On Wednesday (24th February), the hosts India will take on the visitors England in the third game of the four-match Test series at newly re-build Sardar Patel Stadium (Motera, Ahmedabad). It will be their first-ever meeting in the day/night pink-ball Test.
Currently, this four-match Test series is standing in the 1-1 position with two to go as both teams have won one match each. So, the upcoming Test is going to be very crucial for both these teams who are also looking to qualify for the final of the inaugural ICC World Test Championship.
India vs England 2021, 3rd Test: Match Preview
After suffering a 227-run defeat in this series-opener, the hosts India have made a brilliant comeback in the next game by winning the second Test of the series by 317 runs. So, the hosts are enough confident ahead of the day/night Test.
Though the Indian team comfortably won their first-ever day/night Test against Bangladesh at home, they suffered a humiliating defeat in their second day/night Test match against the hosts Australia. So, Virat Kohli-led Indian team will be very cautious in the upcoming Test match, especially when another defeat will snatch away their opportunity to win this Test series as well as reach the final of the ICC World Test Championship.
Rohit Sharma superbly batted in the first innings of the last Test where his 161 runs set up the solid foundation for the hosts. While the other top-order batsmen failed to score good runs, Ajinkya Rahane and Rishabh Pant scored crucial half-centuries in that first innings. In their second innings of that game, while spinners were dominating, captain Virat Kohli scored a crucial half-century and Ravichandran Ashwin scored a brilliant Test century.
Ravichandran Ashwin bagged eight wickets in that Test, including a fifer, which helped him to win the Player of the Match award for his impressive all-round performances. Test debutant Axar Patel also claimed a five-wicket haul in the last innings of that Test.
While most of the Indian cricketers are in good touch, Umesh Yadav has also returned to the Test squad after recovering from the injury. Among the Indian bowlers, Umesh is the leading wicket-taker in pink-ball Test where he has picked up 11 wickets in 2 matches.
Virat Kohli (C), Rohit Sharma, Mayank Agarwal, Shubman Gill, Cheteshwar Pujara, Ajinkya Rahane (vc), KL Rahul, Hardik Pandya, Rishabh Pant (wk), Wriddhiman Saha (wk), Ravichandran Ashwin, Kuldeep Yadav, Axar Patel, Washington Sundar, Ishant Sharma, Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Siraj, Umesh Yadav
Recent Test forms (Oldest to latest): Won, Draw, Won, Lost and Won
After starting this Test series with a 227-run win, the visitors England decided to alter their major portion of the playing XI and suffered a 317-run defeat in the second Test.
England have played three day/night Tests till the date, where they won only once and suffered two defeats. Moreover, they last time played a day/night pink-ball Test in March 2018, which means they don’t have the recent pink-ball Test experiences.
In this Asia tour, captain Joe Root is playing very important roles with the bat. While Ben Stokes was disappointed for his weak performances in the last Test, he scored crucial 82 runs during their first innings of this Test series opener. However, England will miss Moeen Ali, who scored firing 43 runs in the last innings of the last Test, when all other English batters failed to handle the Indian bowlers.
Pacer James Anderson is in better form then his home Test bowling partner Stuart Broad. Jofra Archer and Jonny Bairstow have returned to the Test squad.
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.
Recent Test forms (Oldest to latest): Won, Won, Won and Lost
India vs England 2021, 3rd Test: Match Prediction
Both teams are still not much experienced in the day/night pink-ball Test cricket. As the hosts, India have the better chances, especially in front of the large crowd, but there are currently no strong favourite for this upcoming crucial Test match.