After a long nine-day hiatus that helped both teams recharge their batteries, India and England will face each other in the third Test of the five-game series in Headingley, Leeds, starting Wednesday 25 August.
India’s new strike duo Prithvi Shaw and Suryakumar Yadav is now up for selection after the quarantine period is over, but visitors will try to stick to their winning combination and not make too many changes.
India’s squad for the test series against England: Rohit Sharma, Mayank Agarwal, Cheteshwar Pujara, Virat Kohli (captain), Ajinkya Rahane (vice captain), Hanuma Vihari, Rishabh Pant (gatekeeper), Ravichandran Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja, Axar Patel, Jasprit Bumrah, Ishant Sharma, Mohammed Shami, Mohammed Siraj , Shardul Thakur, Umesh Yadav, KL Rahul, Wriddhiman Saha, Prithvi Shaw, Suryakumar Yadav
Here is India’s predicted play by XI for the third Test against England.
Opening: Rohit Sharma, KL Rahul
Rohit Sharma and KL Rahul were two of India’s biggest pluses in the test series so far. Both opening players have done well and attacked when necessary to provide excellent platforms for the team. You will try to continue in the same direction at Headingley with Mayank Agarwal and Prithvi Shaw waiting on the sidelines.
Middle order: Cheteshwar Pujara, Virat Kohli (c), Ajinkya Rahane, Rishabh Pant (wk)
India’s misfiring middle order is still in the spotlight despite cameos from Virat Kohli, Cheteshwar Pujara and Ajinkya Rahane in the previous game.
While Kohli has to show more restraint, Pujara and Rahane are not yet off the hook when it comes to their place at the side. But the duo bought at least a few games.
Wicket keeper Rishabh Pant failed to support a bat hit in the second test, but he was great behind the stumps. The youngster will make a significant contribution with the pasture in Headingley.
All-rounders: Ravindra Jadeja, Ravichandran Ashwin
Ravindra Jadeja has not yet been able to be successful with the ball, with little grip and gymnastics at Trent Bridge and Lord’s. But with the bat, he’s been invaluable as he’s tailed partnerships.
Could we finally see Ravichandran Ashwin on this India-England series? In the pre-game press conference, India captain Virat Kohli insisted there is no need to change a winning combination but also admitted he expected more weed on the shirt. Headingley’s wicket was on the slow and dry side even during the recently completed Hundred.
If Ashwin came in instead of Jadeja, it would severely weaken the tail. And while India’s bowlers have so far excelled in their secondary skills, it would probably be too big a risk. As a result, India could choose to compete with three pacemakers for the first time in this series, with Ashwin making his first appearance on the tour.
It depends on what the wicket looks like on the morning of the test, but at the moment it seems likely.
Bowler: Mohammed Siraj, Mohammed Shami, Jasprit Bumrah
Without Ishant Sharma, who appears to be the most expendable of the pacemakers, should Ashwin be drafted, India’s three-pronged attack will have to roll out of their skins to pick up 20 wickets.
Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Siraj and Mohammed Shami will have had plenty of rest since their record breaking heroics at Lord’s and should be ready to face the shaky England competition again.
Shardul Thakur didn’t do too much wrong during the first Test, but match-winning performances from his substitute and the other fast-paced bowlers in the playing XI can keep him off the hook for the time being.