Who would’ve thought so? Going into the series, the general consensus was that if England were to win a test, the pink ball test would provide them with their best shot at doing so. This is because nobody really has any idea as to how the ball will behave. How it will change as day turns to night. And nobody knows how the pitch is going to behave. India is the one place where a green top could offer turn from the first day. Bottom line, nobody knows.
That unpredictability is a big reason for the 3rd test being England’s best chance at a win. But the fact that they are coming into this test at 1-1, means that they can really look to take charge of this series and have a real go at playing in the first ever World Test Championship Final at Lord’s. And despite the absolute thumping at the hands of India in the second test, they will be feeling pretty good going into this one because of the unpredictability of where they’re playing. It’s like a classic shoot-out on a rank turner, only this time there could be a possibility that the conditions favour the visitors, for a while at least.
India meanwhile will be brimming with confidence after the brilliant comeback performance in the second test. Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli with some runs under their belt. Ashwin and Axar Patel with loads of wickets between them. Rishabh Pant with arguably his best display behind the stumps. The side, not at full strength yet, seems to be getting stronger. Even the players who didn’t perform all that well, are either just starting out in their test careers, or have been there long enough that people really shouldn’t worry about or doubt them anymore.
This should be a gripping contest. I don’t see it going the 5 days, but I do think it will be a very closely fought, and intense battle, for however many days it does last.
My England XI for the 3rd test: Zak Crawley, Dom Sibley, Jonny Bairstow, Joe Root (C), Ben Stokes, Ollie Pope, Ben Foakes (WK), Dom Bess, Jofra Archer, Jack Leach and James Anderson
My India XI for the 3rd test: Rohit Sharma, Shubman Gill, Cheteshwar Pujara, Virat Kohli (C), Ajinkya Rahane, Rishabh Pant (WK), Ravi Ashwin, Axar Patel, Ishant Sharma, Mohammed Siraj and Jasprit Bumrah