pink ball test

India gearing up for Third Test

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At the Motera Stadium in Ahmedabad, Team India is preparing for the third Test against England, which starts on Wednesday. On Monday, the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) took to social media to share pictures from the team’s training session under the lights ahead of the crucial Day-Night game. “#TeamIndia practice under lights as they gear up for the pink-ball Test at the Cricket Stadium at Motera,” the Indian cricket board captioned the post. Captain Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma and wicketkeeper-batsman Rishabh Pant were seen batting in the pictures’ nets, while pacer Mohammed Siraj was also spotted bowling.

This would be only the second Day-Night Test held in India and the third time India will play one. India’s first Day-Night Test came at the Eden Gardens in Kolkata against Bangladesh in 2019. Virat Kohli scored a century, and Ishant Sharma took five wickets as the hosts ran out comfortable winners.

India also played Australia in a pink-ball Test in Adelaide just before the England series. They underwent the infamous 36 all-out to go 1-0 down in the Down Under before eventually coming back to record a historic win. India and England go into the third Test with the series tied at 1-1. England took the lead in the series in the first match at the MA Chidambaram Stadium in Chennai before India won the second game – also held at the same venue. The Day-Night Test at the Motera would also be the first international match to be held at the stadium after renovating to make it the largest cricket stadium in the world.

Significance of Pink Ball Test

The 3rd Test of the India-England series at the Motera Stadium in Ahmedabad would undoubtedly add to the recipe of excitement and challenge that the first two matches have already served up. With the series level at 1-1 and the World Test Championship slot up for grabs, both the remaining Tests are essential. India would be hoping that their formula in Chennai would be equally valid under several conditions.

While India’s strategy would likely include a fair dollop of spin, with the hosts not apologetic at all about making the most of home conditions and their decidedly better slow-bowling department, the seamers too will play a part, and such is the nature of the game.

Challenge

India’s last outing against the pink ball at Adelaide is best left forgotten, with the only Test that skipper Virat Kohli played on Australian soil ended in a pure disaster. However, India’s last and only time played a floodlit Test against Bangladesh at Eden Garden in 2019. Ishant Sharma and Umesh Yadav returned with nine and eight wickets, respectively, as the visitors caved in without a fight. In contrast, the Ishan Motera challenge against England is far. England is way more familiar with this format – it is nevertheless encouraging that Yadav has been found fit to join Ishant and Jasprit Bumrah in the pace battery. However, the interesting question would be, how many bowlers will India field, given their none-too-impressive batting display in the last day-night Test.

One can safely assume that Ravichandran Ashwin now comes in as an all-rounder, while it would be naive to think that Axar Patel will not be included. So, the pace-spin mix will need some real attention, though the batting will not be touched as far as possible. As for England, they have more experience of pink-ball cricket, but possibly the Motera track would be as unfamiliar as any they would have played on under lights. They will need to face this additional challenge and tackle that will decide who ends up trumps.

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