India vs England Third Test Preview
- India host England in Ahmedabad at the Motera Stadium for the third Test starting on 24th February
- This day-night Test will mark the first international match at the newly-built stadium with 110,000 capacity making it the largest cricket stadium
- India have won 10 of their last 12 home Tests with 7 coming via an innings margin
- England have lost their last two day-night Tests
- Ishant Sharma will play his 100th Test
Motera with a world-record capacity of 110,000 will begin its Test journey. Will it be an Indian win to top that? (Getty Images)
Comprehensive wins in the first two matches – one each – means that India and England are back to square one ahead of the third Test starting at the Motera Stadium in Ahmedabad from Wednesday, 24th February. This day-night Test will mark the inauguration of the remodelled Motera with a mammoth 110,000 capacity.
Cricket will nevertheless be competitive, as both teams eye a decisive lead in the four-match series. With a place in the World Test Championship final up for grabs, there will be no shortage of motivation for either team.
After a 227-run loss in the first Test, India stormed to a 317-run win in the second Test to even the scales. An all-round show by Ravichandran Ashwin (119 runs & 8/98) and a masterclass first-innings century from Rohit Sharma (161) gave India a massive advantage.
There was a debut five-for from Axar Patel (5/60) in the second innings as India displayed supremacy in all departments. The only concern for India was the lack of runs from Cheteshwar Pujara (21 & 7) although it’s only a minor worry.
Opener Shubman Gill’s fitness will be a concern with Mayank Agarwal ready to step in if required. Jasprit Bumrah is expected to return in place of Mohammed Siraj, while Kuldeep Yadav could be replaced by either Hardik Pandya or Washington Sundar.
Despite the heavy loss in the second Test, England know that they have the right tools to take advantage of the ‘Pink ball’. Opener Rory Burns (58 runs) and one-down Daniel Lawrence (53) have struggled to give the right starts and could be in danger of their place.
Moeen Ali impressed with eight wickets in the second Test but has flown back home as part of workload management. Olly Stone gave a good account of himself but remains to be seen if he holds his place.
Burns and Lawrence could be rested for the returning Zak Crawley and Jonny Bairstow. Moeen’s place should go to James Anderson, while Jofra Archer could slot back in place of Stone.
India vs England Head-to-Head
England still lead the overall H2Hs 48-27 with a 5-2 run in the last seven matches. It is 20-14 for India, though, at home venues. India have played 12 Tests here, winning four, drawing six, and losing two albeit at the old venue. England have drawn one and lost one here, with the last match coming in 2012 - all on the old strip.
India vs England Match Up
The pitch will be of interest and if it takes spin, India will have an advantage. However, the presence of lights and the nature of the Pink ball could bring swing bowlers into the game.
India vs England Stats
- Ishant Sharma had match figures of 9/78 in the only day-night Test he played.
- The team batting first has lost both the day-night Tests that India played.
- The last 11 Tests between India and England have seen a winner, with India winning 6 and losing 5.
- England have lost their last two day-night Tests.
- Joe Root has scored a 50 in all but one of the eight Tests he played in India, except the second Test in this series.
- England crossed 250 in just one of their four innings in day-night Tests and have failed to score 200 in their last three innings.
England will fancy their chances with the day-night conditions and the pink ball, especially with James Anderson and Jofra Archer set to play. It could come down to who will bat better and both teams will look to their captains to shore their batting. Anderson could be a good bet to end as England’s best bowler, while India retain a minor edge in the winning stakes.