When and Where to Watch India vs England, Live Streaming, Match Preview, Timings, and Pitch Report for 3rd Test
Given this is a day-night affair, from the pitch to the pink ball, from floodlights to dew, from seam and spin to the twilight phase, there are certain variables both the teams need to be wary of.
Updated - Feb 24, 2021 2:19 pm
Cricket is a great teacher. And amongst the many learnings that Test cricket offers, the biggest and the most important of all, one that must be imbibed regardless of how much one follows the sport, is: not to predict anything. After all, how many would have thought that the two teams would go into the Pink ball Test, the third of the series, with scores level?
Add to this unpredictability a flavor of uncertainty, and the recipe for an intriguing contest is complete. India’s 317-win in Act II at Chennai, which ceased England’s proud streak of six Test wins in the subcontinent, came more than a week ago. And in times where a congested cricket calendar is no abnormality, a week-long rest would have given both sides ample time to prepare themselves for the most-awaited, critical contest of the series.
Critical: just as every encounter of the series on which relies the fate of the World Test Championship final would be, and awaited: for all the preparations, toil, and planning that the BCCI has put into this one. Not to mention, of course, that the series involves two premium Test-playing nations taking a go at each other.
This is only the third time that India is playing a day-night Test, and only their second at home. And while that in itself is a reason enough to make this game a significant occasion, the surrounding issues add aplenty to the stakes of this game, which are as enormous as the stadium where it is to be played. The Sardar Patel Stadium has not hosted an international game in the last 7 years, and nothing in the world, in these 7 years, has changed more than the infrastructure of the stadium, which now holds the distinction of being the world’s largest.
In Stuart Broad’s words, the world-class stadium has the “potential to outdo the atmosphere at MCG”. In terms of seating capacity – a whopping 132,000 – the Motera Stadium has outdone the MCG already. Given this is a day-night affair, from the pitch to the pink ball, from floodlights to dew, from seam and spin to the twilight phase, there are certain variables both the teams need to be wary of.
The spinners were pivotal in India’s Chennai triumph, but game under lights in this format has been – despite a limited sample size of 15 Tests – knowingly conducive for the pacers. India’s pink-ball Test at home against Bangladesh in 2019 produced no different results, where each wicket claimed by India belonged to the pacers. Visibility of the pink ball under lights has been another hotly debated variable that has attracted diverse feedback – the on-air Manjarekar-Bhogle spat at the Eden Gardens, remember?
There is a question mark over the behavior of the ball under lights and the presence of reverse swing too, which proved critical in England’s thumping victory in the first Test. Although, reverse swing “will be unlikely” if James Anderson is to be believed.
“I think we will be unlikely to see the reverse. If it (pitch) is really abrasive, you might see a bit of reverse, but from how we’ve bowled it in the nets, I would be very surprised if it does reverse”, he stated during the buildup of the third Test. Well, you do not need to wait for too long to get the answers to these burning questions.
Pitch and conditions
The pitches have been the talk of the town ever since the inception of this series. Ishant Sharma did not hesitate in terming the first Test’s track a “road”, while the discussion around the pitch – which was termed from a “beach” to “minefield” – only increased during the second game. Though, the third Test is a different ball game, quite literally as it will be played with the pink ball.
The primary reason behind pacers gaining more success in day-night Tests, amongst other reasons, is the covering of grass left on the pitch to maintain the pink ball. But with world-class pacers in the opposite camp, would India take that risk? They will not, to go by Rohit Sharma’s words: “I don’t see anything changing in the pitch from what we played on in the second Test. It’s going to be more or less on the same page, it’s going to turn as well”. If indeed there is lesser grass then, apart from the two sides, the pink ball will be under a test for sure.
Playing combinations for IND vs ENG
India is likely to play the same XI that beat England in the previous Test. The only probable change might come in the form of Umesh Yadav, who has recently joined India’s squad as a replacement of Shardul Thakur. Although, Mohammad Siraj will hold his place if India does not want to look ahead to Yadav straight after a return from injury. Ready to play his 100th Test, Ishant Sharma will lead India’s pace attack alongside Jasprit Bumrah.
Predicted XI: Rohit Sharma, Shubman Gill, Cheteshwar Pujara, Virat Kohli (C), Ajinkya Rahane, Rishabh Pant (WK), Axar Patel, Ravichandran Ashwin, Jasprit Bumrah, Ishant Sharma, Umesh Yadav/Mohammad Siraj
England no longer have Moeen Ali, who has traveled back, but they are welcoming Zak Crawley and Jonny Bairstow back in their ranks. Bairstow’s entry might come at the expense of either Ben Foakes, who had a sensational last game behind the wickets, or Ollie Pope. England is expected to slot in Zak Crawley, who missed the first two Tests after a bizarre injury, whereas James Anderson and Jofra Archer are set to make a return too.
Predicted XI: Rory Burns, Dom Sibley, Zak Crawley, Ollie Pope/Ben Foakes, Joe Root (C), Jonny Bairstow (WK), Ben Stokes, Jack Leach, Stuart Broad/Dom Bess, James Anderson, Jofra Archer
IND vs ENG Head to Head
Played – 124 | India – 27 | England – 48 | Draw – 49
Played – 62 | India – 20 | England – 14 | Draw – 28
IND vs ENG Broadcast Details
Match Timings- 2:30 AM (IST)
TV – Star Sports Network
Live Streaming– Disney + Hotstar