The Indian cricket team is all set to host England for an enthralling pink-ball Test at the newly re-constructed Motera Stadium in Ahmedabad.
After succumbing to a 227-run defeat in the first Test in Chennai, Virat Kohli-led Team India bounced back strongly in the second as the hosts registered their biggest win over England in terms of runs (317) at the same venue.
The stage is now all set for an exciting Day/Night Test to be played at the world's largest cricket ground that has a seating capacity of 1,10,000.
I must admit that the stadium looks spectacular and I just can’t wait to experience the atmosphere with a jam-packed crowd soon.
Considering that the pink-ball swings more, I’m also excited to see how the two pace bowling attacks perform at this amazing venue.
Here are four names who I think can put in a Man of the Match performance in the third Test.
After being rested in the second Test, Jasprit Bumrah will be raring to go with the pink ball in his hand at the Motera Stadium. The return of the 27-year-old in the playing XI will certainly give the hosts’ pace bowling attack an edge as he has been India’s best bowler in the last few years. In his short Test career, the right-arm fast bowler has scalped 83 wickets in just 18 Tests at an average of 21.88, with five five-wicket hauls. I expect Bumrah to play a major role if India are to take a 2-1 lead in the four-match Test series.
Just like Bumrah, England had decided to rest James Anderson in the second match in order to keep him fresh for the pink-ball Test. England’s pace spearhead had produced an exhibition of high-class reverse-swing bowling on the final day of the first Test in Chennai to catapult the visitors to a memorable 227-run win. The 38-year-old is the highest wicket-taker in Tests among pace bowlers, which I think is an astonishing feat. I expect Anderson to replace Moeen Ali in the visitors playing XI for the Day/Night encounter.
India’s batting mainstay Cheteshwar Pujara will have a major role to play in the upcoming Test if the hosts are to post a massive first-innings total in Ahmedabad. Pujara along with Rohit Sharma and Shubman Gill will need to negotiate the new pink ball against the likes of Anderson, Jofra Archer and one of Stuart Broad and Mark Wood, setting the tone for the Indian middle-order. I am expecting a big score from Pujara as he has only amassed 116 runs in four innings in the ongoing Test series.
The return of Jonny Bairstow will be a massive boost to the England cricket team ahead of the third Test against India. The 31-year-old batsman was rested for the first two Tests as part of England's rotation policy and he is expected to play the Day/Night Test at Motera. The visitors are heavily dependent on Joe Root for runs and Bairstow’s return will certainly ease some burden on the England skipper. Having played for the Hyderabad franchise in the Indian T20 League, Bairstow has plenty of experience of playing in these conditions.
Feature image courtesy: PETER PARKS / AFP