A place in the World Test Championship final looms, even as India and England resume their hostilities at 1-1 in the third Test at Motera. Starting from Wednesday, February 24, the 110,000-strong newly-built stadium will play host to a day-night Test.
England won the first Test while India replied in kind in the second match, both played in Chennai. While both the winning margins remained comprehensive, India’s mastering of spin conditions is the story of Chennai leg. The pitch will be in focus here as the day-night conditions and ‘Pink’ ball will certainly add to the intrigue.
If India lose this Test or the next one at the same venue, they will be out of the race for the WTC final. The top-order will be under focus since day-night conditions demand better techniques. Rohit Sharma (205 runs) and Rishabh Pant (168 runs) have been India’s best batsmen, while Virat Kohli (145) will be looking to get that elusive century.
Ball in hand, it has to be Ravichandran Ashwin (17 wickets) with a direct ticket to your fantasy team. Despite the conditions, spin will play a part and the off-spinner will look to bring his guile to the table. Jasprit Bumrah is another player who can be a serious candidate for fantasy selection.
England have relied on captain Joe Root (297 runs) for their scores and will once again be the case here. Ben Stokes (115 runs) threatened to cut loose, but the big scores have eluded him. Expect Jonny Bairstow to slot back into the XI and make his presence count.
Jimmy Anderson (five wickets) was the master destroyer in the first Test and will relish the conditions on offer for the Pink ball. Keep a close eye on him and also Stuart Broad, who can be a handful when the ball swings.
Fantasy Players to Watch
Virat Kohli has not scored an international 100 for 34 innings now, since his last in India’s first-ever day-night Test. This could be his moment and he can be an exciting fantasy pick.
Joe Root has been the best batsman across both sides with 297 runs and could be a massive addition to your fantasy cricket teams.
Rishabh Pant has been a constant thorn in England’s flesh with his quick scoring and 168 runs. His ‘keeping has improved too and has four catches and three stumpings in the series.
India: 1 Rohit Sharma 2 Shubman Gill 3 Cheteshwar Pujara 4 Virat Kohli (C) 5 Ajinkya Rahane 6 Rishabh Pant 7 Ravichandran Ashwin 8 Axar Patel 9 Ishant Sharma 10 Umesh Yadav 11 Jasprit Bumrah
England: 1 Dom Sibley 2 Zak Crawley 3 Jonny Bairstow 4 Joe Root (C) 5 Ben Stokes 6 Ollie Pope 7 Ben Foakes (WK) 8 Chris Woakes 9 Jofra Archer 10 Jack Leach 11 James Anderson
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