The visitors England are now ready to face the visitors India in the third match of this four-match Test series which will begin on this Wednesday (24th February) at newly re-build Sardar Patel Stadium (Motera, Ahmedabad). While it will be a day/night pink-ball Test, it will be the fourth day/night pink-ball Test for the English team.
After a good tour in Sri Lanka, where they finished the two-match Test series by winning that by 2-0 margin, England started this India tour with a 227-run victory in the Chennai Test. But in that same venue, they suffered the 317 runs defeat and that has equalled this series by 1-1 with two to go.
India vs England 2021, 3rd Test: England’s Predicted XI
While Zak Crawley had a struggling period in the complete Sri Lanka tour, he missed out the first two Tests in the ongoing India tour due to his injury. Crawley has now returned to the England Test squad after recovering from the injury but he has to prove himself in the upcoming chances.
After three single-digit innings in the Sri Lanka tour, Dom Sibley ended that tour with a match-winning half-century. In the Test series opener in the ongoing India tour, Sibley started with the 87-run knock. But after that, he has struggled to reach even 20 runs (16, 16 and 3). England are expecting a good start from him in the third Test.
Jonny Bairstow has returned to the Test squad in this crucial moment. In the recent Sri Lanka tour, Bairstow played crucial roles with the bat (47, 35*, 28 and 29) while many of their team members were struggling. Despite that, he wasn’t included for the first two Tests of the ongoing India tour. While the team management has now added him to the squad, Bairstow is likely to return to the Test playing XI to help England batting line-up.
Joe Root (C)
England Test captain Joe Root is currently in great form with the bat in hand. While he struggled in the last Test due to rank-turner pitch, he scored three big centuries in the previous three Tests, including two double-centuries. The visitors are hugely depended on his batting performances in this Test series.
After returning to the squad in this Test series, all-rounder Ben Stokes hasn’t spent much time with the ball-in-hand. While he scored 82 runs in their first innings of this Test series opener, then he managed to score 7, 18 and 8. As he is little familiar with the Indian condition, the all-rounder is desperate to improve his Test performances.
Ben Foakes (wk)
Despite the return of Jonny Bairstow, Ben Foakes may now still continue his wicketkeeping journey for the English Test squad. In the previous Test match, Foakes not only impressed with his batting performance in their first innings (42* & 2), he also impressed with his wicketkeeping skills.
The 23-year-old Dom Bess has impressed in this Asia tour. After ending the Sri Lanka tour as England’s most wicket-taker (12 wickets), including a fifer, Bess played an important role for the visitors in the Test series opener in this India tour where he had the bowling figures of 4/76 and 1/50.
Jofra Archer missed out the last Test due to suffering an elbow injury. But he has recovered from that injury ahead of the third Test. In the upcoming pink-ball Test match, Archer needs to play important role with the ball in hand for the visitors.
The left-arm spinner Jack Leach has already impressed with the ball in hand as he has taken 12 wickets in four innings, including two four-wicket hauls. The 29-year-old is likely to retain his spot for the upcoming pink-ball Test match.
Though Stuart Broad replaced James Anderson in the last Test to give him proper rest. However, that replacement didn’t work for the visitors in that Test match. While the pink-ball Test match is very crucial for both these participating teams, England may go with in-form Anderson, who claimed a six-wicket haul (6/40) in the recent Sri Lanka tour and took the crucial five wickets (2/46 & 3/17) during the first Test match in this India tour.
The 31-year-old fast bowler Mark Wood was present during their recent tour in Sri Lanka. While he failed to take at least one wicket in the first Test of that tour, he got three wickets (3/84) in the first innings of the last Test of that tour. While he missed out the first two Test squads of the ongoing tour, he has been now added in the Test squad.