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IND vs ENG 2021: India’s predicted playing XI for the 3rd Test

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After a long break of nine days that has helped both teams recharge their batteries, India and England face off in the third Test of the five-match series at Headingley, Leeds starting Wednesday, August 25.

India’s new batting duo of Prithvi Shaw and Suryakumar Yadav are now available for selection after completing their quarantine period, but the visitors will look to stick to their winning combination and not make too many changes.

India’s squad for the Test series against England: Rohit Sharma, Mayank Agarwal, Cheteshwar Pujara, Virat Kohli (captain), Ajinkya Rahane (vice-captain), Hanuma Vihari, Rishabh Pant (wicket-keeper), Ravichandran Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja, Axar Patel, Jasprit Bumrah, Ishant Sharma, Mohammed Shami, Mohammed Siraj, Shardul Thakur, Umesh Yadav, KL Rahul, Wriddhiman Saha, Prithvi Shaw, Suryakumar Yadav

Here is India’s predicted playing XI for the third Test against England.


Openers: Rohit Sharma, KL Rahul

England v India - First LV= Insurance Test Match: Day Two
England v India – First LV= Insurance Test Match: Day Two

Rohit Sharma and KL Rahul have been two of India’s biggest positives in the Test series so far. Both openers have left well and attacked when needed to give the team excellent platforms. They will look to continue in the same vein at Headingley, with Mayank Agarwal and Prithvi Shaw waiting on the sidelines.

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Middle Order: Cheteshwar Pujara, Virat Kohli (c), Ajinkya Rahane, Rishabh Pant (wk)

India Nets Session
India Nets Session

India’s misfiring middle order is still under the spotlight despite cameos from Virat Kohli, Cheteshwar Pujara and Ajinkya Rahane in the previous game.

While Kohli needs to exhibit more restraint, Pujara and Rahane are not out of the woods yet with respect to their place in the side. But the duo have bought themselves at least a few games.

Wicket-keeper Rishabh Pant couldn’t back an impact with the bat in the second Test, but he has been splendid behind the stumps. The youngster will be eyeing a sizeable contribution with the willow at Headingley.


All-rounders: Ravindra Jadeja, Ravichandran Ashwin

England v India - First LV= Insurance Test Match: Day Three
England v India – First LV= Insurance Test Match: Day Three

Ravindra Jadeja hasn’t been put in a position to succeed with the ball so far, with little grip and turn on offer at Trent Bridge and Lord’s. But he has been invaluable with the bat, having strung together partnerships with the tail.

Could we finally see Ravichandran Ashwin in this India-England series? In the pre-match press conference, India captain Virat Kohli insisted that there’s no reason to change a winning combination but also admitted that he expected to see more grass on the strip. The Headingley wicket was rather slow and dry during the recently concluded Hundred as well.

If Ashwin comes in instead of Jadeja, that would greatly weaken the tail. And although India’s bowlers have excelled in their secondary skill so far, it would probably be too big a risk to take. As a result, India could decide to go in with three pacers for the first time this series, with Ashwin making his maiden appearance of the tour.

It depends on how the wicket looks on the morning of the Test, but as of now it seems probable.


Bowlers: Mohammed Siraj, Mohammed Shami, Jasprit Bumrah

India Nets Session
India Nets Session

Without Ishant Sharma, who seems to be the most expendable of the pacers should Ashwin be drafted in, India’s three-pronged attack will need to bowl out of their skins to pick up 20 wickets.

Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Siraj and Mohammed Shami will have had sufficient rest since their record-breaking exploits at Lord’s, and should be ready to unleash themselves on the shaky England batting once again.

Shardul Thakur didn’t put too many feet wrong during the first Test, but match-winning performances from his replacement and the other fast bowlers in the playing XI may keep him out of the side for now.


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