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3rd Test: India gear up for Pink ball battle vs England with an eye on World Test Championship final

India vs England, Pink ball Test: Virat Kohli-led India will be eyeing the World Test Championship final spot when they take on Joe Root's England in the refurbished Sardar Patel Stadium.

UPDATED: February 24, 2021 10:30 IST

With the series perfectly poised at 1-1, a confident India will aim to soar higher with the return of Jasprit Bumrah when they take on Joe Root’s England in the only day-night Test of the series at the revamped Motera Stadium in Ahmedabad.

Both India and England will be bidding to qualify for the World Test Championship final in the 3rd Test which is to be played under lights in Ahmedabad. It will be India’s second Pink Ball Test at home after the BCCI had hosted Bangladesh for their maiden Day-Night Test, at Eden Gardens in Kolkata, in November 2019.

With the World Test Championship final slot up for grabs, India will look to ride on the momentum gained in the second Test in Chennai as the pink cricket ball will add new flavour and spices to an already competitive series. The refurbished Stadium looks stupendous under lights but the first Test match in many years would mean that even the home team wouldn’t expect a lot of advantage.

With the pink ball, there are signs that the pitch at the Motera Stadium could have a decent cover of grass, encouraging India to pick a third fast bowler. While Jasprit Bumrah and Ishant Sharma pick themselves, it will be a toss-up between the experienced Umesh Yadav – returning from an injury – and Mohammed Siraj.

Ahead of the third Test in Ahmedabad, India captain Virat Kohli has said that it would be best for a team to bat during the first session of a Pink Ball Test while the later sessions could get more challenging especially during the evening.

On the other hand, England pacers reportedly are quite happy with the quality of the pink balls. “This is going to be a completely different game. I can tell you Jimmy (Anderson), Jofra (Archer), and Stuart (Broad) have been licking their lips. We’ve seen how day-night cricket has offered assistance to quick bowlers, especially when the lights come on. The pink ball does seem to do more,” Ben Stokes told Talk Sport.

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Squads:

India: Virat Kohli (Captain), Rohit Sharma, Mayank Agarwal, Shubman Gill, Cheteshwar Pujara, Ajinkya Rahane (vice-captain), KL Rahul, Hardik Pandya, Rishabh Pant (wicket-keeper), Wriddhiman Saha (wicket-keeper), R Ashwin, Kuldeep Yadav, Axar Patel, Washington Sundar, Ishant Sharma, Jasprit Bumrah, Md. Siraj, Umesh Yadav.

England: Joe Root (c), James Anderson, Jofra Archer, Jonny Bairstow, Dominic Bess, Stuart Broad, Rory Burns, Zak Crawley, Ben Foakes, Dan Lawrence, Jack Leach, Ollie Pope, Dom Sibley, Ben Stokes, Olly Stone, Chris Woakes, Mark Wood.

 

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