Ind vs Eng Playing XI, 3rd Test: Virat Kohli on Wednesday won the toss and opted to bat at Headingley, Leeds. He stuck to the winning combination at Lord’s as R Ashwin continued to sit on the bench. Owing to the grass-less pitch at Headingley, the spinner was in the fray to be picked for the Leeds Test.
“We’re batting first. Looks firm and without grass and runs on the board will set this up. We’re going in with the same XI. We thought about getting Ashwin in, and the pressure of the extra seamer in these conditions is crucial. Jadeja will bowl a lot more overs because the conditions are suited to him,” Virat Kohli said at the Toss.
The decision comes even as R Jadeja went wicketless in the first couple of tests at Lord’s and Nottingham. However, he did chip in with the bat by playing innings of 56 and 40 runs in the two matches. The development means R Ashwin will have to wait to pip Harbhajan Singh (417 wickets) when it comes to becoming one of India’s highest wicket-takers.
Earlier on Tuesday, Virat Kohli had hinted about R Ashwin’s inclusion in the playing XI.
“As far as Ashwin playing is concerned, we were quite surprised to see the pitch. We could see a lot of the surface. Honestly, I didn’t expect it. We thought there would be more grass and it will be more lively but it isn’t the case. So, anything is possible. We name the XI and then have a look look at the pitch and what it could become on Day 3 or 4 and accordingly we will go with the right combination,” Virat Kohli had told at the pre-match press conference.
- Ravindra Jadeja hasn’t been successful with the ball, going wicketless in the two matches.
- As per UK Met Office predictions, weather conditions are expected to be dry with no rain on the three days going into the match.
- Virat Kohli has confirmed that the pitch isn’t like the previous ones with grass. The surface is brown with no grass on the pitch. It’s on the flatter side.
- The dry pitch is expected to assist spinners from Day 3 and 4.
- England batsmen have struggled against Ashwin’s off-spin.
- Ashwin has had a successful stint with Surrey in a County match.
R Ashwin in England: 7 Tests, 18 wickets and 261 runs
R Jadeja in England: 8 tests, 17 wickets and 406 runs
India (Playing XI): Rohit Sharma, KL Rahul, Cheteshwar Pujara, Virat Kohli(c), Ajinkya Rahane, Rishabh Pant(w), Ravindra Jadeja, Mohammed Shami, Ishant Sharma, Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Siraj
On the other hand, England made two changes, as the hosts brought in Dawid Malan and Craig Overton in place of Dom Sibley and Mark Wood. Batsmen Zak Crawley and Dom Sibley were omitted from the England squad last week and pacer Mark Wood was ruled out of the third Test on Monday.
England skipper Joe Root said: “There’s a bit of cloud cover and it’s tacky, and it’ll get better and better for batting eventually. Quite happy to lose the toss. Malan comes in for Sibley and Overton comes in for Wood. Overton was picked on the conditions. Saqib was great in the white-ball format, but Overton continuously performs in county cricket so we’ve picked him, even though it was a difficult choice to make.”
England (Playing XI): Rory Burns, Haseeb Hameed, Dawid Malan, Joe Root(c), Jonny Bairstow, Jos Buttler(w), Moeen Ali, Sam Curran, Craig Overton, Ollie Robinson, James Anderson
Ind vs Eng Playing XI, 3rd Test: Virat Kohli sticks to winning combination, R Ashwin stays on bench at grass-less Headingley
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(with inputs from ANI)