After a one-sided affair in the second Test, India and England will fight out in the day-night Test at the Sardar Patel Stadium in Ahmedabad starting February 24 (Wednesday). Both teams will be desperate to take an unassailable lead in the four-match Test series.
Meanwhile, a confident Indian side will face the problem of plenty. While the batting-order remains set, Virat Kohli will make a couple of changes in the bowling line-up. Fit-again Umesh Yadav, who’s replaced Shardul Thakur in the squad, comes in with his unique skills on skiddy Indian pitches.
Jasprit Bumrah, who was rested during the 2nd Test, will return to the playing XI until there is any injury in the 11th hour. At the same, with the pitch expected to dry out in the heat, India would be tempted to stick to Kuldeep Yadav who has a very good record with the pink ball in first-class cricket.
On the other hand, England would make a few changes from the last Test going into this game. Although England skipper Joe Root didn’t divulge all the details during the pre-match press conference but it remains pretty evident.
Dan Lawrence looks set to miss out, with Jonny Bairstow likely to come in at number three. Zak Crawley’s return to fitness could put Rory Burns’ position at risk. There could be a raft of changes in the bowling attack too. James Anderson and Jofra Archer are set to return while Chris Woakes or Dom Bess could play as well, depending on whether England opt to play two spinners.
India vs England 2021, 3rd Test at the Sardar Patel Stadium, Ahmedabad starting from February 24 (Wednesday)
Predicted Playing XI
India: Rohit Sharma, Shubman Gill, Cheteshwar Pujara, Virat Kohli (c), Ajinkya Rahane, Rishabh Pant (wk), Ravichandran Ashwin, Axar Patel, Ishant Sharma, Umesh Yadav, Jasprit Bumrah
England: Zak Crawley, Dom Sibley, Jonny Bairstow, Joe Root (c), Ben Stokes, Ollie Pope, Ben Foakes (wk), Dom Bess/Chris Woakes, Jofra Archer, Jack Leach, James Anderson
Match Prediction – Who will win the match?
It all boils down to the pink-ball Test in the newly-built Motera Stadium as both teams will look to take an unassailable lead in the four-match Test series.
So far, India and England have faced each other in 62 matches in Indian conditions with the host winning on 20 occasions while the visitors emerged victorious on 14 outings. On this very ground, Virat Kohli & Co have faced the three Lions twice – winning one while the other game ended in a pale draw.
However, this match will be a different ball game together and both teams will play each other for the first time under lights with the pink ball. While the pink ball is expected to seam and swing under the lights but the spinners will come into play once the match progresses.
Thus, a confident Indian side will have the edge to keep their winning run going and go 2-1 up in the Test series and inch one step closer to the World Test Championship final.