Pant and Ravindra Jadeja have also contributed their bit and should be able to retain their places in the side.
Bowlers: Ishant Sharma, Mohammed Shami, Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Siraj
The pace quadrant should also remain the same. While Shardul Thakur had played in the opening Test where India missed out on winning the match after rain intervened on the final day, he was ruled out with an injury for the second Test. Even though Shardul has regained fitness, his chances of playing the third Test seem unlikely as Ishant has justified his place in the team with his partnership-breaking ability. Mohammed Siraj is in a zone of his own and finished with 8 wickets at the Lord's test. Bumrah and Shami not only bowled their hearts out but even chipped in with the bat and will walk into perhaps any XI in this form.
Thus, the Virat Kohli-led side may not make changes to their team unless forced by any last-minute injury in the third Test at Headingly, Leeds. The contest is set to begin on August 26 at 3:30 pm (IST).