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first_imgIndia take on England in a must-win third Test in Trent Bridge starting August 18. India suffered defeats in the first two Tests to go 0-2 down in the five-match series and only a victory will keep Virat Kohli-led team’s chances alive in the contest.India made a stunning comeback in 2015 in Sri Lanka where they bounced back to win the series 2-1 after losing the first Test. India also produced a stellar performance to salvage pride in South Africa by winning the third and final Test of the series earlier this year.The visitors are expected to make a few changes in their playing XI after being outplayed by hosts England in the Edgbaston and Lord’s Tests. India lost the series opener in Edgbaston by 31 runs but suffered a crushing innings and 159-run defeat at Lord’s.Skipper Kohli and coach Ravi Shastri will be aiming to get the team combination right having bungled at the Lord’s.As a result, India will play their 38th combination in as many matches that skipper Kohli had led.Also read – Time for Rishabh Pant to make Test debut after Dinesh Karthik’s failures?PANT TO MAKE DEBUT? Rishabh Pant scored three half-centuries in the two first-class matches against England Lions last month. (Reuters Photo)The most-awaited change will be 20-year-old Rishabh Pant’s imminent Test debut replacing a woefully out-of-form Dinesh Karthik, who might well have played his last international game in the longest format.With scores of 0, 20, 1 and 0 in four innings coupled with shoddy glovework meant that Karthik was seen giving catching practice to Pant, who also spent considerable time batting at the nets.advertisementREAD – Now or never for Dinesh Karthik, Rishabh Pant can wait: Gautam GambhirBeing hailed as Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s successor, Pant’s entry into the squad happened after three half-centuries in the two first-class matches against England Lions last month.Despite a triple hundred and a healthy first-class average of 54 plus, it will still be baptism by fire for the Roorkee-born youngster. He will be facing James Anderson, Stuart Broad, Chris Woakes and Ben Stokes.KOHLI, BUMRAH FITIt is the impact of the last defeat in swing-friendly conditions across just over six sessions that is still hurting the Indian camp. Throughout the week, they have been left picking up the pieces, mostly in terms of re-evaluating fitness of their key players.In that aspect at least, there is some good news. Jasprit Bumrah is fit again; Ravichandran Ashwin and Hardik Pandya have recovered completely from their hand injuries suffered while batting at Lord’s, and skipper Kohli has more or less recovered from his back problems.Also read – Excited to have Jasprit Bumrah back for Trent Bridge Test: Virat KohliKohli’s condition seemed to have improved a lot and as he had maintained, he will be out there at the toss alongside Joe Root.This is where the hard part begins for India. Having admitted their mistake in picking two spinners for the Lord’s Test, it is about time skipper Kohli and coach Shastri hit upon the optimal team combination.Nevertheless, there are bound to be changes in the playing eleven for some vital members of the squad are now seemingly bereft of confidence.READ – India walk into another England fortress in a bid to stay alive in Test seriesMurali Vijay, for example, has scored only 128 runs in 10 overseas Test innings against South Africa and England. An average of 12.8 is tough to ignore, but for a batsman of his calibre, the team management could still afford another chance given that India need to win this game.Also read – Virat Kohli fires Team India up before 3rd Test: Only option is to winAt the same time however, it brings Shikhar Dhawan back into contention. He averages 17.75 against South Africa and England in two Tests this year, and his overall average in England is 20.12 (four Tests). In these two instances, he has scored at a strike-rate of 68.93 and 57.29, respectively, which could once again go in his favour.Thus, there is every chance that India could opt for their third different opening pairing of Dhawan and KL Rahul in as many Tests, the middle order will be untouched. Especially with Kohli regaining fitness, Karun Nair still isn’t seen to be active during practice sessions. It was the case in Birmingham and London, as well as in Nottingham, and playing an extra specialist batsman is not in the management’s immediate plans as yet.If it so transpires, Umesh Yadav will once again be unlucky to miss out, for the team management will be eager to get their best possible combination out on the field.advertisementAlso read – Jelly beans and Vaseline: Recapping India-England stand-off at Trent Bridge The Indian team management is likely to pick one out of Jasprit Bumrah and Umesh Yadav for the Trent Bridge Test. (AP Photo)The pitch at Trent Bridge bore a different look than 2014, when these two teams met here. India scored 457 and 391/9 decl in two innings on a flat surface, as England had scored 496 whilst batting once and the match petered out to a draw.The forecast for this third Test is of decent cloud cover through the first four days, and if the Indian team takes into consideration, they would surely opt for just the lone spinner.STOKES BACK IN ENGLAND XIMeanwhile, England have included Ben Stokes in the playing XI with Sam Curran making way for the world’s most sought after all-rounder.He got a decent reception from a sizeable fan gathering ahead of the game, but how the crowd reacts to his presence in the game on Saturday could be a worry for the team management.Also read – India vs England: Dropping Sam Curran a difficult decision, says Joe RootTeams:India: Virat Kohli (C), Shikhar Dhawan, Murali Vijay, KL Rahul, Cheteshwar Pujara, Ajinkya Rahane, Dinesh Karthik (WK), Rishabh Pant, Karun Nair, Hardik Pandya, R Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja, Kuldeep Yadav, Ishant Sharma, Umesh Yadav, Shardul Thakur, Mohammed Shami, Jasprit Bumrah.England: Joe Root (C), Alastair Cook, Keaton Jennings, Jonny Bairstow, Jos Buttler, Oliver Pope, Moeen Ali, Adil Rashid, Jamie Porter, Sam Curran, James Anderson, Stuart Broad, Chris Woakes, Ben Stokes.(With inputs from PTI)last_img


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