IND vs ENG: 3rd Test starts tomorrow at Rajkot

When India faces England’s Bazball again, Ashwin, Anderson, and Stokes have enormous milestones to look forward to.

3rd test starts from tomorrow at Rajkot

A battle of young stars of both sides

This place seems familiar to us. The scores are equal. There is a lot of expectation. Visa problems plagued an England footballer. India’s #4 was unable to advance. Once again, it’s late January 2024. A wonderful moment to be alive.
It’s going to be Ben Stokes’ 100th Test match. Probably going to be R Ashwin’s 500th wicket in a Test match. James Anderson can see the number 700. India’s domestic domination is in jeopardy. Not all of Bazball is hype. The release of the Apple Vision Pro renders reality obsolete. The technology to enable mind control is still developing. The trailer for Deadpool 3 was released. What more is there to ask for?

Perhaps the first-ever India cap, if you’re Sarfaraz Khan. The 26-year-old has dedicated his entire life to being an international cricket player. He has amassed incredible stats during the course of the last several domestic seasons and is about to make the most anticipated breakthrough. To be fair, he averages and strikes at seventy in first-class cricket, but he also has plenty of promise as a middle-order hitter in subcontinental conditions.

That does imply, though, that India will have to rely on a set of batsmen who are still getting a taste of what it’s like to play Test cricket. Truly, the only things greener are those seen on lunch menus or when a 6’4″ man spearheads England’s spin offensive. One of the more intriguing and surprising subplots of the entire tour has been the conflict between rising stars from the hosts and rising stars from their visitors. However, a few well-known celebrities might reclaim center stage in Rajkot. India is disadvantaged by their inexperience compared to Mark Wood’s pace and James Anderson’s cunning.

Particularly with the way they’ve been leaving runs on the board. India has been advised to be more practical by Rahul Dravid. However, Stokes doesn’t seem to place much value on such things. Even though he was getting pummeled all over the park, he continued tossing the ball to Tom Hartley, asking him to keep going. Both approaches were successful. With a little bit of self control, Yashasvi Jaiswal made a double-century in an innings in which nobody else scored more than 34. After taking six wickets on the opening ball in the first Test, Hartley bounced back to top his team in wicket-taking.

The storyline of a series that was expected to feature players like Joe Root, Ravindra Jadeja, Stokes, and Virat Kohli is suddenly drastically changed.

Spotlight on Rohit Sharma and Joe Root

For hitters on both sides, the 2021 series between these two clubs was a formidable task. Just 19 of the 156 innings played went above fifty, and one of those 19 was particularly noteworthy. This time, Rohit Sharma onto the field in Chennai on a dust bowl and struck a century that was a tribute to his aggressive instinct and has since become something of a template for his opponents. Though the pitches are far more conducive to batting, he hasn’t been able to conjure up the same kind of otherworldly strokeplay this time, but he still feels quite upbeat with three games remaining. India is going to depend on him to lead them to the kind of first-inning totals that will enable them to set the terms.

Another 2021 standout performance, the top scorer in particular, has amassed more overs (64) than runs (52) in the innings. Three years ago, Joe Root led India to unprecedented lengths to win the series, but at the moment, he isn’t even getting the starts that the analysts would so frequently point out that it’s almost become a personality trait. “You look up and all of a sudden Joe Root’s on 30 not out.” Bumrah has a big part in why things are the way they are. After two games, the head-to-head stands at one run off ten balls and two wickets. After a mid-series break, both guys will be rejuvenated, so this is just getting started.

Ravindra Jadeja comes back, Dhruv Jurel in line for debut

With KL Rahul injured, Shreyas Iyer excluded, and Kohli out, India’s middle order is lacking in experience. Jadeja’s home ground of Rajkot is where he has a strong record, so his return should help there. He is almost guaranteed to play. The rest of the slack falls on a bunch of rookies who have shown a lot of promise at domestic level but now have to prove that they can cut it here too. There has also been a bit of focus on wicketkeeper KS Bharat’s output in front of the stumps, which brings Dhruv Jurel quite firmly into the picture.

Pitch Update

There are runs expected in Rajkot. The local boy Jadeja said the surface will start out flat and then take a little turn as natural wear and tear sets in. The weather has been quite cool in the lead-up to the Test – early 20C in the mornings, rising to low 30C in the afternoons – and is expected to be so for the duration of it as well, so that’s another good sign for the batters. Without a lot of sun, the pitch might not break up as quickly.

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