England vs India, 3rd Test - India Predicted XI

Will Pant make his Test debut?

India captain Virat Kohli
Indian captain Virat Kohli and wicket-keeper Rishabh Pant. (Photo by Gareth Copley/Getty Images)

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The must-win encounter is here. The much-awaited Test series between India and England wasn’t expected to be one-sided as it has been so far and the fans would be hoping for a stunning comeback from the visitors. They have no option either. The batsmen have to put up a special performance and support their captain Virat Kohli who has looked a class apart. However, Trent Bridge will pose a similar threat to Team India as the ball is expected to swing in the air as well.

The head coach Ravi Shastri advocated the much famous ‘believe in yourself’ gospel for his team. In a way, they have to believe and make it count in what is supposed to be the last chance to come back in the series. The bowlers have been doing their job and the time has come to prove to the world that India is the World No. 1 Test team. Kohli loves to stay in control of the proceedings and he will be definitely looking forward to doing the same in Nottingham.

A lot has been said about the changes which will be made in the Indian line-up and Shastri chose not to reveal anything in the press conference the other day.

Here we bring you the predicted XI of Team India for the third Test:

Openers (Murali Vijay, Shikhar Dhawan)

Murali Vijay’s form is the most worrying factor for the team currently. He has been getting out very cheaply and the change in guard has worsened things for him. The hero of the last tour in 2014 has to come to the fore at the top of the order. The visitors will be hoping that he makes the most of his experience and play well in Nottingham.

Shikhar Dhawan should come back after being benched for the last game. KL Rahul has looked clueless in the four innings he’s played. Moreover, India only have these three openers and can only hope that Dhawan has worked on his technique during the break and he’s known to play well after being dropped. It will be interesting to see if lives up to the expectations in tough conditions.

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

Cheteshwar Pujara’s inclusion has strengthened the middle-order and he proved it at Lord’s. He was the one who played the most number of deliveries and his determination in the second innings was really praiseworthy. Though he is always accused of playing too defensively, the team needs a player like him who can just hold one end and arrest the possible collapse which is always on the cards in England.

Virat Kohli is looking comfortable while batting in the nets which should relieve the Indian fans. It has become imperative that he has to score big in almost every inning if India are to compete against the hosts. But the back injury will be on the back of his mind and should be careful while fielding.

Shastri asserted that Ajinkya Rahane is one of the pillars of the team. The vice-captain, like Vijay, was at his best four years ago and is looking lost now. If Rahane gets going, it will be a huge bonus for Team India and then definitely the confidence will rub on the lower order to resist as well.

Rishabh Pant looks certain to make his Test debut after the way Dinesh Karthik has fared so far. He scored 21 runs in four innings and conceded 30 byes behind the wickets and this performance doesn’t warrant a place in the national side. Though Pant’s inclusion doesn’t solve India’s problems overnight, he deserves an opportunity after doing well for India A.

All-Rounders (Hardik Pandya, Ravi Ashwin)

Hardik Pandya looked calm and composed during the second innings at Lord’s and should continue to bat the same way to exude more confidence down the order. His bowling ability has come under the scanner but the youngster picked 3 wickets in the last game and proved that if trusted enough, he will pick you wickets. Kohli will have to use him more as the fourth pacer in Nottingham.

Ravi Ashwin‘s bowling is one of the biggest positives in England Tests so far. He bowled beautifully in Birmingham but his role will be now limited to containing the runs again thanks to the conditions in the country. There was nothing in the pitch for spinners at Lord’s and the same is expected in this game as well. His batting is a bonus for India and if the top order contributes, Ashwin has the ability to take the game away from the opposition.

Bowlers (Mohammed Shami, Ishant Sharma, Jasprit Bumrah)

The pleasing thing about Mohammed Shami is the way he has hit the straps soon. Unlike South Africa tour where he came into the groove in the second innings, the premier fast bowler has looked menacing. Ishant Sharma, on the other hand, looked off at Lord’s after the first couple of spells. He needs to bowl with the same intensity to keep up the spirits of the team and on his day, can turn things around dramatically.

Jasprit Bumrah is finally fit. He will walk back into the side now and England should be wary of him. He is a completely unknown entity to them in Tests which can trouble them. Bumrah can turn out to be a surprise package in this game and can play a crucial role in making it 2-1 over the next few days.

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