India vs England Pink Ball Test: Going into the 3rd Test against England, India has a lot to think about when it comes to picking the 11th man in the Playing XI. The 3rd Test will be a pink ball Day/Night match at the Motera Stadium in Ahmedabad and that opens up different possibilities as the conditions are not as straightforward. As per sources, team management is still undecided on whether to play 3 spinners or 3 pacers in the 3rd Test. That is the reason – team management has told Kuldeep Yadav, Washington Sundar, Hardik Pandya and Mohammed Siraj to stay ready for the match
India’s Playing XI for 3rd Test : Rohit Sharma, Shubman Gill, Cheteshwar Pujara, Virat Kohli, Ajinkya Rahane, Rishabh Pant, R.Ashwin, Axar Patel, Ishant Sharma, Jasprit Bumrah
Fight for 11th Spot between – Kuldeep Yadav, Washington Sundar, Hardik Pandya and Mohammed Siraj
India vs England 3rd Test – Why so much of uncertainty over playing XI ?
Reason: In the 2nd Test in Chennai, with the wicket being a rank turner, India went ahead with three spinners and two pacers. But a Day/Night Test is a different ball game. Not only the SG ball has a thicker layer of lacquer to prevent it from wear-and-tear, the pitch is also expected to have some grass to keep it together for five days.
All of that indicates assistance for seamers, at least on Day 1. But if the pitch is prepared in a way that assists spinners like the first two Tests in Chennai, a third spinner, who can provide batting depth would be preferred. There come three options — Kuldeep Yadav or Washington Sunder
For a straightforward, fourth seamer option, India have to choose between Hardik Pandya or Mohammed Siraj with Umesh Yadav having outside chance to get drafted in XI.
PINK Ball Test – 3rd Spinner or a 3rd Pacer in Indian XI ?
With Ravindra Jadeja out with injury, it has been a team-selection headache for India. In his absence, who will partner Ravichandran Ashwin has been the primary question. Ahead of the 3rd Test, it can be assumed that India will field both Ashwin and Azar Patel, who were successful in the 2nd Test. But an option to field a third spinner cannot be ruled out.
Kuldeep Yadav: Kuldeep’s contribution to India’s win in the 2nd Test was very limited. He got to bowl just 12.2 overs and bagged two wickets. With the bat, he flopped, scoring three runs. But he is the only wrist spinner in the squad and in Day/Night conditions, he could be useful.
Washington Sunder: A spinner who can bat well to provide India with batting depth, Washington Sunder is an option India can go with. If the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy matches are to be considered, the Motera track could be spin-friendly, meaning apart from Ashwin and Patel, Sunder could be the other option.
– Indian bowlers took 19 wickets in the match and all went to the pacers
– Indian spinners Ashwin & Jadeja bowled just 7 Overs in two innings without any success
Third pacer slot:
Here come the conditions in play. With the Test being a Day/Night affair, dew could be a factor as well as the grass on the pitch. In addition, the only Day/Night Test in India at Eden Gardens against Bangladesh showed seamers rule the roost with the pink ball, returning with 19 wickets from the match.
With Mohammed Shami injured, apart from Bumrah and Ishant Sharma, who will play his 100th Test, India could field the third pacer as the batting line-up is expected to remain the same, barring any late injury pullouts.
Umesh Yadav: One of the pacers who featured in India’s first Day/Night Test at Eden Gardens, Umesh Yadav has a fantastic home record. In the last five home Tests, Yadav has bagged 33 wickets. But with him returning from an injury, it could be a risk to push him too soon. However, he could still be India’s best third pacer option if the team management decides to go with a specialist pacer and bowlers fail to provide important breakthroughs.
Hardik Pandya: Considering the bowlers who have limited batting abilities apart from Ashwin, Pandya could be the perfect man to come into the Playing XI. He can bat and can be a part-time pacer who can bowl 10-15 overs a day. But Pandya too is returning from an injury and bowling 15 overs a day could become a problem. If he does get selected, it will be after a long absence of over two years.