The series between India and England has been full of drama. After the first Test was drawn due to weather, India registered a sensational victory at Lord’s. Come the Leeds Test, hosts England made an even better comeback to trounce India by an innings and 76 runs. With the series level at 1-1 and two Tests to play, a lot is at stake for both the sides.
Talking about the third Test, there were a few areas that need to be looked upon again by the Team India management. The batting combination is certainly one of them after the team was bundled out for 78 in the first innings, and could manage 278 in the second. While Cheteshwar Pujara and Virat Kohli did post fighting fifties in the match, the spot of Ajinkya Rahane is being questioned by many.
The team does have the replacements for him — in the form of Hanuma Vihari and Surkyakumar Yadav, but it will be interesting to see if Virat Kohli would be interested in leaving out his deputy — Rahane from the playing XI.
As far as the bowling is concerned, the only change that looks likely for now is R Ashwin coming in for Ishant Sharma, since the pitch at Oval will assist the spinners. That also solves India’s problem of playing an additional batsman. But again, these changes are subject to the skipper’s willingness, who till now, has been reluctant to change the team combination.
In fact, he had made it clear that he is against the combination of seven batsmen in the team, which deprives them of the opportunity to pick up 20 wickets in the match, especially on foreign soil.
It will be interesting to see if the management opts for Shardul Thakur too, instead of a Mohammad Siraj, who doesn’t offer any stability with the bat.
Possible playing XI: Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma, KL Rahul, Cheteshwar Pujara, Suryakumar Yadav, Rishabh Pant, Ravindra Jadeja, R Ahswin, Mohammed Shami, Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Siraj.