Three changes India might make for the third Test against England
After suffering a shocking 28-run loss to England in Hyderabad, India came back strongly in the second Test to level the series 1-1. Though there is still some work left to be done, the hosts showed excellent resilience as they have often shown in the past as well. Yashasvi Jaiswal and Jasprit Bumrah played key roles with their performances in the 2nd Test.
The hosts were in prime position to win the first Test as well but England’s no-fear approach took the game away from them. The third Test of the series promises to be an enthralling one with both sides looking to put down hard punches. England have shown tremendous grit and determination and their aggressive approach seems to be a perfect way to give the fight to the mighty hosts. Meanwhile, despite injury and unavailability concerns, India haven’t backed down under pressure. With a 10-day gap between the second and third Test, both sides might come up with some changes in their eleven.
Changes India might make for third Test vs England
Virat Kohli for Shreyas Iyer
If Virat Kohli is available for the next match, there is no doubt that he will slot right back in the eleven. Kohli took a break from the first two Tests of the series citing personal reasons. Though a few days ago, his friend AB de Villiers confirmed that Kohli and his wife Anushka Sharma are expecting their second child.
If Virat becomes available, Shreyas Iyer seems to be the likeliest option to make way for him. Shubman Gill scored an all-important century in the second innings of the 2nd Test to stake his claim at No.3 and will keep his place. Iyer has got several starts but has failed to convert them into big ones. His last 11 innings read 4, 12, 0, 26, 31, 6, 0, 4*, 35, 13, 27, 29. The right-handed middle order batter last scored a fifty against Bangladesh back in 2022, where his rearguard action helped India win the match. Given his recent poor returns, Iyer is the likeliest choice to make way for Kohli at No.
K L Rahul for Rajat Patidar
KL Rahul complained of pain in his right quadriceps after the first Test, which is why he was withdrawn from the next one. Ever since his return to the Test side, Rahul has played some important innings for India as a middle-order batter. He scored a gritty 101 runs in Centurion against a hostile South African attack. In the first Test against England, he scored an important 86 in the first innings.
Rahul is seen as a man made for crisis situations. If he becomes available, he is likely to come back straight into the playing eleven. India’s debutant for the second Test Rajat Patidar is likely to make way for him. Though it will be harsh for Patidar to be dropped after just one match, but such has been the competition within the Indian side for several years.
Mohammed Siraj for Mukesh Kumar
Though Jasprit Bumrah has bowled dream spells in the series so far, other Indian fast bowlers have struggled on these tracks. Siraj was probably underused in the first Test and then rested for the second Test citing his workload. According to a BCCI release, the decision was taken ‘keeping in mind the duration of the series and the amount of cricket he has played in recent times.’ Now that there is a 10-day gap between the second and third Tests, Siraj is likely to join the squad.
There is news coming out that Jasprit Bumrah might be rested for the third Test. He bowled 32 overs in four days of high intensity cricket. But with series delicately poised at 1-1, India needs its leading fast bowler to be in the eleven. Since there is a 10-day gap between the two Tests, Bumrah might not be rested for Rajkot. Instead, he can be rested for the fourth Test as there is just 3-day gap between the third and fourth Test.
The third Test at Rajkot seems to be a promising one and both sides will be fresh and raring to go at each other once again. England are likely to continue with their Bazball approach while India will trust their own methods to win.