India vs England 2021: Two key changes expected as we look at the ideal playing 11 for Team India for the 3rd Test match.
After a gap of almost a week, we are set to witness a historic moment as Motera stadium in Ahmedabad; the biggest stadium in the world is set to host its first international match. It is going to be a Day-Night fixture with India taking England in the third Pink ball Test match. The match is scheduled to take place from February 24-28, 2021.
Both the teams are well poised in the series at 1-1 with England winning the first Test, while India bouncing back to win the second Test match. The Pink ball Test (Team India’s second Pink ball Test at home), and the 3rd Test of the series is going to be a unique contest.
One of the two teams is going to get eliminated from the World Test Championship final. If England win, they would stay alive, but India would be eliminated, whereas if India win, England would get eliminated. In case of a Draw, England would get eliminated, and India would then face a must-win game in the 4th Test.
Squad Update for Team India:
Team India recently announced an updated squad for the last two Tests. The team sees only one change as Umesh Yadav is included in the squad in place of Shardul Thakur. Umesh is currently under observation, and If he is fit, it would be interesting to see if he is drafted in the final playing 11.
It is also going to be interesting to see what kind of pitch is being offered for the Day-night Test. The Chennai pitch had created some uproar with many critics terming it as poor pitch. The Ahmedabad pitch, however, is expected to offer assistance to both; spin as well as pace, but will it be completely dry will only be known on the actual day of the Test match.
Nevertheless, what could be the ideal team combination for Team India for the 3rd Test match vs England? Let’s find out in this article. Before that, let’s also quickly skim through Team India’s squad for the last two Tests.
Team India’s Squad for last two Tests vs England:
Virat Kohli (C), Ajinkya Rahane, Axar Patel, Cheteshwar Pujara, Hardik Pandya, Ishant Sharma, Jasprit Bumrah, KL Rahul, Kuldeep Yadav, Mayank Agarwal, Mohammed Siraj, Rahul Chahar, Ravichandran Ashwin, Rishabh Pant (WK), Rohit Sharma, Shubman Gill, Umesh Yadav, Washington Sundar & Wriddhiman Saha (WK).
Ideal Playing 11 – Team India
Openers: Rohit Sharma & Shubman Gill
Both the openers have had contrasting returns in the two Tests played so far. While Gill played well in the first Test, he registered back-to-back failures in the second Test. Whereas Rohit failed in the first Test, but returned to form in the second Test. But, this shouldn’t be an issue as both would be expected to open for the entire series. However, Team needs Gill and Rohit to do well in the Pink-ball Test match.
Middle-order: Cheteshwar Pujara, Virat Kohli (C) & Ajinkya Rahane
Both, Cheteshwar Pujara and Virat Kohli hasn’t had the best of starts in the series. While Pujara did well in 1 innings with 3 failures, Kohli did well in 2 innings with 2 failures. None of them have managed to touch a 3 digit score so far. For Kohli though, the last 3-digit score came in Nov, 2019. Anyway, both need to give their best in the crucial pink-ball test as England would come all guns blazing with Archer, Anderson and maybe Wood.
Meanwhile, Ajinkya Rahane had a quiet start to the series before playing a valuable knock in the first innings of the second Test match. India would need him to continue with his form in the crucial Pink ball Test where conditions may favour bowling more.
Wicket-keeper: Rishabh Pant
Not only did Rishabh Pant do exceptionally well in the batting department so far in the series but his keeping has also been top class. This is the biggest positive of the series so far for India. He accumulated an important stumping and took some stunning takes and catches during the match where the ball was spinning like crazy.
Owing to his current form, Pant has also got a call-up in the limited-overs squad after being dropped for the last two series vs New Zealand and Australia. With his current wicket-keeping performance, Team management has taken back the keeping duties from KL Rahul, who I believe was only perceived to be a stop-gap keeper.
Spinners: Axar Patel & Ravichandran Ashwin
The spin department should see the all-rounders Axar and Ashwin managing the spin duties for the Pink ball Test. Both were superb with the ball in the second Test, and Ashwin’s batting was the biggest plus. The team would however need more from Axar, the batsman as conditions might favour bowlers more in the third Test.
Pacers: Jasprit Bumrah, Umesh Yadav & Ishant Sharma
The biggest question for the third Test match would be the availability of Umesh Yadav basis his fitness. If he is fit to play, he should straight away draft himself in the playing 11 in place of Kuldeep Yadav. Kuldeep was underutilized by Kohli in 2nd Test, and it won’t be a surprise if he is dropped.
Jasprit Bumrah was rested for the second Test match to neutralize the workload. However, he should be back for the all-important Pink ball Test. That means Mohammed Siraj, who bowled just 11 overs in the match, should make way for him in the 11.
So, that completes the ideal playing XI for Team India for the 3rd Test match vs England. The only question in the playing 11 would be the fitness result of Umesh Yadav.
India vs England 2021: Ideal Playing 11 for Team India for 3rd Test Match:
Rohit Sharma, Shubman Gill, Cheteshwar Pujara, Virat Kohli (C), Ajinkya Rahane, Rishabh Pant (WK), Axar Patel, Ravichandran Ashwin, Umesh Yadav, Ishant Sharma & Jasprit Bumrah.
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