India vs England 2020-21, 3rd Test (D/N): Teams to start from scratch with series locked at 1-1
India and England continue their rivalry in the ongoing four-Test series for the Anthony de Mello Trophy. With the series locked at 1-1 from Chennai, things would be decided in Ahmedabad. The third Test would be a day-night affair, being India's third pink-ball Test and the second in India.
Host India would look to start from scratch against visitor England for the Anthony de Mello Trophy in the ongoing four-Test series. After a steep battle in the opening two Tests in Chennai, things have moved to Ahmedabad, as the third Test is set to be played from Wednesday at the redeveloped Sardar Patel (Motera) Stadium.
Meanwhile, this Test would be a day-night affair. India has played a couple of pink-ball Test, having won and lost a piece. As India prepares to host its second such Test, we present the match preview for the same.
Both the sides have had a mixed form of late, as evident in the two Tests they have played already. However, barring that, both are coming of prolific performances, with India winning in Australia, while England registered a clean sweep in Sri Lanka. Nonetheless, judging by the recent result, momentum is slightly in favour of the host. With this being a pink-ball Test and England's first in the sub-continent, India certainly has the advantage.
Team composition and combination
As for the team composition, India has moved in with a batting-heavy squad, with 13 batsmen and nine bowlers. As for the combination for the third Test, Team India is likely to stick to the same. However, since the pink ball supports seamers more than spinners, bringing Jasprit Bumrah back to replace chinaman Kuldeep Yadav could make sense.
Meanwhile, England does have a headache for this Test. Not sure if it would stick to the rotation policy, which eventually led to its downfall in the second Test, some changes might be expected. Although England, too, has a tide-batting-heavy squad, it is undoubtedly likely to bring back veteran seamer James Anderson. Also, pacer Jofra Archer is expected to be back in action, who missed the second with an injury.
Both sides have no fresh injury concerns. Also, England would be bolstered by Archer's return, who missed the last game owing to an elbow injury.
Considering the head-on clashes between the sides so far, both have featured in 124 Tests, with England leading by 48 wins, while India has won 27. Meanwhile, in India, both have played 62 Tests, with India winning 20 and losing 14. As for Ahmedabad, there have been two Tests between the sides here, with India winning on an occasion, and the other being a draw.
Weather and pitch report
The weather in Ahmedabad is expected to be transparent throughout, while the temperature is likely to stay around 36 degrees. The track has generally become slow in recent years, and a five-dayer should not be a surprise. Although it might stay spin-friendly, given the pink ball's nature, it would still assist seamers.
India: Shubman Gill, Rohit Sharma, Cheteshwar Pujara, Virat Kohli (c), Ajinkya Rahane, Rishabh Pant (wk), Axar Patel, Ravichandran Ashwin, Mohammed Siraj, Jasprit Bumrah and Ishant Sharma.
England: Dominic Sibley, Zak Crawley, Joe Root (c), Ben Stokes, Jonny Bairstow, Ben Foakes (wk), Ollie Pope, Dom Bess, Jack Leach, Jofra Archer and James Anderson.
Batsmen: Root (vc), Kohli, Rohit- Rohit would be the ideal opener, while Root and Kohli can consolidate at the top. Root's fine batting skills and form makes him the vice-captain.
Wicketkeeper: Pant- A no-brainer here, as he has been the man in form, especially with the bat and is somewhat set in the Test circuit.
All-rounders: Stokes, Ashwin- While Stokes can have his say in either of the departments, Ashwin is certain to dominate with his spin in any given track, besides being a handy batsman as well. Owing to his fine consistency in the past few games, he is our captain.
Bowlers: Bess, Archer, Leach, Anderson, Ishant- We have moved in with five specialist bowlers, as they are the likely ones to dominate the pink-ball Test. While Bess and Leach would come in handy with their spin, Anderson and Archer, along with Ishant, have proper swinging techniques and wicket-taking abilities to earn the maximum points.
Players to watch out
Kohli: The Indian skipper has been highly inconsistent in the series so far, as the management would want him to fire at all costs.
Ishant: Playing his 100th Test and known for his decent swinging abilities, he will be severely backed by the management to trouble the Englishmen with his powers.
Ashwin: The all-rounder has the knack of churning out wickets on any given track. Besides being a handy batsman, he would be the most lethal man of all.
Anderson: The veteran seamer is getting better with every passing age, as his deadly swings with the pink ball could indeed affect the Indian batsmen, while the English management would heavily back him.
Date and day: February 24-28, 2021 (Wednesday-Sunday)
Venue: Sardar Patel (Motera) Stadium, Ahmedabad
Time: 2:30 PM IST
Where to watch (TV): Star Sports 1 and Star Sports 1 Hindi (Also available in HD, along with regional languages)
Where to watch (Online): Hotstar